Saturday, September 4, 2010

Why fish in the Arctic don’t freeze

Antarctic or Arctic fish : fresh, not frozen
These fish can survive in the coldest marine environment on the planet

From Wired

Scientists studying why fish in the Arctic ocean don’t freeze have discovered how a natural antifreeze that keeps blood flowing at sub-zero temperatures works.

The temperature of the water in the Arctic is a fairly constant 28.6 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, close to the freezing point of seawater.
The freezing point of fish blood, however, is about 30.4 degrees Fahrenheit.
You’d expect fish traveling beyond a certain latitude to ice up.

Instead, fish are able to keep moving thanks to a frost-protection protein in their blood. It was discovered about 50 years ago, but only now are scientists discovering how the protein works.

Researchers led by Bochum University chemist Martina Havenith used terahertz spectroscopy to examine water molecules in the presence of the protein.
They saw that water molecules, which normally dance around, forming and breaking bonds, slow down in the protein’s vicinity.

“The disco dance becomes a minuet,” said Havenith.

The slowing of the bond-forming process prevents ice crystallization, which would be fatal for the fish.
Under extremely low temperatures the fish can still freeze, but by that point the water around it will have frozen solid too.

The research was funded by Volkswagen, who no doubt want to find better ways of anti-freezing their cars.
The natural proteins found in the fish perform far better than man-made antifreezes, which bond directly with water molecules to lower the freezing point.
The proteins don’t need to bond. Their mere presence is enough to slow freezing.

Links :
  • JBC (1978) : Antifreeze glycoproteins from Arctic Fish

Friday, September 3, 2010

Ancient coral reef uncovered in South Pacific

The ancient reef surrounds Lord Howe Island (AHS610 chart)

From BBC News

An ancient reef found in the Pacific may provide clues to what will happen to coral when sea temperatures rise.

A team of researchers from Australia and New Zealand have discovered a huge 9,000-year-old reef surprisingly far south.
Lord Howe Island is 600km east of the Australian mainland and has a small modern coral reef - the furthest south in the world.

The ancient reef however is nearly 30 times as large as the modern reef.
The scientists, headed by Colin Woodroffe from the University of Wollongong in Australia and researchers from Geoscience Australia, discovered a large ridge about 30m under water in the Tasman Sea.
They have published their work in Geophysical Research Letters.

The team suspected it might be an ancient reef.
The size and shape of the ridge can be mapped using a type of sonar called multi-beam echo sounding.
The researchers could not be sure it was coral until they had taken samples.

The modern reef appears in red, the ancient one in orange

Drilling for samples in the Tasman Sea is very dependent on weather and the seas can be rough - it involves lowering a submersible drill from a boat.
The samples confirmed that it was indeed coral and radiocarbon dating confirmed its age.

Other similar ancient reefs - called relict reefs - have been discovered before, but none as far south as this.
The team think that this reef died when it was flooded as a result of sea levels rising about 7,000 years ago, but the modern temperature at these latitudes also limits coral growth, which is why the relict reef is so much bigger than the modern reef.

Now that sea temperatures are rising, however, reefs may start to grow bigger at higher latitudes.

The relict reef doesn't have an extensive modern reef attached to it but it does have some individual corals which are newer - from the last 2,000 years.
This suggests that there is a suitable habitat for corals which might grow into a larger reef when temperatures rise further.

In the Northern Hemisphere both Florida and Bermuda have small reefs, though they are at the northern limits for coral life.
It is possible that large relict reefs might also be found in those northern waters.
Like the Tasman Sea relict reef, these might be able to support new growth.

Rising sea temperatures are dangerous for coral reefs at hotter tropical latitudes but they may mean we see new reef growth at the far southern, and northern, limits of current reefs.

