Saturday, May 8, 2021

Reynisfjara black sand beach, the most famous beach on the South Coast of Iceland


Reynisfjara is the most famous beach on the South Coast of Iceland.
 
Localization with the GeoGarage platform (Icelandic nautical raster chart)
 
Its beautiful black sand, powerful waves, and the nearby Reynisdrangar sea stacks make Reynisfjara a truly unique place to visit and a popular filming location (Game of Thrones, Star Wars and more).
Reynisfjara Beach is one of the most well-known black sanded beach in the whole world.
This is a place of wild and dramatic beauty where the roaring waves of the Atlantic Ocean power ashore with tremendous force.
 
In 1991, Reynisfjara appeared on the top ten list of the most beautiful non-tropical beaches in the world, and it is very easy to see why it was chosen!
It is said that to stand on Reynisfjara Beach is akin to being in a natural amphitheater where the white water of the Atlantic waves provides the drama.
At any time of year, and in any light, this is a place of great beauty which will remind people that they can never be far from the powerful forces of nature which shaped the island of Iceland.
Marvel at the power of the ocean but do not stand too close – those masterful waves deserve your respect and can be quite dangerous if you get too close! 

Friday, May 7, 2021

This map is alive with the beauty of lighthouse signals

At night, the rims of the North Sea flicker and flash with a multitude of light signals to guide ships to safety.
Credit: Geodienst – Lights at Sea


From BigThink by Frank Jacobs

The unique light signatures of nautical beacons translate into hypnotic cartography.
  • Many of the world's 23,000 lighthouses feature a distinct combination of color, frequency, and range.
  • These unique light signatures help ships verify their positions and safeguard maritime traffic.
  • But they also translate into this map, visualizing the ingenuity and courage of lighthouse builders and keepers.
Land and sea are both shaded dark, so it's a bit hard at first to make out that this collection of merrily blinking lights is actually a map.
Once the coastal contours pop, though, all becomes clear: these are lighthouses!


At night, the Eastern Mediterranean is awash with lighthouse signals.
Credit: Geodienst – Lights at Sea

The Age of Big Data

The map not only shows where they are, but how they are: static or blinking in various colors with the size of the circles corresponding to the range of their lights.

Up until the 20th century, a map of lighthouses would have been a subdued affair: just a string of dots strung along lines of coast. But this is the 21st century!
We're in the Age of Big Data, ruled by the clever boffins who know how to stitch one dataset to another. Zap it with electricity and presto: it's alive!

That's what the folks did over at Geodienst, the spatial expertise center of the University of Groningen (Netherlands). Back in 2018, student/assistant Jelmer van der Linde (currently with the University of Edinburgh) came across OpenSeaMap, an open-source resource for nautical information similar to its more famous landlubber cousin, OpenStreetMap.

OpenSeaMap contained a database with detailed information on nautical beacons and lighthouses, which included not just their location, but also the frequency, range, and even the color of their signals. Would it be possible to visualize all those data points on a map?
Yes, it would!


Norway's craggy coastline requires lots of light.
Not that much blinking going on, though.
Credit: Geodienst – Lights at Sea

The result is this riot of a map. It's important that ships don't mistake one lighthouse for another.
That's why they come in various colors and their lights flicker with a distinct frequency.
Norway in particular is lit up with beacons and lighthouses, as its fjord-indented coast warrants. And the rest of Europe is well provided with nautical warning lights.

However, while the map is reminiscent of other global traffic trackers for flights (like Flightradar24 or FlightAware) or shipping (such as VesselFinder or MarineTraffic), it is neither live nor global.
The flickering lights aren't a real-time report; they merely repeat the code in the original database. And that database is incomplete.

Zoom out, and the map gets a bit too dark.
According to the Lighthouse Directory, there are at least 23,000 lighthouses in the world.
And even though the United States has more lighthouses than any other nation700 by some counts – the map only shows a handful of lights in North America.

Like its parent, the lighthouse map is open source too, so if anyone out there is capable of filling in the gaps, they can.
Lighthouse enthusiasts, get to it!

Not one yet yourself?
Below are 10 lighthouse facts to help you come over to the light side.

Now you see them, now you don't.
Credit: Geodienst – Lights at Sea

Trapped in a giant phallus and other true facts about lighthouses

  1. The world's smallest lighthouse is the North Queensferry Light Tower, near the Forth Bridge in Scotland. A mere 16 feet (5 m) tall, it was built in 1817 by Robert Stevenson, famous builder of lighthouses, as was his son Thomas, who was the father of the famous novelist Robert Louis Stevenson.
  2. Reaching a height of 436 ft (133 m), Jeddah Light in Saudi Arabia is the world's tallest lighthouse.
  3. The 2019 movie The Lighthouse, starring Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson, was based on a true incident, known as the Smalls Lighthouse Tragedy. In 1801, a storm trapped two Welsh lighthouse keepers, both named Thomas, in their lighthouse. One died, the other went mad. Asked to summarize his film, writer/director Robert Eggers said, "Nothing good can happen when two men are trapped alone in a giant phallus."
  4. From its inauguration in 1886 until 1901, the Statue of Liberty also served as a lighthouse. Its nine electric arc lamps, located in the torch, could be seen 24 miles out to sea.
  5. All U.S. lighthouses are now automated – save for Boston Light, the oldest continually used lighthouse in the country. For historical reasons, Congress has decided it shall remain staffed year-round.
  6. Hook Lighthouse, on Hook Head in Ireland's County Wexford, claims to be the world's oldest lighthouse still in use. It was first built by a medieval lord in the early decades of the 13th century.
  7. The Tower of Hercules in La Coruña, Spain has a slightly better claim. It was built by the Romans in the 1st century AD and still functions as a lighthouse.
  8. Stannard Rock Lighthouse is also known as "the loneliest place in the world." It is located in Lake Superior, Michigan. At 24 miles (39 km) from shore, it is the most remote lighthouse in the U.S. and one of the most remote in the world. It opened in 1883 and was staffed for parts of the year until 1962.
  9. A lighthouse on Märket is the reason for the weird border on the island, divided between Sweden and Finland. In 1885, the Finns built a lighthouse on the highest part of the island – on the Swedish half. Thanks to a complicated land swap, the lighthouse is back on the Finnish side.
  10. In the United States, August 7 is National Lighthouse Day.
Robert Pattinson (left) and Willem Dafoe in The Lighthouse.  
Credit: © 2019 A24 Films, via IMDB

Links :

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Revealed: 2,000 refugee deaths linked to illegal EU pushbacks


Migrant rescue patrol in the Aegean Sea by the Turkish coastguard.
A case has been filed against the Greek state that claims patrol boats towed migrants back to Turkish waters and abandoned them.
Photograph: Erdem Şahin/EPA

From The Guardian by Lorenzo Tondo

A Guardian analysis finds EU countries used brutal tactics to stop nearly 40,000 asylum seekers crossing borders


EU member states have used illegal operations to push back at least 40,000 asylum seekers from Europe’s borders during the pandemic, linked to the death of more than 2,000 people, the Guardian can reveal.

In one of the biggest mass expulsions in decades, European countries, supported by EU’s border agency Frontex, systematically pushed back refugees, including children fleeing from wars, in their thousands, using illegal tactics ranging from assault to brutality during detention or transportation.

The Guardian’s analysis is based on reports released by UN agencies, combined with a database of incidents collected by non-governmental organisations.
According to charities, with the onset of Covid-19, the regularity and brutality of pushback practices has grown.

The findings come as the EU’s anti-fraud watchdog, Olaf, has launched an investigation into Frontex over allegations of harassment, misconduct and unlawful operations aimed at stopping asylum seekers from reaching EU shores.

According to the International Organization for Migration, in 2020 almost 100,000 immigrants arrived in Europe by sea and by land compared with nearly 130,000 in 2019 and 190,000 in 2017.

Since January 2020, despite the drop in numbers, Italy, Malta, Greece, Croatia and Spain have accelerated their hardline migration agenda.
Since the introduction of partial or complete border closures to halt the outbreak of coronavirus, these countries have paid non-EU states and enlisted private vessels to intercept boats in distress at sea and push back passengers into detention centres.
There have been repeated reports of people being beaten, robbed, stripped naked at frontiers or left at sea.

In 2020 Croatia, whose police patrol the EU’s longest external border, have intensified systemic violence and pushbacks of migrants to Bosnia.
The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) recorded nearly 18,000 migrants pushed back by Croatia since the start of the pandemic.
Over the last year and a half, the Guardian has collected testimonies of migrants who have allegedly been whipped, robbed, sexually abused and stripped naked by members of the Croatian police.
Some migrants said they were spray-painted with red crosses on their heads by officers who said the treatment was the “cure against coronavirus”.

According to an annual report released on Tuesday, the Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN), a coalition of 13 NGOs documenting illegal pushbacks in the western Balkans, abuse and disproportionate force was present in nearly 90% of testimonies in 2020 collected from Croatia, a 10% increase on 2019.

In April, the Guardian revealed how a woman from Afghanistan was allegedly sexually abused and held at knifepoint by a Croatian border police officer during a search of migrants on the border with Bosnia.

“Despite the European Commission’s engagement with Croatian authorities in recent months, we have seen virtually no progress, neither on investigations of the actual reports, nor on the development of independent border monitoring mechanisms,” said Nicola Bay, DRC country director for Bosnia.
“Every single pushback represents a violation of international and EU law – whether it involves violence or not.”

Since January 2020, Greece has pushed back about 6,230 asylum seekers from its shores, according to data from BVMN. The report stated that in 89% of the pushbacks, “BVMN has observed the disproportionate and excessive use of force.
This alarming number shows that the use of force in an abusive, and therefore illicit, way has become a normality […]

“Extremely cruel examples of police violence documented in 2020 included prolonged excessive beatings (often on naked bodies), water immersion, the physical abuse of women and children, the use of metal rods to inflict injury.”

In testimonies, people described how their hands were tied to the bars of cells and helmets put on their heads before beatings to avoid visible bruising.

A lawsuit filed against the Greek state in April at the European court of human rights accused Athens of abandoning dozens of migrants in life rafts at sea, after some had been beaten.
The case claims that Greek patrol boats towed migrants back to Turkish waters and abandoned them at sea without food, water, lifejackets or any means to call for help.

BVMN said: “Whether it be using the Covid-19 pandemic and the national lockdown to serve as a cover for pushbacks, fashioning open-air prisons, or preventing boats from entering Greek waters by firing warning shots toward boats, the evidence indicates the persistent refusal to uphold democratic values, human rights and international and European law.”

According to UNHCR data, since the start of the pandemic, Libyan authorities – with Italian support since 2017, when Rome ceded responsibility for overseeing Mediterranean rescue operations to Libya – intercepted and pushed back to Tripoli about 15,500 asylum seekers.
The controversial strategy has caused the forced return of thousands to Libyan detention centres where, according to first hand reports, they face torture.
Hundreds have drowned when neither Libya nor Italy intervened.

 
SOS Méditerranée operates the Ocean Viking, one of the few remaining NGO rescue boats in the Mediterranean
Photograph: Flavio Gasperini/SOS Mediterranee

“In 2020 this practice continued, with an increasingly important role being played by Frontex planes, sighting boats at sea and communicating their position to the Libyan coastguard,” said Matteo de Bellis, migration researcher at Amnesty International. “
So, while Italy at some point even used the pandemic as an excuse to declare that its ports were not safe for the disembarkation of people rescued at sea, it had no problem with the Libyan coastguard returning people to Tripoli. Even when this was under shelling or when hundreds were forcibly disappeared immediately after disembarkation.”

In April, Italy and Libya were accused of deliberately ignoring a mayday call from a migrant boat in distress in Libyan waters, as waves reached six metres.
A few hours later, an NGO rescue boat discovered dozens of bodies floating in the waves.
That day 130 migrants were lost at sea.

