Surfrider’s Annual Clean Water Report Highlights Infrastructure Needs and Toxin-Removing Landscapes

Too often, ocean water is laced with sewage and pollutants, affecting how safe beaches are for swimming and surfing –  that’s the message of this year’s Clean Water Report released Tuesday, May 25, by the Surfrider Foundation.

“We believe the water should be clean, always. We should be able to do that in all but the most unusual circumstances,” San Clemente-based Surfrider Foundation CEO Chad Nelsen said. But instead, the report highlights inefficiencies in sewer infrastructure and a need to stop urban runoff before it reaches the coast, both main contributors to dirty water that plagues the country’s coastlines.

Opinion: How to Save Beaches and Coastlines from Climate Change Disasters

The frequency of natural disasters has soared in recent decades. Total damage topped $210 billion worldwide in 2020. With climate change, the costs attributed to coastal storms will increase dramatically.

At the same time, coastal habitats such as wetlands and reefs are being lost rapidly. Some 20% of the world’s mangroves were lost over the last four decades. More than half of the Great Barrier Reef was degraded by bleaching in 2020 alone. In California, we have lost more than 90% of our coastal marshes.

Current Steering Weather Hits Slowest Speed in 1,000 Years

An enormous ocean current that flows between continents in a worldwide circuit that can take centuries to complete is slowing down, scientists say. And climate change may be partly to blame.

New research finds that the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, or AMOC — a major ocean system that ferries water and heat between the equator and the poles — is at its weakest point in more than a thousand years.

San Diego Scientist Gets Closer to Understanding Why the Coast Collapses

Adam Young spent the last three years firing a laser from the back of his truck at Del Mar’s cliffs which are crumbling into the Pacific Ocean.

Cliff collapses along the California coast killed three Encinitas beachgoers in 2019. That same year, another bluff collapse in Del Mar destabilized a set of train tracks regularly carrying passengers between Los Angeles and San Diego. Policymakers need to make big decisions about how best to reckon with earth that seems to fall at random, but scientists still don’t understand what truly causes them to fall.

That’s what Young, a coastal geomorphologist (the study of how the earth’s surface formed and changes) at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, wants to know: If we know how ocean waves and winter rains eat away at a cliff face, can we eventually predict where and when it will collapse?

Droughts That Start Over the Ocean? They’re Often Worse Than Those That Form Over Land

Droughts usually evoke visions of cracked earth, withered crops, dried-up rivers and dust storms. But droughts can also form over oceans, and when they then move ashore they are often more intense and longer-lasting than purely land-born dry spells.

Ocean Data Need a Sea Change to Help Navigate the Warming World

The ocean covers about 70% of Earth’s surface, regulates the climate and is home to countless species of fish, a major source of protein for more than one billion people. It is now under threat from climate change, overfishing and pollution.

California Scientists Study Climate Change at Bottom of the Ocean

California researchers have found that oxygen levels and water temperatures play a key role in the health of deep-sea fish populations. San Diego and Monterey Bay scientists studied fish on the floor of the Gulf of California.

“This is an example of some of the video that we are analyzing for this research,” said Natalya Gallo, a post-doctoral researcher at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

She pointed to footage taken along the seafloor on the Gulf of California near the Mexican coast. The pictures come from a remotely controlled submarine. Researchers use the underwater tool to gauge the impact of a warming ocean on fish.