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Archive for the ‘Scripps’ Category

Back from the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”

Posted by feww on August 28, 2009

Image of the Day: The “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”

“Our human footprint is now apparent in even one of the most remote places on the planet” —Doug Woodring, director of Project Kaisei (The co-sponsors of the Seaplex study.)

In the centers of our oceans (cf, North Pacific Ocean Gyre), one liter of seawater contains about a billion phytoplankton cells, and 6 billion microscopic pieces of plastic. FEWW

Great Pacific Garbage Patch 1
On Aug. 11, while deployed in a small boat, SEAPLEX researchers encountered a large ghost net with tangled rope, net, plastic, and various biological organisms.  The “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” extends across a 1,700-mile long stretch of the ocean. Photo: J. Leichter/Scripps Institution of Oceanography/Handout

Charles Moore: Sailing the Great Pacific Garbage Patch [Feb 2009]

See also:

SEAPLEX (Scripps Environmental Accumulation of Plastic Expedition)

From August 2-21, a group of doctoral students and research volunteers from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and Project Kaisei were on an expedition aboard the Scripps research vessel New Horizon exploring the problem of plastic in the North Pacific Ocean Gyre. The Scripps Environmental Accumulation of Plastic Expedition (SEAPLEX) focused on a suite of critical scientific questions. How much plastic is accumulating, how is it distributed, and how is it affecting ocean life?

More Photos: http://mediabank.ucsd.edu/seaplexhires/
News: http://sio.ucsd.edu/Expeditions/Seaplex/

If having 6 time more plastics than plankton in the ocean doesn’t make you want to cry, you don’t need oceans.

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Posted in oceans are dying, phytoplankton, plankton, Scripps | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

4.5 times more NF3 in atmosphere than thought

Posted by feww on October 24, 2008

Scripps News Release
Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Potent Greenhouse Gas More Prevalent in Atmosphere than Previously Thought

NF3, a greenhouse gas used in manufacture of computer displays, flat panel televisions, microcircuits, solar panels is 17,000 times more powerful at warming the atmosphere than carbon dioxide

Scripps Institution of Oceanography/UC San Diego

Nitrogen trifluoride (NF3), a powerful greenhouse gas, is about 4.5 times more prevalent in the atmosphere than previously thought, say researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.

[A 3-d Space-filling model of nitrogen trifluoride. ]

Nitrogen trifluoride (NF3), a potent greenhouse gas used in the plasma etching of silicon wafers, has a global warming potential (GWP) 17,000 times greater than CO2 over a 100 year period, and with an estimated atmospheric lifetime of about 750 years.

Atmospheric measurements of nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) were made using new analytical techniques by a team at Scripps shows that the amount of the gas in the atmosphere in 2008 was about 5,400 metric tons, 4.5 times higher than previously thought,  and was increasing at about 11 percent per year.

Geochemistry professor Ray Weiss who lead the research team said: “Accurately measuring small amounts of NF3 in air has proven to be a very difficult experimental problem, and we are very pleased to have succeeded in this effort.”

The research will be published in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) on October 31.

Previously, emissions of NF3 were considered too low to be a significant contributor to global warming and were therefore omitted from the Kyoto Protocol, the agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions signed by 182 countries in 1997.

Environmental Impact of NF3 Gas at Current levels

  • NF3 is about 17,000 times more effective a global warming agent than an equivalent mass of CO2.
  • Persists five times longer in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.
  • [Fortunately] Contributes only about 0.04 percent [at its current application levels] to the overall global warming caused by the anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions.

Nitrogen trifluoride has been the industries’ preferred alternative to perfluorocarbons, also potent greenhouse gases, as it was thought industrial applications broke down about 98 percent of the NF3 and only about 2 percent of the gas escaped into the atmosphere.  (Source)

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Posted in Climate Change, CO2 Emissions, Global Warming, Kyoto Protocol, Scripps, SF6 | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »