Saturday, April 18, 2020

‘The Boundless Sea’ explores centuries of ocean voyaging

From CSMonitor by Steve Donoghue

Humans have been conducting war, commerce, and exploration on the world’s oceans for thousands of years, and the oceans have been reflected in human literature from its beginnings.
Histories of that relationship abound, including Lincoln Paine’s “The Sea and Civilization,” James Stavridis’ “Sea Power,” and Samuel Eliot Morison’s “The European Discovery of America.”
Now comes David Abulafia’s “The Boundless Sea: A Human History of the Oceans,” which focuses on Earth's three largest oceans: the Atlantic, the Pacific, and the Indian.

These pages feature the great sea-going nations of the past, the globe-circling commercial empires built on fragile ships and enormous risks, and Abulafia includes a colorful cast of mostly well-known figures such as Walter Raleigh, Ferdinand Magellan, Vasco Núñez de Balboa, Christopher Columbus, Francis Drake, Vasco da Gama, Martin Frobisher, James Cook, Hernán Cortés, Francisco Pizarro, and Juan Ponce de León, along with equally important figures who will probably be less familiar to some readers, like the great Ming admiral Zheng He or the ancient Roman author Pliny the Elder.

Due to the sheer immensity of Abulafia’s subject – human interactions over centuries on three vast watery arenas – none of these figures can stay for long.
When it comes to poor old Pliny the Elder, our author only has time to repeat a well-worn slander about “a man whose obsession with scientific detail was so powerful that he lingered too long in the gas-filled air of the Bay of Naples and fell victim to the famous eruption of Vesuvius.”
(To set the record straight, Pliny was a naval officer attempting to get residents out of harm’s way at nearby Stabiae, not some oblivious tourist; Abulafia’s source for the slander is, oddly enough, Pliny’s own “Natural History,” a book in which Pliny describes quite a bit but not, alas, the circumstances of his own death).
Likewise the book has enough room to mention Captain Edward Preble’s defeat of the Tripoli pirates during the 1801 First Barbary War but must hurry on without mentioning the star vessel of his squadron - the USS Constitution, “Old Ironsides,” whose decks you can still walk today in Boston.

But that’s one of the problems with a volume as big and inviting as this.
Even while you’re floating along on the generous glories of its narrative, you’re noticing little bits and pieces that are missing.
Far more notable, even given the page count here, is the sheer amount of detail Abulafia actually manages to include.
Readers get glimpses of thousands of worlds, from the first American traders encountering Chinese merchants in their elaborate business hostels (“They were not supposed to bring in women,” Abulafia writes, “but occasionally smuggled wives or mistresses in nonetheless”) to the notorious scourge of all pre-modern epic sea voyages: scurvy, which made long voyages “a deathtrap.”

And through it all, Abulafia keeps one eye on the broader aspects of his subject, both the growing interconnectedness of his three separate water-worlds but also on the larger conceptions of what the oceans mean as spheres of human endeavor.

“Who has mastery over the sea itself?” Abulafia asks, looking back to the days of Dutch and Portuguese supremacy.
In 1609, the Dutch jurist Hugo Grotius wrote that classical and Biblical literature clearly indicated that the open oceans should be neutral, international fields of play.
In our unprecedentedly interconnected age, the issue is intensely relevant.
“The question that the Dutch raised has still not gone away: in the twenty-first century the South China Sea has become the focus of intense legal debates in which theoretical claims and practical realities are closely intertwined,” he writes.
“The Boundless Sea” largely steers clear of those 21st-century questions, and it likewise doesn’t consider the rampant, worldwide damage humans are doing to these oceans.

“So have I seen Passion and Vanity stamping the living magnanimous earth, but the earth did not alter her tides and her seasons for that,” Herman Melville writes in “Moby-Dick,” and this is the line “The Boundless Sea” follows so engagingly.
Here we have the passion and vanity on full and glorious display.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Who is in charge of the high seas?

Areas outside exclusive economic zones in dark blue.
Map of international waters in the world.

From FT by

Gerard Barron shows off a potato-sized rock scooped from the floor of the Pacific Ocean some 4km beneath the surface.
Despite concerns about the sea’s worsening health, it is, he says, the vanguard of a new mining industry.
“Think of it as an electric vehicle in a rock,” he says, holding the greyish polymetallic nodule in the palm of his hand at last month’s international Our Ocean conference in Oslo.
The nodule is rich in nickel, cobalt and manganese — metals that are in demand for electric car batteries and wind turbines to help bring about a shift from fossil fuels.
Plans by mining companies such as Mr Barron’s — he is chief executive of Canada-based DeepGreen — are a dilemma for governments struggling to tighten governance rules to protect ocean life from global warming, over-fishing and pollution.
“Ocean governance is a mess,” says Janis Searles Jones, chief executive of the Ocean Conservancy, a US non-profit environmental group.
“It’s all done sector by sector — fishing, shipping, mining and pollution have all been dealt with separately.” She urges a more unified approach, with climate change at its heart and greater involvement by heads of government.

Gerard Barron holds a seabed nodule of the sort that his company, DeepGreen, hopes to mine In March 2020, governments will meet in New York to try to complete a UN treaty to ensure “conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction”.
Coastal states have exclusive rights over the seas up to 200 nautical miles from their land, but the waters further out — the so-called high seas — are less regulated.
In October, national representatives will assemble in Beijing under the auspices of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, a meeting whose agenda will include setting new, voluntary, goals for marine protected areas.
These waters, where human activity is restricted for the sake of conservation, currently account for just 7 per cent of the sea.
Between those two gatherings is a meeting of the International Seabed Authority, in Jamaica in July.
It will set rules for exploitation of deep-sea resources by companies such as DeepGreen.
So far the ISA, established under the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea to regulate the ocean floor in areas beyond national jurisdiction, has issued 30 licences to prospect for — but not exploit — seabed minerals.
As far as some experts are concerned, that is enough.
“It’s time to press the pause button [on seabed mining],” says Professor Jane Lubchenco, a marine ecologist at Oregon State University and a former administrator of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
She explains that research due for publication in coming months indicates that the deep ocean seabed stores more carbon than previously thought and it could be risky to churn up sediments.

Ocean nodules on the bottom of the sea floor
© Cook Islands Seabed Minerals Authority

Prof Lubchenco is not alone in wanting more time to assess the risks of mining.
Fiji’s fisheries minister, Semi Koroilavesau, says his country is lobbying for a 10-year moratorium on deep sea exploitation “to allow the oceans to regenerate”.
That could threaten any mining, since the ISA operates by consensus among member states.
Mr Barron is undeterred.
He says there are trillions of nodules, formed naturally on the seabed between Mexico and Hawaii; these could be collected by a robot harvester the size of a bus, and sucked up a pipe to the surface in commercial quantities from 2024.
Mining at sea like this would be less harmful than on land, he says.
Michael Lodge, the ISA’s secretary-general, says a moratorium on mining would be “totally counterproductive” and would undercut ocean science, which is often funded by companies.
“The high seas is not, as some NGOs want to portray, a totally unregulated Wild West,” he says, adding that there are already strict environmental controls.

But the current governance system for the ocean is fragmented.
It was set up before governments appreciated the risks of climate change, pollution and over-fishing in seas long regarded as too vast to be substantially affected by human activities.
And the regime that applies to the high seas — defined by the Convention on the Law of the Sea and groups including the ISA, the International Maritime Organization and regional fisheries management organisations — often lacks teeth.
The Law of the Sea, for instance, tells states to limit marine pollution and safeguard fish stocks.
But the UN warns that the cumulative weight of plastic dumped in the seas by 2050 could exceed that of all fish, while almost 90 per cent of marine fish stocks are fully exploited, over-exploited or depleted.