Links :
  • AFP : Ancient Australian reef raises hopes for coral as seas warm

Thursday, September 2, 2010

NASA Earth Science Hurricane Katrina retrospective

From NASA Goddart Multimedia
On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall along the Gulf Coast. Five years later, NASA revisits the storm with a short video that shows Katrina as captured by satellites.
Before and during the hurricane's landfall, NASA provided data gathered from a series of Earth observing satellites to help predict Katrina's path and intensity.
In its aftermath, NASA satellites also helped identify areas hardest hit.

From VOANews

Severe weather: How ocean storms work

BARBARA KLEIN: This is SCIENCE IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English. I’m Barbara Klein.

BOB DOUGHTY: And I’m Bob Doughty. Today we remember Hurricane Katrina and tell about the science of severe ocean storms.

BARBARA KLEIN: Many Americans are observing the fifth anniversary of one of the nation’s worst natural disasters. Hurricane Katrina reached the state of Louisiana on the morning of August twenty-ninth, two thousand five. It was the costliest hurricane in American history, and one of the deadliest.

Radio and television programs, concerts and films are recalling the storm and its effects on the nation. Literary readings and religious observances also are marking the event.
Hurricane Katrina struck hardest in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Death and destruction from the hurricane and its effects extended along the Gulf Coast. More than one thousand eight hundred people were killed.

BOB DOUGHTY: The storm formed over the Bahamas on August twenty-third, two thousand five. The next day, it grew strong enough for scientists to call it a tropical storm. Then it moved toward the United States. It first reached land in south Florida on August twenty-fifth.

At that time, the National Hurricane Center said the winds were at a top continuing speed of more than one hundred thirty kilometers per hour. Experts identified the storm as a hurricane. They named it Katrina, and rated it as the least severe type of hurricane. Still, it caused flooding and killed people in Florida.

BARBARA KLEIN: Hurricane Katrina weakened again after striking Florida. Later it moved to the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf’s warm waters helped it gain strength. At one point, the storm’s winds were blowing at more than two hundred sixty-eight kilometers per hour. Experts increased its rating to the most severe hurricane.

Time passed, and the winds again weakened. Then Hurricane Katrina reached land in Louisiana. Its speed had fallen to about two hundred kilometers per hour when it struck near New Orleans.
But the wind was strong enough to pick up trees, vehicles and buildings. It threw them into the air like toys. Walls of water flooded over the land. Intense rain fell. Then Hurricane Katrina struck land again, this time at the border of Mississippi and Louisiana. Again, there was loss of life and terrible destruction.

BOB DOUGHTY: Severe ocean storms in the northern part of the world usually develop in late summer or early autumn near the equator. Scientists call them cyclones when they develop over the Indian Ocean. When they happen over the northwestern Pacific Ocean, the storms are typhoons. And in the eastern Pacific and the Atlantic Ocean they are called hurricanes.
Ocean storms develop when the air temperature in one area is different from the temperature nearby. Warmer air rises, while cooler air falls. These movements create a difference in the pressure of the atmosphere.

BARBARA KLEIN: If the pressure changes over a large area, winds start to blow in a huge circle. High pressure air is pulled toward a low pressure center. Thick clouds form and heavy rains fall as the storm gains speed and moves over the ocean waters. Storms can get stronger as they move over warm ocean waters.

The strongest, fastest winds of a hurricane blow in the area known as the eyewall. It surrounds the center, or eye, of the storm. The eye itself is calm by comparison.
Wind speeds in severe ocean storms can reach more than two hundred fifty kilometers an hour. Up to fifty centimeters of rain can fall. Some storms have produced more than one hundred fifty centimeters of rain.

These storms also cause high waves and ocean surges. A surge is a continuous movement of water that may reach as high as six meters or more. The water strikes low coastal areas. Surges are commonly responsible for about ninety percent of all deaths from ocean storms.

BOB DOUGHTY: The National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, keeps watch on severe storms. It works closely with public officials and with radio and television stations to keep people informed. Experts believe this early warning system has helped reduce deaths from ocean storms in recent years.
But sometimes people cannot or will not flee the path of a storm. That is what happened in many places in New Orleans.