In April, in a joint investigation with the Italian Rai News and the newspaper Domani, the Guardian saw documents from Italian prosecutors detailing conversations between two commanders of the Libyan coastguard and an Italian coastguard officer in Rome.
The transcripts appeared to expose the non-responsive behaviour of the Libyan officers and their struggling to answer the distress calls which resulted in hundreds of deaths.
At least five NGO boats remain blocked in Italian ports as authorities claim administrative reasons for holding them.

Malta, which declared its ports closed early last year, citing the pandemic, has continued to push back hundreds of migrants using two strategies: enlisting private vessels to intercept asylum seekers and force them back to Libya or turning them away with directions to Italy.

“Between 2014 and 2017, Malta was able to count on Italy to take responsibility for coordinating rescues and allowing disembarkations,” said De Bellis.
“But when Italy and the EU withdrew their ships from the central Mediterranean, to leave it in Libya’s hands, they left Malta more exposed. In response, from early 2020 the Maltese government used tactics to avoid assisting refugees and migrants in danger at sea, including arranging unlawful pushbacks to Libya by private fishing boats, diverting boats rather than rescuing them, illegally detaining hundreds of people on ill-equipped ferries off Malta’s waters, and signing a new agreement with Libya to prevent people from reaching Malta.”

Last May, a series of voice messages obtained by the Guardian confirmed the Maltese government’s strategy to use private vessels, acting at the behest of its armed forces, to intercept crossings and return refugees to Libyan detention centres.

In February 2020, the European court of human rights was accused of “completely ignoring the reality” after it ruled Spain did not violate the prohibition of collective expulsion, as asylum applications could be made at the official border crossing point.
Relying on this judgment, Spain’s constitutional court upheld “border rejections” provided certain safeguards apply.

Last week, the bodies of 24 migrants from sub-Saharan Africa were found by Spain’s maritime rescue. They are believed to have died of thirst and hunger while attempting to reach the Canary Islands.
In 2020, according to the UNHCR, 788 migrants died trying to reach Spain.

The Guardian has approached Frontex for comment.
Previously the agency has said it will be “co-operating fully” with Olaf.
 
Links:

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

What is an 'internal wave'? It might explain the loss of an Indonesian submarine

An image taken by NASA's Aqua satellite as it passes over Indonesia, captures evidence of an internal wave in the same general area where the KRI Nanggala submarine disappeared earlier this month.Jeff Schmaltz/, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC
 
From NPR by Scott Neuman 
 
No official cause has yet been established for the destruction of an Indonesian submarine with 53 people aboard earlier this month, but some speculation has zeroed in on an undersea phenomenon which has been noted by submariners since at least World War II, though it has become better understood only in recent decades.

A senior Indonesian navy official suggested earlier this week that an "internal wave" may have pushed the KRI Nanggala 402 below its crush depth, causing the loss of the vessel and all aboard.
He cited satellite images showing the presence of such a wave in the area at about the time the sub disappeared.
 
Such waves — while seldom noticed by observers on the surface — can reach dizzying undersea heights and therefore cause concern for submarines, scientists say.
They are generated by the interplay of strong tides, warmer and cooler ocean layers and the undersea geography.
 

Internal tides, or internal waves, can reach hundreds of feet underneath the ocean surface, but might only be a few inches high on the surface.
Even though they’re underwater, NASA can see these tides from satellites.
They provide oceanographers with a unique way to map and study the much larger internal water motion.
 
Internal waves occur in specific ocean regions around the world – places such as the Strait of Gibraltar that links the Mediterranean with the Atlantic Ocean, parts of the Western Pacific and the South China Sea.
They are also known to exist in the Lombok Strait area in Indonesia, where the Nanggala was lost.

Matthew Alford, the associate director of the Marine Physical Laboratory at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, says that the U.S., China and Russia "have spent a lot of money" studying internal waves in the South China Sea because of their potential impact on naval operations in the strategic waterway.