Plastic pollution covering Accra beach in Ghana

The UN says the weight of plastic in the ocean could exceed that of fish by 2050 Underscoring the mounting risks, a UN report in September from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that the ocean is under unprecedented threat from global warming, which is killing coral reefs and aggravating a decline in fish stocks.
“We need to give space back to nature.
We are moving into the sixth mass extinction, due to human influences,” says Hans-Otto Pörtner, a lead writer of the IPCC report.
The last mass extinction was when the dinosaurs were wiped out 65m years ago.

Prof Pörtner is one of many scientists who recommend setting aside 30 per cent of the seas by 2030 in a network of marine protected areas.
In September 2018, Britain launched a “30x30” campaign with the same goal, supported by countries including Belgium, Costa Rica and Kenya.
The proposal will be discussed at October’s CBD meeting, which makes decisions by consensus.
Jennifer Morgan, head of Greenpeace, says China and Russia seem most reluctant about the 30 per cent target, along with Iceland and Norway.
What is more, she notes that any goals set under the CBD are only voluntary, and that many protected areas exist only on paper.
When policymakers decide on governance, Mr Barron of DeepGreen argues that they should consider the health of the entire planet, not just the ocean.
Most cobalt, for instance, now comes from Democratic Republic of Congo, where 43 illegal miners died in a tunnel collapse in June and rainforests are under threat from mine-related development.
“There is a very dirty secret in the green transition — it’s about where those metals come from to build the batteries,” he says, slipping the nodule back into the pocket of his leather jacket.

Links :

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Underwater drones nearly triple data from the ocean floor

Retrieving a Hugin drone after a test run offshore.
Photographer: Ivar Kvaal for Bloomberg Business Week

From Bloomberg by Jeff Wise

They’ve located lost subs and carriers, but haven’t yet found any planes.

Last November a small seabed-exploration company out of Houston called Ocean Infinity made the discovery of a lifetime—or so it seemed, until it made another three months later.
First, Ocean Infinity successfully located the remains of the San Juan, an Argentine navy sub that had vanished while on patrol.
Then it found the wreck of the Stellar Daisy, a South Korean bulk ore carrier.
Both vessels had been missing for more than a year, which often means a wreck won’t ever be found.
The two-year-old company’s secret was teamwork: a set of eight drone subs working in tandem to scan a much larger area in record time.

The drones can dive as deep as 20,000 feet and stay underwater for up to 72 hours.
Photographer: Ivar Kvaal for Bloomberg Business Week

These successes could be part of a broader shift in how humanity understands the sea.
We know far more about the surface of Mars than we do about the bottom of the ocean, but seabed-scanning technology is growing sophisticated enough to render the inky depths much more transparent.
Seabed 2030, a joint project of two nonprofits, aims to map the entire ocean floor by its namesake year.
Key to that effort is Kongsberg Maritime AS, the Norwegian company that made Ocean Infinity’s subs.
Bjorn Jalving, senior vice president of Kongsberg’s subsea division, says the Hugin, its flagship drone, is a testament to advances in robotic strength and stamina.
Hugins can dive as deep as 20,000 feet and stay underwater for 72 hours at a stretch.
Costing $5 million to $10 million apiece depending on the onboard instruments they have and the depths they can handle, the drones are hardy enough, Jalving says, that “you let them out in the ocean, and you know that they’ll come back.”
They’re also packed with sensors, including sonar that can cover five times the area of models from a decade ago, with 10 times the detail.

Jalving with Hugin drones, which have helped almost triple the area of surveyed seabeds since 2017.
Photographer: Ivar Kvaal for Bloomberg Business Week

The subs can also transfer, process, and share much larger amounts of data with distant control centers than was possible before.
Five years ago, Fugro NV, the Dutch survey and geosciences company responsible for searching the Indian Ocean for the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, relied on crewed survey boats that towed sonar gear on long cables up and down the seafloor as shipboard analysts monitored incoming data.
Today the company streams field data to command centers onshore and plans to do away with some crews entirely.