BARBARA KLEIN: Weather scientists use computer programs to create models that show where a storm might go. The programs combine information such as temperatures, wind speed, atmospheric pressure and the amount of water in the atmosphere.
Scientists collect the information with satellites, weather balloons and devices floating in the world's oceans. They also collect information from ships and passenger flights and from government planes. These planes fly into and around storms. The crews drop instruments attached to parachutes. The instruments report temperature, pressure, wind speed and other conditions.

BOB DOUGHTY: Scientists use the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale to measure the intensity of storms based on wind speed. It provides an idea of the amount of coastal flooding and property damage that might be expected. The scale is divided into five groups or categories.
The mildest hurricane is called category one. It has winds of about one hundred twenty to one hundred fifty kilometers an hour. This storm can damage trees and lightweight structures. It can also cause flooding.

Wind speeds in a category two hurricane can reach close to one hundred eighty kilometers an hour. These storms are often powerful enough to break windows or blow the roofs off houses.
Winds between about one hundred eighty and two hundred fifty kilometers an hour represent categories three and four. An even more powerful storm is a category five hurricane.

BARBARA KLEIN: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Hurricane Katrina was a strong category three hurricane when it hit land in Louisiana. But researchers say other forces than its wind speed helped cause Katrina’s extensive destruction. NOAA scientists say Katrina’s air pressure was very low. The lower the air pressure, the stronger the storm. And Katrina was also an unusually wide storm.

Katrina’s most damaging power, however, came from the water it brought. The storm surge was estimated at more than six meters, and may have been as high as nine meters.

BOB DOUGHTY: All this water poured into Lake Pontchartrain on the north side of New Orleans. It also flooded into the Mississippi River to the south. New Orleans was built below sea level. The city is surrounded by levees made of earth and walls made of concrete.

The water and wind pressure from Katrina broke through the flood dams and destroyed many areas of New Orleans. The surge washed away large areas of the coastal cities of Biloxi and Gulfport, Mississippi. There was also heavy damage in Alabama.

BARBARA KLEIN: Some scientists believe climate change affects major storms. Some say the warming of Earth’s atmosphere is already making the storms worse. Other scientists have published studies that disagree.

Earlier this year, a special World Meteorological Organization committee reported on severe storms. The committee’s work appeared in the journal Nature Geoscience. Ten scientists took part. The experts represented both sides of the debate about global warming. They reached no clear answer about whether global warming had already intensified storms. Still, the committee made some predictions.

BOB DOUGHTY: They said global warming might cause more powerful ocean storms in the future. They said the overall strength of storms measured by wind speed might increase two to eleven percent by the year twenty-one hundred. And there might be an increase in the number of the most severe storms. But there might be fewer weak and moderate storms.

The current Atlantic Ocean hurricane season began in June. Weather experts say fewer severe storms than usual have struck since then. Experts had predicted above-normal numbers of storms during the season, which continues through November.

Or download MP3 (Right-click or option-click and save link)

Links :
  • MSNBC Hurricane tracker : interactive mashup built by Stamen using Bing Maps. Use the app to track recent events and see exactly where the storm has been and where its going
  • Stormpulse : other tracker
  • NOAA NHC : Hurricane Earl force wind speed probabilities

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Webb Chiles : self-portrait in the present sea

From InThePresentSea

Webb Chiles was the first American to round Cape Horn solo.
He is the author of five books, has circumnavigated by sail four times, and has set numerous world records.

Links :
  • FurledSails podcasts : part I / part II

Accuracy and reliability of charts versus confidence

The Island of California (Map, circa 1650) refers to a long-held European misconception, dating from the 16th century, that California was not part of mainland North America but rather a large island separated from the continent by a strait now known instead as the Gulf of California.
One of the most famous cartographic errors in history, it was propagated on many maps during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, despite contradictory evidence from various explorers.