"[I]nternal waves are very strong and are a hazard because they sweep ocean layers (and potentially anything in them including divers or subs) downwards hundreds of meters in just a few minutes," Alford says in an email to NPR.
"Lombok Strait is also a known region of strong internal waves," Alford, who researches the phenomenon, says.
Though he has never before heard of an internal wave sinking a submarine, it is a "plausible" scenario, Alford says.
 
A photo released on Sunday by the Indonesian navy shows parts of submarine KRI Nanggala that sank in the Bali Sea. Officials now speculate that the loss of the sub could have been caused by an internal wave.
Indonesian Navy/AP

A 1966 study by the U.S. Navy noted that "The passage of large-amplitude internal waves could make submarine depth control difficult, particularly when the submarine is running quietly at low speed."
The report, titled Internal Waves: Their Influence Upon Naval Operations, added that such waves "could initiate uncontrollable sinking of a submarine."

In World War II, submariners avoided the Strait of Gibraltar partly because they were aware of its reputation for propagating unusual undersea waves that were considered hazardous, David Farmer, a physical oceanographer at the University of Rhode Island, told USA Today in 2014.
 

Internal waves in the Strait of Gibraltar. Computer Graphics Animation of the outputs of a numerical model run in the Strait of Gibraltar showing the phenomenon of the internal waves produced by tides. Physical Oceanography Group University of Málaga (Spain)
 
At the height of the Cold War in 1984, a Soviet submarine that was apparently running beneath a tanker to mask its exit from the Strait suddenly smashed into the tanker's hull, causing damage to both vessels and forcing the submarine to surface.
The collision is thought to have been caused by an internal wave that unexpectedly thrust the submarine toward the surface.

Maarten Buijsman, a marine scientist at the University of Southern Mississippi, agrees that it's possible that an internal wave could have caused the sinking of the Nanggala.
"Some internal waves can have large amplitudes and they can displace submarines," he says.

The waves "are generated over steep topography due to the surface tides," he tells NPR. "In the South China Sea, internal wave amplitudes can be about 100 meters (330 feet)."

In the case of the Nanggala, what happened may have been the exact opposite of what occurred with the Soviet submarine in the Strait of Gibraltar in the 1980s – instead of an internal wave causing the submarine to hurtle toward the surface, the Indonesian vessel may have been pushed much deeper than it was designed to safely operate.

The Nanggala's demise is still under investigation. According to Indonesian Adm. Yudo Margono, the vessel was located in at least three pieces on the ocean floor at a depth of nearly 840 meters (2,750 feet) — far deeper than the submersible's "collapse depth" of 200 meters (655 feet).
 
An internal wave is just one possible explanation for the destruction of the German-built diesel-powered submarine.
Although it underwent a refit in South Korea that was completed in 2012, it was an old boat — having gone into service with the Indonesian navy in the early 1980s.

Nanggala was also reportedly preparing for a torpedo exercise at the time radio contact was lost — and torpedo accidents have been the cause of some high-profile submarine losses in the past.
In August 2000, an explosion of a torpedo in a tube aboard the Russian submarine Kursk set off the other torpedoes, causing the sub to go down in the Barents Sea, with all 118 of its crew, according to an official investigation.

Decades earlier, in 1968, the nuclear-powered USS Scorpion was lost with its 99 crew.
The cause of the Scorpion's sinking has never been conclusively proved, but one theory suggests that the submarine succumbed to a "hot-run" torpedo that unexpectedly became active while still in its tube.

During a media briefing in Jakarta earlier this week, Rear Adm. Iwan Isnurwanto, himself a former submariner, painted a grim picture of KRI Nanggala's final moments.
If it was an internal wave, he said, "that would be nature we are up against."
"We would be dragged by the waves, sending us to a quick descent," he said, adding, "No one can fight nature."
 
Links :

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

'The heat bombs' destroying Arctic Sea Ice


Pockets of warm water from the Pacific Ocean are entering the Arctic Ocean, accelerating the melt of sea ice. An international team of researchers led by Scripps Oceanography made unprecedented measurements of the physical and biological changes this incursion has brought about.