Photographer: Ivar Kvaal for Bloomberg Business Week

Since 2017, Seabed 2030 has single-handedly increased the percentage of the seabed that’s been surveyed from 6% to 15%, mostly by compiling data from the likes of Fugro and Ocean Infinity.
Fugro keeps mapping even when it’s moving ships between jobs.
Beyond potential benefits such as finding clearer routes for undersea internet cables or energy pipelines, the extra intel will help answer big scientific questions related to climate change, says Larry Mayer, who contributes to Seabed 2030 as director of the Center for Coastal & Ocean Mapping at the University of New Hampshire.
“How heat is distributed has to do with currents, and where those currents go is determined by where there are ridges and valleys and things,” he says.
“It’s the most fundamental information that we can get.”

Technology from Kongsberg is set to make it easier to detect abandoned lobster traps, wrecks and other scrap on the seafloor.

Just as the first sequencing of the human genome led to businesses sequencing many other people’s genomes, seabed mapping could one day become routine, or even just an ongoing process, helping to track things such as pollution, ocean warming, and fish stocks.
“It will enable the world’s decision-makers to sustainably manage the oceans,” Jalving says.
For now, though, the oceans are keeping a great many secrets.
After Fugro failed to find MH370, Ocean Infinity gave the search a shot last year, scanning 43,000 miles in five months—about 15 times the pace in 2014.
That team, like Fugro’s, found nothing.

Links :

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

What was life like for sailors during the Battle of the Atlantic?

An Allied convoy crossing the Atlantic in 1942.
The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest naval campaign of the war, running from 1939 to 1945.
Credit U.S. Coast Guard

From NYTimes by James G. Stavridis

For those fighting the longest naval campaign of World War II, weather and German U-boats were constant threats.

In the latest article from “Beyond the World War II We Know,” a series by The Times that documents lesser-known stories from World War II, James Stavridis, a retired United States Navy admiral and former commander of the United States European Command looks back on the lives of sailors during the long Battle of the Atlantic.

In the winter of 1994, I was sailing off the coast of Norway in the guided-missile destroyer U.S.S. Barry — my first stint as a ship’s captain.
Even given the ship’s 8,000-ton size — vastly larger than the corvettes (small warships) and destroyers of World War II — we were pitching and rolling viciously in the harsh winter seas.
As I walked the unstable decks and talked to my sailors standing the long night watches, I told them about the Battle of the Atlantic.

These waters had been the scene of the most difficult and longest naval campaign of the war, with over 100,000 deaths from both sides and close to 5,000 vessels sunk in hundreds of combat encounters. Most of my sailors were in their early 20s, and barely remembered the recently concluded Cold War, let alone the ancient history of World War II.
Yet as a destroyer sailor, I knew that you could drop a plumb line from the thousands of North Atlantic voyages of 1939-1945 directly to my young team struggling to keep their dinner rations down in the churning waters half a century later.
While the conditions were challenging for us, they were far better than those faced by those brave crews.
So what was a day like for those hardy mariners of the turbulent and pivotal Atlantic battle?

First and foremost in every sailor’s mind was the looming presence of the sea and weather — in many cases their most dangerous foe.
Sailors would be shaken awake in the middle of the night for the long, dark midwatch, from midnight to 4 in the morning, tumbling out of canvas bunks jammed by the dozens in tiny sleeping compartments.
Every man in the ship would have an intuitive sense of the weather after rising, feeling the pitch and yaw of the ship in the harsh seas.
But most would check with the quartermaster — the ship’s on-duty navigator and meteorologist up on the bridge — to get a sense of whether the barometer was rising or falling, and what the next day or so would bring.
If they could snatch another hour of sleep after the midwatch, they would count themselves lucky indeed, as the exhausting quality of the ever-present seas hung over every task.