From Mike Prince, Director of Charting, Australian Hydrographic Service

How accurate are nautical charts?
How much faith can be placed in them?

The Australian Hydrographic Service proposes a valuable guide which any skipper or navigator of a sailing vessel should be aware with.

Unfortunately, the answer is quite complex – far more complex than simply saying one chart is accurate whilst another is not.

However, having the necessary skills should be essential for any mariner venturing into unfamiliar waters.

All charts, whether paper or electronic, contain data which varies in quality due to the age and accuracy of individual surveys. In general, remote areas away from shipping routes tend to be less well surveyed, and less frequently, while areas of high commercial traffic are re-surveyed frequently to very high levels of accuracy, particularly where under-keel clearances are small.

It is quite accurate to consider a chart as a jigsaw of individual surveys pieced together to form a single image.
These surveys vary in age and quality, particularly due to changes in technology.

However, one fundamental truth remains – a hydrographic surveyor can typically only physically see a very small percentage of their survey area – the parts which rise above the sea surface; for the remainder they must have confidence in their systems and long-standing practices to accurately and confidently chart the seabed.

Because priority for surveying is given to the major shipping routes, an essential skill for mariners venturing into unfamiliar waters away from these routes is the ability to interpret the various quality indicators that are, or should be, on every chart.

These are the best guides available to mariners, whether on commercial vessels or cruising yachts, to help them decide how much confidence should be had in past and current surveyors and the technology available to them when surveying the different areas of each chart.

Indeed, a prudent mariner should be wary of any chart that does not show these indicators, irrespective of whether it is a traditional paper chart, a Raster Nautical Chart or one of the new Electronic Navigational Charts.

Finally, if in doubt, post a lookout, make your approach in daylight and good conditions, or go somewhere else – there is no such thing as a good grounding.

Links :

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Old data guides mariners into risky waters

Flinders Islet off the New South Wales South Coast (Australia)

From Brisbane Times

Mariners may be putting their lives at risk by relying on electronic navigation charts that are not up-to-date, says the Australian Hydrographic Service (AHS).

The AHS’s director of charting services, Mike Prince said last week an outdated chart could have been the cause of the yachting tragedy last year that claimed the lives of two experienced sailors.

Veteran skipper Andrew Short, 48, and navigator Sally Gordon, 47, both of Sydney died after they were swept from the deck of PWC Shockwave after the yacht struck Flinders Islet off the New South Wales South Coast in October.

The 26-metre multimillion-dollar yacht broke up after the crash, which occurred about 3am as it was about to make the return journey in a 169-kilometre race from Sydney.

“A CYC (Cruising Yacht Club) report (
read Navigation Systems Reliability chapter p.26 to P.31) to said they were using an electronic chart at the time of the crash and there is speculation that there could have been a problem with it,” Mr Prince said.

A yacht race inquiry in January heard some of the boat’s crew before the tragic race had observed errors on the chart plotter in Sydney Harbour and at Hamilton Island in Queensland.

The AHS is working with Yachting Australia and maritime services around the country to raise awareness of the limitations of the commercial charts used within chart plotters and software systems.

Mr Prince estimated that one million Australian boaties used unofficial electronic charts.
‘‘Sailors should use the charts to support navigation, not totally rely on them,’’ he said.

In another case, Timothy O'Neill, 39, died after his motorboat doing 25 knots crashed into a seawall at the mouth of the Brisbane River in 2007.
The boat’s electronic charts had not been updated to show the seawall had been built on reclaimed land.
(see Maritime Safety Queensland SeaScape p. 4 saying the accident was partly to blame due to an over-reliance on an outdated GPS system / Office of the State Coroner - Findings of Inquest)
In 2008, a $1.7m yacht Asolare hit a reef 200 nautical miles east of Cairns and two crew members who had been clinging to the boat’s hull were winched to safety by rescue helicopter.
“The skipper said the reef wasn’t on his electronic chart but it was on the paper chart so he obviously hadn’t updated it,” he said.

