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Michael Carlowicz



Scientists Gear Up to Launch Ocean Observing Networks

Scientists Gear Up to Launch Ocean Observing Networks

Oceanography is on the verge of a revolution. Scientists and engineers have been dreaming up networks of permanent observing outposts that could probe from the sea surface to the seafloor from many different locations in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic Oceans. And that dream may take a big step toward reality if Congress agrees to the National Science Foundation’s six-year Ocean Observatories Initiative.

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A Laser Light in the Ocean Depths

A Laser Light in the Ocean Depths

Graduate student Anna Michel is adapting laser technology to the murky fluid environment and crushing pressures at depths of 11,000 feet. The goal is to develop an instrument that can directly measure the many elements spewing from hydrothermal vents just as they emerge from Earth?s crust.

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Do Fishing Regulations Lead to More Accidents?

Do Fishing Regulations Lead to More Accidents?

Fishermen have argued that regulations about when and where they can catch fish have caused more sinkings and fatal accidents at sea. But a new statistical analysis by Woods Hole researchers has found no hard evidence to support that argument.

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The Oceans Have Their Own Weather Systems

The Oceans Have Their Own Weather Systems

From June to September 2005, oceanographer Dennis McGillicuddy and a team of more than 20 scientists from WHOI and five other marine science labs tracked an eddy named A4. It was the oceanic equivalent of a hurricane?a huge mass of water, spinning like a whirlpool, moving through the ocean for months, stretching across tens to hundreds of kilometers, stirring up a vortex of water and material from the depths to the surface. But unlike destructive hurricanes, eddies are productive.

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The Hunt for 18° Water

The Hunt for 18° Water

In 1959, oceanographer Valentine Worthington gave a name and an identity to a long-observed but poorly understood phenomenon of the North Atlantic. Valentine described how the interior of the Sargasso Sea contained distinct parcels of water with remarkably constant salinity, density, and temperature?roughly 18? Celsius. Decades later, his successors from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and eight other institutions have launched a far-reaching program to examine the formation and evolution of Worthington?s famous water and how it might influence North Atlantic climate.

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Caught in the Middle of the Marine Mammal Protection Act

Caught in the Middle of the Marine Mammal Protection Act

In the past few years, several research projects have been halted because of conflicting interpretations of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Energy, shipping, and naval interests claim the MMPA hampers their ability to work in the sea. Environmentalists and animal rights want the act strictly enforced. In between are scientists.

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Analyzing Ancient Sediments at Warp Speed

Analyzing Ancient Sediments at Warp Speed

Like a toy out of a science fiction story, the X-ray fluorescence core scanner reveals intimate details of the composition of ancient mud and sediment–which can contain a variety of clues about past climate and environmental conditions on Earth–without breaking the surface. In a matter of hours, the XRF simultaneously captures digital photographs and X-ray images of every millimeter of a core sample, while detecting the presence of any of 80 chemical elements.

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Going Wireless in the Deep Blue

Going Wireless in the Deep Blue

How do you get long-term ocean measurements from any spot on the globe, with day by day feedback and low costs? If you are Dan Frye of the WHOI Advanced Engineering Laboratory, you take an old oceanographic concept?the moored buoy?and bring it into the 21st century with wireless technology.

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