The U.S.S. Mason was commissioned at Boston Navy Yard before engaging in the Battle of the Atlantic in 1944.
It was the first American ship to have a predominantly black crew.
Credit...National Archives
This Coast Guard ship faced rough conditions in the North Atlantic in 1944.
Weather was an ever-present challenge during the battle.
Credit...U.S. Coast Guard
Coast Guardsmen watched the explosion of a depth charge that stopped a Nazi U-boat from breaking into the center of a large convoy in April 1943.
Credit...National Archives

The ship itself — in effect, almost a living being — posed another kind of daily challenge.

On the long convoy runs, the sailors would be working around the clock on its vital maintenance.
Down in the guts of the engineering plant, where temperatures could soar even on the coldest days, the “snipes” would be fueling and oiling the engines, flushing the bearings, sampling the freshwater generators and checking every aspect of the electrical generators.
Losing power at sea could be a death sentence for a ship, second only to a torpedo from a lurking U-boat, especially in deteriorating weather.

Up on the weather decks, the watch standers would be struggling to hold their footing while working on the topside gear as green seawater crashed over the slippery steel.
A failure to maintain any of the dozens of critical systems on the relatively primitive ships — propulsion, electricity, freshwater, weapons, even signal lamps — could prove fatal to those vessels, so the sailors worked endlessly and sleeplessly to be ready for instant combat.
Alongside the weather, the health of the ship itself dominated their long days and nights.

Three well-insulated seamen, part of a North Atlantic convoy en route to Iceland, in December 1941. The cleaver held by the sailor at left would have been used to cut away life rafts when abandoning ship.
Credit...U.S. Navy

U.S. Navy warplanes tightly packed on an aircraft escort’s deck, circa 1942.
Credit...Library of Congress

But the most feared eventuality of all was the sudden appearance of an enemy U-boat.
The ship’s days could be relatively routine for long stretches, but extreme vigilance was required while watching the distant horizon where the sky met the sea under the low, gray, scudding clouds.
That routine could change suddenly with a chance sighting of a periscope, a frantic radio or light signal from one of the merchant vessels under protection, or, worst of all, the hissing wake of a torpedo headed inbound.

At that moment, the ship would order “general quarters,” meaning all hands had to sprint to their individual battle stations.
Every weapons and sensor system in the ship would be manned, the damage control stations — essentially firefighting lockers throughout the ship — would be fully operational and the captain would be on the bridge.
That sudden call to battle would give every man a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach, knowing that a prowling U-boat had penetrated the screen of defensive warships.
Primitive sonars would sonically pulse the water, depth charges would be dropped over the side and the cat-and-mouse warfare between destroyer and U-boat would be underway — though the outcome would remain uncertain.

A Navy recruitment poster.
Credit...National Archives
A depth charge exploded near a Coast Guard-manned frigate off Rhode Island, as the Battle of the Atlantic came to an end in May 1945.
Credit...U.S. Coast Guard
The U.S.S. Fiske, broken in two by a torpedo from the German U-804 submarine in August 1944.
Credit...U.S. Navy
The Casablanca convoy moves eastward across the Atlantic, bound for Africa, circa 1942.
Credit...National Archives

What about the other side?
In many ways, for the German and Italian submariners, conditions were even worse.
Their boats were smellier with diesel fumes as well as smaller, their food was scarcer and the lack of at least a glimpse of the sea induced an ongoing, terrifying claustrophobia.
With far smaller crews, manning the ship was essentially a 24/7 job, with all hands always on deck. Allied weapons and sensors improved steadily, and the surface ships could use depth charges, explosive mortar rounds and even surface guns against the U-boats once the vital element of surprise was lost.
The possibility of plunging to the bottom of the sea while still alive, locked into what amounted to a steel coffin as the deepwater pressure crushed the hull, was the stuff of nightmares — yet for those U-boat crews it was all too often how they died.
Many hundreds of the boats were lost over the course of the campaign, with a staggering 75 percent casualty rate.