From Scripps by Robert Monroe


Unprecedented observations could revise forecasts of melt in polar ocean

A team led by physical oceanographers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego shows in a new study how plumes of warm water are flowing into the Arctic Ocean from the Pacific Ocean and accelerating sea ice melt from below.

The research primarily funded by the Office of Naval Research describes so-called underwater “heat bombs” as one of many mechanisms by which global warming-driven encroachment is changing the nature of the Arctic Ocean faster than nearly any other place on Earth.
It adds to a growing body of evidence that suggests that Arctic sea ice, a source of global climate stability, could disappear for larger portions of the year.

“The rate of accelerating sea ice melt in the Arctic has been hard to predict accurately, in part because of all of the complex local feedbacks between ice, ocean and atmosphere; this work showcases the large role in warming that ocean water plays as part of those feedbacks,” said Jennifer MacKinnon, a physical oceanographer at Scripps, chief scientist of the expedition, and lead author of the paper.
 
The study appears today in the journal Nature Communications.

The Arctic is an unusual ocean in that it is stratified – or layered – by salinity instead of temperature.
Most oceans of the world have warmer, lighter water near the surface and colder, denser water below.
In the Arctic, however, there is a surface layer that is cold but very fresh, influenced by river outflow and accelerating ice melt.
Warm, relatively salty water enters from the Pacific Ocean through the Bering Strait and then the Barrow Canyon off Alaska’s northern coast, which acts as a nozzle as the water flows through the narrow passage.

Because this water is saltier than the Arctic surface water, it is dense enough to “subduct,” or dive beneath, the fresh Arctic surface layer.
Its movement creates pockets of very warm water that lurk below surface waters.
Scientists have been seeing these pockets of warm sub-surface water strengthen over the last decade.

SODA researchers gather on deck of R/V Sikuliaq.
Photo: Jim Thomson


These pockets known as “heat bombs'' are just stable enough to be able to last for months or years, swirling far north beneath the main ice pack near the north pole, and destabilizing that ice as the heat in them gradually but steadily diffuses upwards to melt the ice.
Until now, though, the process by which the warm water subducts has neither been observed nor understood.
Without that understanding, climate scientists have been unable to include this important effect in forecast models, some of which under-predict accelerating sea ice melt rates.
Given that the influx of warm Pacific origin water has been growing over the past decade or so, this work adds to a growing body of evidence that Arctic sea ice, a source of global climate stability, could disappear for large portions of the year.

 
Researchers deploy a Fast CTD developed at Scripps Oceanography during the 2018 SODA cruise in the Arctic Ocean.
Photo: San Nguyen


In a 2018 expedition funded by the US Office of Naval Research, scientists for the first time caught one of these dramatic subduction events in the act.
The group used a combination of novel oceanographic instruments developed by the Multiscale Ocean Dynamics group at Scripps, satellite observations analyzed by colleagues at the University of Miami, profiling float data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, biological samples collected by British and German colleagues working in a project known as Changing Arctic Ocean, and detailed data analysis by colleagues at several other institutions.

“The group’s success highlights the new perspectives we can see on the natural world when we look at it in new ways,” said Scripps oceanographer Matthew Alford.
“This detailed view of the complicated processes governing Arctic heat transport would not have been possible without multiple simultaneous instrument suites, including remote sensing and custom shipboard and autonomous profilers developed at Scripps,” he said.

 
A SWIFT drifter developed by University of Washington researcher Jim Thomson is deployed during the 2018 SODA cruise to the Arctic Ocean.
Photo: San Nguyen


Instruments from the Scripps Multiscale Ocean Dynamics group include a custom-built “Fast CTD” sensor that makes very rapid profiles from the ship, and an autonomous “Wirewalker” that uses power from ocean waves to drive profiling measurements.
These instruments allow scientists to obtain high-resolution images of complex ocean processes, and to thus better understand how they work in detail.

This work also highlights the importance of collaboration across multiple institutions, between several US funding agencies, and with international partners; the depth of insight achieved here arises from the diversity of tools and perspectives that those collaborations bring.