The AHS publishes fortnightly updates new and altered information that could affect safety at sea on the Australian Notice to Mariners. It is up to mariners to apply the updates to their charts.

“If people don’t update them they could be ignorant of hazards or dangers that could affect their safety,” he said.

Makers of commercial electronic charts are not legally required to regularly update their charts because they are marked “not for navigation” or “aid to navigation only”.

These unofficial charts might only be updated every few years.

The AHS has published fact sheets to tell mariners how to use official and unofficial charts safely.

Links :
  • Sailingmates : your GPS can kill you (required reading for every sailor who uses a GPS)
  • MAIB Safety Bulletin : Collision between Ash and Dutch Aquamarine south-east of Hastings in the Dover Traffic Separation Scheme (2001)

It’s time to zone the seas

From NJToday by Amy Mathews Amos

With the Deepwater Horizon oil spill doing long-term damage to commercial fishing, wildlife, and tourism, perhaps the bubble of our ocean fantasies has finally burst.

We’ve always thought of the seas as free, wild, and infinite.
A place we go to get away from rush hour traffic and office cubicles.
We picture waves rolling under the bow of a boat, sails full, sun bright.
Or white breakers crashing on lonely stretches of beach.
To most of us, the ocean seems unimaginably big. Vast. Endless.

But it’s not.

The tar balls washing up on Gulf of Mexico beaches remind us that it’s getting pretty crowded out there.
And not just with oil rigs.
Walking the shore, we can’t readily see the fierce competition underway for pipeline routes, mining sites, sewage lines, communication cables, fishing fleets, and more.
But in reality, things are bumping into each other much more often at sea, whether it’s oil and water, cables and corals, or ships and whales.

Often literally colliding: A 90,000-ton container ship can kill a 100-ton right whale when it hits it. Ship collisions are the biggest source of human-caused death for these endangered cetaceans. The second biggest is entanglement in fishing gear.

To bring order to the seas, it’s time to take our cue from the land.

For decades communities have used zoning to reduce land-use conflicts and protect property values.
In 2008, Massachusetts became the first state to apply this idea to the ocean.
With 400 years of seafaring behind it, Massachusetts entered the 21st century struggling to balance modern demands like fish farms, sand mining, and wind farms with declining fisheries and thriving tourism.
With the state’s passage of a comprehensive ocean “zoning” law, it now has a framework to identify which offshore areas are appropriate for which uses, and to flag potential conflicts in advance.
The Obama Administration wants to do the same thing in U.S. ocean waters and the Great Lakes.

Called “marine spatial planning,” this concept is rooted in conservation.
Australia pioneered it in the 1980s to protect valuable coral reefs, seagrass beds, and mangroves in its world-renowned Great Barrier Reef National Park.

Protecting special places in U.S. waters isn’t new either.
Just as our national parks preserve special areas on land, national marine sanctuaries protect resources like the sunken wreck of the Civil War ship USS Monitor off the North Carolina coast, and the country’s northernmost coral reefs in the Flower Garden Banks of the Gulf of Mexico.

But the idea of ocean zoning goes far beyond conservation.
The Obama Administration sees it as a way to promote economic development too.
Identifying areas suitable for various economic, industrial, or conservation uses in advance can help reduce conflicts and facilitate compatible uses.

This includes energy development, which increasingly drives how we use the ocean.
In Massachusetts, conflicts over the location of liquefied natural gas terminals, tidally-driven energy facilities, and wind farms fueled change.
At the national level, intense pressure for offshore oil and gas drilling leases adds to the urgency.

The catastrophic BP spill in the Gulf forces the question: what areas should be off limits to oil and gas drilling, and where can we develop more sustainable, renewable energy sources so these disasters don’t happen in the future?