On both sides, it was the leadership of the captains that kept the crews on task, day after day and night after night.
A ship’s captain is deeply and personally responsible for every man and woman on the ship, and that level of command creates an unfathomable sense of pressure that hangs on your back like a heavy weight.
I felt that way for my crew, even in the relatively less dangerous years of the Cold War.
What those young captains felt during World War II would have been an acute sense of foreboding and danger hard to imagine today.

In his brilliant and tragic novel about the Battle of the Atlantic, “The Cruel Sea,” Nicholas Monsarrat talks about the qualities of the captain of a fictional British corvette called the Compass Rose.
“The captain carried them all.
For him, there was no fixed watch, no time set aside when he was free to relax and, if he could, to sleep,” he wrote. “He was strong, calm, uncomplaining and wonderfully dependable. That was the sort of captain to have.”

Not every real-life crew had a captain like that, but those who did were far more likely to succeed in the face of bone-grinding, exhausting and dangerous work — a task that in the end was the hinge upon which the great door of victory would finally swing.

The Battle of the Atlantic was, as the Duke of Wellington said about the desperately close Battle of Waterloo, a “nearest-run thing.”
By early May 1945, the battle saw its last actions, and the remaining U-boats were surrendered.
The sailors had earned the crucial victory they delivered, though only after a brutal toll was exacted, with about 3,500 Allied merchant ships sunk and 72,200 Allied deaths.
In the end, the battle was key to defeating Nazi Germany and assuring an Allied victory in Europe.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

We just spent two weeks surveying the Great Barrier Reef. What we saw was an utter traged

From The Conversation by Terry Hugues & Morgan Pratchett

The Australian summer just gone will be remembered as the moment when human-caused climate change struck hard.
First came drought, then deadly bushfires, and now a bout of coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef – the third in just five years.
Tragically, the 2020 bleaching is severe and the most widespread we have ever recorded.

Coral bleaching at regional scales is caused by spikes in sea temperatures during unusually hot summers.
The first recorded mass bleaching event along Great Barrier Reef occurred in 1998, then the hottest year on record.

Since then we’ve seen four more mass bleaching events – and more temperature records broken – in 2002, 2016, 2017, and again in 2020.

This year, February had the highest monthly sea surface temperatures ever recorded on the Great Barrier Reef since the Bureau of Meteorology’s records began in 1900.

The Great Barrier Reef has experienced the third mass coral bleaching event in five years.

Not a pretty picture

We surveyed 1,036 reefs from the air during the last two weeks in March, to measure the extent and severity of coral bleaching throughout the Great Barrier Reef region.
Two observers, from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, scored each reef visually, repeating the same procedures developed during early bleaching events.

The accuracy of the aerial scores is verified by underwater surveys on reefs that are lightly and heavily bleached.
While underwater, we also measure how bleaching changes between shallow and deeper reefs.

Of the reefs we surveyed from the air, 39.8% had little or no bleaching (the green reefs in the map).
However, 25.1% of reefs were severely affected (red reefs) – that is, on each reef more than 60% of corals were bleached.
A further 35% had more modest levels of bleaching.

Bleaching isn’t necessarily fatal for coral, and it affects some species more than others.
A pale or lightly bleached coral typically regains its colour within a few weeks or months and survives.

The 2020 coral bleaching event was the second-worst in more than two decades.
ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies

But when bleaching is severe, many corals die.
In 2016, half of the shallow water corals died on the northern region of the Great Barrier Reef between March and November.
Later this year, we’ll go underwater to assess the losses of corals during this most recent event.

