Why the ocean you know and love won’t exist in 50 years

Can sensitive coral reefs survive another human generation?

  • Coral reefs may not be able to survive another human decade because of the environmental stress we have placed on them, says author David Wallace-Wells. He posits that without meaningful changes to policies, the trend of them dying out, even in light of recent advances, will continue.
  • The World Wildlife Fund says that 60 percent of all vertebrate mammals have died since just 1970. On top of this, recent studies suggest that insect populations may have fallen by as much as 75 percent over the last few decades.
  • If it were not for our oceans, the planet would probably be already several degrees warmer than it is today due to the emissions we've expelled into the atmosphere.
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Videos

How a wee Scottish village is shining a light — literally — on rising seas

At high tide each night, bright lights predict the underwater future.

(Niittyvirta/Aho)
  • Lochmaddy is a seaside village sitting at the encroaching edge of the North Atlantic.
  • Artists dazzling lights depict the town's submerged future as the oceans continue rising.
  • It's an unsettling visualization of global warming's impact.
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Technology & Innovation

Behold, close-ups of the sand from around the cosmos

Think you've seen sand? You haven't seen sand.

Image source: Evil Minion on Shutterstock
  • Microscopic photography exposes the beauty and strangeness of sand.
  • Water wave action produces a startling variety of sand grains.
  • That stuff between your toes is a lot more interesting than you might think.
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Surprising Science

New tech 'MERMAIDS' can detect earthquakes before they wreak destruction

A network of devices called MERMAIDs is taking seismographs where they've never been.

(Princeton University)
  • Most of the ocean floor is inaccessible to seismologists.
  • Much can be learned about the interior of Earth by listening to earthquakes.
  • Ingenious new floating sensors are changing the ocean seismology game.
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Surprising Science

The world's watersheds, mapped in gorgeous detail

Hungarian cartographer travels the world while mapping its treasures.

  • Simple idea, stunning result: the world's watersheds in glorious colors.
  • The maps are the work of Hungarian cartographer Robert Szucs.
  • His job: to travel and map the world, one good cause at a time.
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Strange Maps