Collaborative work with scientists in the United Kingdom and Germany shows that this warm sub-surface water also carries unique biogeochemical properties into the Arctic.
This mix of organisms and chemicals is expected to have important implications for the changing Arctic ecosystem.


Monday, May 3, 2021

Apple sued over iPhone warranty issues and water resistance claims



From AppleInsider by Malcom Owen

Apple is being sued in New York in an attempted class-action complaint over water resistance, with the claim it misrepresented how resistant to liquid the iPhone is in its marketing.

Like many smartphone manufacturers, Apple includes a level of water resistance in its iPhone lineup, with the claimed level of resistance increasing in recent years.
There have also been stories where iPhones dropped in lakes are retrieved months later in working order, even without any extra water protection.

However, a lawsuit filed on Saturday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York claims Apple is overstating the water-resistive capabilities of its hardware.

Listed as a "class action complaint" and with Antoinette Smith listed as the plaintiff "on behalf of all others similarly situated," the 13-page filing takes aim at Apple's references to water resistance.
For example, the iPhone 7 was marketed as having "IP67" protection, offering maximum water resistance to a depth of 1 meter (3.3 feet) for up to 30 minutes.

For the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max, Apple labels them as rated to IP68, but with an enhanced claim of surviving depths of up to 4 meters (13.1 feet) for up to 30 minutes.
The iPhone 12 pushes the claim even further, at 6 meters (19.7 feet) for half an hour.

However, the lawsuit points out these are "insufficiently qualified by fine print disclaimers," with certification levels based on lab tests with static and pure water, unlike pool or sea water.
"This means that consumers who stand at the edge of a pool or ocean and whose devices are splashed or temporarily immersed, will be denied coverage, because the water contained chlorine or salt," the suit reads.

Furthermore, the warranty is said not to cover damage caused by liquids, usually signified by a liquid contact indicator turning red.

The suit says Apple's suggestion to rinse areas of an iPhone that have been in contact with common liquids, like juices or coffee, could introduce liquid in ways that could turn the indicator red.
It is alleged that this activity can be used to deny warranty coverage.

In the case of plaintiff Smith, who is described as a citizen of Bronx County, she is said to have bought the iPhone 8, which experienced contact with water "consistent with the IP rating of her device and consistent with how the water-resistant attributes were presented in the marketing and advertising of the device."
 

On trying to get the iPhone fixed by Apple, the company denied warranty coverage for the liquid damage.
This forced Smith to "incur financial loss through repair costs, decreased functionality, a lower re-sale value, and/or purchase of a new device."

It is claimed that the plaintiff wouldn't have bought the iPhone "in the absence of Defendant's misrepresentations and omissions," and also wouldn't have paid as much under the same situation. However, Smith still plans to purchase another iPhone, if she is assured that the water-resistance claims are consistent with "typical everyday usage of smartphone users, instead of based on controlled laboratory conditions." 


 In this ad, Apple claims that the iPhone 12 resists splashes of coffee, orange juice...
 
The suit claims its class consists of all iPhone buyers who live in the state of New York, with Apple allegedly breaching New York General Business Law's Consumer Protection Statute.

In demanding a jury trial, the suit's prayer for relief demands preliminary and injunctive relief by forcing Apple to correct its marketing, injunctive relief for restitution of class embers, monetary damages, costs and expenses to attorneys and experts, and any other relief granted by the court. 
 
This is not the first time Apple's water-resistance claims have come under fire.

In November 2020, the Italian Antitrust Authority fined Apple 10 million euro ($12 million) over claims it misled consumers by boasting of water resistance, yet refusing warranty coverage for liquid damage.

The fine is referenced in the lawsuit as evidence that Apple received complaints "by regulators, competitors, and consumers, to its main offices over the past several years" of the issue, making Apple aware that there's a problem to fix. 
 
Links :

Thousands of barrels of suspected toxic DDT found dumped in California ocean

Barrels and targets of interest were found in nearly all areas of the 36,000 acres surveyed and extended beyond dumpsite limits, which is roughly 12 miles offshore Los Angeles, and eight miles from Catalina Island. Credit: Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.
 