Compared to the four previous bleaching events, there are fewer unbleached or lightly bleached reefs in 2020 than in 1998, 2002 and 2017, but more than in 2016.
Similarly, the proportion of severely bleached reefs in 2020 is exceeded only by 2016.
By both of these metrics, 2020 is the second-worst mass bleaching event of the five experienced by the Great Barrier Reef since 1998.

The unbleached and lightly bleached (green) reefs in 2020 are predominantly offshore, mostly close to the edge of the continental shelf in the northern and southern Great Barrier Reef.
However, offshore reefs in the central region were severely bleached again.
Coastal reefs are also badly bleached at almost all locations, stretching from the Torres Strait in the north to the southern boundary of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

For the first time, severe bleaching has struck all three regions of the Great Barrier Reef – the northern, central and now large parts of the southern sectors.
The north was the worst affected region in 2016, followed by the centre in 2017.

In 2020, the cumulative footprint of bleaching has expanded further, to include the south.
The distinctive footprint of each bleaching event closely matches the location of hotter and cooler conditions in different years.

Poor prognosis

Of the five mass bleaching events we’ve seen so far, only 1998 and 2016 occurred during an El Niño – a weather pattern that spurs warmer air temperatures in Australia.

But as summers grow hotter under climate change, we no longer need an El Niño to trigger mass bleaching at the scale of the Great Barrier Reef.
We’ve already seen the first example of back-to-back bleaching, in the consecutive summers of 2016 and 2017.
The gap between recurrent bleaching events is shrinking, hindering a full recovery.

For the first time, severe bleaching has struck all three regions of the Great Barrier Reef. 
ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies

After five bleaching events, the number of reefs that have escaped severe bleaching continues to dwindle.
Those reefs are located offshore, in the far north and in remote parts of the south.

The Great Barrier Reef will continue to lose corals from heat stress, until global emissions of greenhouse gasses are reduced to net zero, and sea temperatures stabilise.
Without urgent action to achieve this outcome, it’s clear our coral reefs will not survive business-as-usual emissions.

Researchers are using a technology solution called Fluid Lensing to study coral reefs and help better understand reef ecosystems.

Links :

Monday, April 13, 2020

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Whitbread Round the World Race official films

Like so many great adventure stories, this one started in a pub, with a conversation between the Royal Naval Sailing Association and the head of the Whitbread Brewery.
Within a year or so, 17 crews were on the start line off Portsmouth, UK, for the first Whitbread Round the World Race in September 1973.
From that was born one of the greatest sporting events in the world. Check out the story of the first edition of what we now know as The Ocean Race.

The second edition of the Whitbread Round the World Race cemented the race's place as a fixture and pillar event in the sport of sailing.
Dutchman Conny van Rietschoten would claim the race on corrected time in Flyer, a Sparksman and Stephens design that can still be seen sailing today.
Clare Francis became the first woman to skipper a boat in the race and Sir Peter Blake made his race debut as one of the crew on board Heath's Condor, and was forced to make a spectacular man overboard rescue in the Southern Ocean.
15 boats would start the race in Portsmouth and all 15 completed the four-leg, 27,000 nautical mile course.

Conny van Rietschoten returned to the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1981-82 determined not just to defend his title but to win both line honours on every leg, and the overall race on handicap. Impressively, with his Flyer II, he was able to accomplish just that.
He also had some young and impressive young talent on board to help him on his quest, including Grant Dalton, who would go on to become an icon of the race in his own right, while Sir Peter Blake skippered his own campaign for the first time.

The French take the win.
Lionel Péan would skipper L'esprit d'équipe to victory over 14 other teams, marking the first time a French team would win the race.
But this race is perhaps best remembered for when Drum lost her keel and capsized during training in the Fastnet Race, with Duran Duran singer Simon Le Bon on board.
Other famous names were involved in this race, with Sir Peter Blake back for a fourth time with Lion New Zealand and this is when a spirited and determined Tracy Edwards would make her debut before launching her celebrated Maiden campaign for the following race.

What do you think's changed, and what's stayed the same?