Not surprisingly, the idea of flagging parts of the ocean for specific uses raises hackles.
To many, this simply doesn’t fit the romantic image of a free ocean.
Recreational fishing interests in particular are opposed to anything that might restrict fishing access.

Dr. Elliott Norse, president of the nonprofit Marine Conservation Biology Institute and a leading thinker and supporter of marine spatial planning, likens the idea of a free and open ocean to a “sacred value.”
According to psychologists, sacred values are concepts that defy rational decision-making, based solely on strong emotion.
No promise of practical benefits can easily sway someone away from a sacred value.

But clinging to outdated notions of what we want the oceans to be could do irreversible harm. We’re placing tremendous new demands on the seas and need a more thoughtful approach to managing them.

The time for marine spatial planning has come.
If there was any doubt before, surely those doubts should have sunk with the Deepwater Horizon.

Links :
  • UNESCO : UNESCO initiative on marine spatial planning

Monday, August 30, 2010

Moon image : scenic phenomenon

Full moon at Perigee and Apogee

From Perseus

A common misconception is that the moon is larger when it is near the horizon than when it is high overhead.
However, this optical illusion is not true, for the apparent size of the moon is virtually the same when it is rising or setting near the horizon or when viewed overhead (in fact, it is very slightly smaller when viewed near the horizon due to refraction as well as the greater added distance in observing across the earth's radius).
This illusion has been wrongly attributed to landmarks near the horizon, such as homes and trees, supposedly giving a sense of perspective and whereas the same perspective is lost when looking at the overhead moon bathed in an empty sky.
As noted by Donald E. Simanek and Carl J. Wenning, the real reason behind this trick by our brain is the perception of the moon being against a "close" or "distant" foreground and which is lucidly described by the above two references.

In contrast, it is puzzling that when a physical change in the apparent size of the moon does occur, due to its elliptical orbit around our planet, the change in the apparent diameter which can be up to 14% between apogee and perigee, is not noticed at all.
In fact, the change in the apparent diameter of the moon is a monthly phenomenon and is something that could be discerned quite easily during any given lunation by looking very carefully at the full moon and the waning crescent thirteen days later (or observing a waxing crescent thirteen days earlier)!

At apogee, the moon is approximately 406,500 km away from earth with an apparent diameter of about 29.5' whereas, at perigee, it is approximately 356,500 km away and is characterized with an apparent diameter of about 33.6'.
This difference of 50,000 km between apogee and perigee leads to the dramatic change in the apparent diameter as illustrated by the two full moons below which were strategically selected during 2010 so as to have the full moon as near to its minimum possible perigee and maximum possible apogee as possible when crossing the local meridian.

Furthermore, the apogee full moon below, captured during late summer, was slightly muted in colour when crossing the southern meridian due to its relatively low altitude during each summer and in contrast to the sun when the latter is at its highest during the same season.
These relative positions between the sun and the moon are juxtaposed six months later and during mid-winter with the (perigee) moon at a much higher altitude relative to six months earlier (note the absence of muted colouration due to atmospheric effects and sharper image) as well as relative to the sun.
The sun is now also much lower in the sky as compared to six months earlier (see here).

Note: The change in the apparent diameter of the sun due to perihelion and aphelion is fully documented elsewhere on this website (see here).

Links :
  • Wikipedia : Kepler's laws of planetary motion

Sunday, August 29, 2010

China becomes fifth country to acquire deep-diving technology

China erected a flag on the seabed of the South China Sea at a depth of nearly 4000 meters, although it is not stated where exactly the flag-planting took place

From : China Daily & Shangaiist

A domestic submersible has reached a depth of 3,759 meters, making China the fifth country in the world to acquire deep-diving technology surpassing the 3,500-meter mark, authorities said on Thursday.

The Chinese submersible Jiaolong, which is 8.2 meters long and weighs nearly 22 tons, was designed to reach a depth of 7,000 meters and operate in most of the world's oceans, officials said.