A heat map showing concentrations of targets detected in the San Pedro Basin.
There are several distinct track-line patterns in the surveyed area, suggesting that the dumping was repeatedly done from an underway platform such as a moving ship or barge.
Credit: Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. 
 
From The Guardian by AP
 
Extent of possible toxic waste site near Catalina Island ‘staggering’, says chief scientist on sea survey
 
 
In this 2011 image provided by the University of California Santa Barbara, a barrel sits on the seafloor near the coast of Catalina Island.
Photograph: David Valentine/AP
 
Marine scientists say they have found what they believe to be as many as 25,000 barrels possibly containing DDT dumped off the southern California coast near Catalina Island, where a massive underwater toxic waste site dating back to the second world war has long been suspected.

The 27,345 “barrel-like’” images were captured by researchers at the University of California San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
They mapped more than 36,000 acres of seafloor between Santa Catalina Island and the Los Angeles coast in a region previously found to contain high levels of the toxic chemical in sediments and in the ecosystem.

Historical shipping logs show that industrial companies in southern California used the basin as a dumping ground until 1972, when the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act, also known as the Ocean Dumping Act, was enacted.

Resting deep in the ocean, the exact location and extent of the dumping was not known until now.

The territory covered was “staggering”, said Eric Terrill, chief scientist of the expedition and director of the Marine Physical Laboratory at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Underwater drones using sonar technology captured high-resolution images of barrels resting 900 metres (3,000ft) below the surface all along the steep seafloor that was surveyed.
They also were seen beyond the dumpsite limits.

“It really was a surprise to everybody who’s worked with the data and who sailed at sea,” he told reporters on Monday.

The survey provides “a wide-area map” of the barrels, though it would be up to others to confirm through sediment sampling that the containers held DDT, Terrill said.
It is estimated between 320 and 640 tonnes of DDT were dumped in the area, 12 miles from Los Angeles, and 8 miles from Catalina Island.

The long-term impact on marine life and humans was still unknown, said Scripps chemical oceanographer and professor of geosciences Lihini Aluwihare, who in 2015 co-authored a study that found high amounts of DDT and other man-made chemicals in the blubber of bottlenose dolphins that died of natural causes.

“These results also raise questions about the continued exposure and potential impacts on marine mammal health, especially in light of how DDT has been shown to have multi-generational impacts in humans,” said Aluwihare, who was not part of the survey expedition.

Diana Aga, a chemistry professor at University at Buffalo who is not affiliated with the study, said the findings were shocking if the barrels were proven to contain the toxic chemical. 
“That’s a lot of DDT at the bottom of the ocean,” she said.

If the barrels had not leaked, they could be moved to a place where disposal was safer, Aga said.
If they leaked, scientists could take samples from the water, sediment and other marine life to gauge the damage.
 
Researchers on the research vessel Sally Ride deploy an autonomous underwater vehicle near Santa Catalina Island. Photograph: AP
 
Scientists conducted the survey from 10-24 March following a Los Angeles Times report last year about evidence that DDT was dumped into the ocean.
Terrill said: “Unfortunately, the basin offshore Los Angeles had been a dumping ground for industrial waste for several decades, beginning in the 1930s. We found an extensive debris field in the wide area survey.”

Scientists started the search where University of California Santa Barbara professor David Valentine had discovered concentrated accumulations of DDT in the sediments and spotted 60 barrels about a decade ago.

High levels of DDT have been detected in the area’s marine mammals, and the chemical has been linked to cancer in sea lions.

Scripps researchers say they hope their survey will support clean-up efforts.
The expedition on the Sally Ride research vessel included a team of 31 scientists, engineers, and crew conducting 24-hour operations and two autonomous underwater vehicles.

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Sunday, May 2, 2021

Image of the week : Isles of Scilly LIDAR picture

courtesy of @HughGraham (LIDAR DEM 1m)
 
visualization with the GeoGarage platform and Google Maps imagery (SHOM nautical raster chart)