Jiaolong is considered to be the world's only deep-sea vessel that can theoretically reach those depths. Japan's Shinkai 6500 has a depth capability of 6,500 meters. The other three countries with deep-diving technology are the US, France and Russia.

A submersible differs from a submarine as it typically depends on another vessel or facility for support.

Jiaolong, with a crew of three, dived 17 times from May 31 to July 18 in the South China Sea, going below 3,000 meters four times. The deepest it reached was 3,759 meters. It operated at a peak duration of nine hours and three minutes and sent back videos and photos of the seabed.

In an experiment when it landed on the seafloor, it placed the Chinese flag and a sign depicting the legendary dragon's palace onto the seabed with a robotic arm.

"The successful diving trials of Jiaolong marked a milestone in our country's deepwater equipment and technology development," said Wang Weizhong, vice-minister of science and technology.

China started to develop the submersible in 2002. Work on the deep-sea vessel and its mother ship were completed after six years and involved about 100 institutions and companies nationwide.

"During the design and building stage, we overcame many technical difficulties such as pressure resistance, auto-control systems and battery capacity," Wang Fei, deputy chief of the State Oceanic Administration, said while introducing the submersible.

Jiaolong started its diving trials in August last year by going through depth stages.

"From last year's 50 meters, 300 meters and 1,000 meters to this year's depth of more than 3,700 meters, it is a great achievement. Such a depth means that Chinese scientists are able to conduct research in the deep. It also marks China becoming one of the few countries that possess manned deep-diving technology," said Liu Feng, chief director of the diving trials.

Lack of experience was the biggest difficulty faced in the trials, Liu said, adding that severe weather such as typhoons and storms also hampered efforts.

"We did pressure tests that simulated the environment at 7,000 meters underwater. That depth is our target. We will keep on trying deeper depths and finally reach the 7,000-meter goal," Liu said.

Ye Cong, one of the hydronauts on board Jiaolong, said he could sit in the vessel while the other two crew members could only stoop in the cabin. "The air pressure in the cabin is the same as it is on the surface. I felt excited and nervous every time I went deep underwater," Ye said. Ye said the team had just successfully completed the diving trials and it still had a long way to go before the submersible was applied to scientific research.

China's submersible development is aimed at scientific research to help with the peaceful exploration and utilization of natural resources, officials said. Jiaolong's main missions include physical, chemical and biological research, as well as exploration and deep-sea salvage, officials said.

It's summertime, and the world's navies have been cruising each other in the warm waters of the world's oceans as if it were some kind of brawny maritime love parade. Indeed, there has been a flurry of naval action in the Asian theatre recently - some of it routine and annual, some related to the Cheonan incident, but also chest thumping and jostling for position in territorial claims all over the place.

If there's any nation that's been "showing some sack" recently, it's China. With rumors swirling about its grandiose naval ambitions - to draw a "string of pearls" across the Indian Ocean, dominate the western Pacific, expand influence across Oceania, just to name a few - China's neighbors have evidently become a bit bothered. However, most contentious of all is China's extraordinary claim to 80% of the South China Sea, a territorial matter which according to some reports, Beijing considers a "core national interest" - on par with Taiwan, Tibet, and Xinjiang.

The escalation of the South China Seas issue was widely reported after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's July 23 remarks at the ASEAN Regional Forum in Hanoi, where she called for a multilateral settlement of the many conflicting claims over control of the South China Sea and its riches in accordance with UNCLOS. Clinton's statement served to bolster the positions of smaller nations and was viewed by Beijing as a "sneak attack" on very this very sensitive area

Now, we all remember when the Russian Federation planted a flag on the bottom of the Arctic Ocean to assert its claim over that territory.

While that is still a matter of dispute, if the Chinese get the South China Sea and the Russians get the Arctic Ocean, does this mean the United States owns the moon?

Links :

  • Cam11 : China-made manned submersible reached 3,759 meters beneath waves