Oceanography

The Norwegian government has revealed the architectural design for the Svalbard International Seed Vault, to be carved deep into frozen rock on an island not far from the North Pole. The entrance to the "fail-safe" seed vault will "gleam like a gem in the midnight sun," signaling a priceless treasure within: seed samples of nearly every food crop of every country. The vault is designed to protect the agricultural heritage of humankind -- the seeds essential to agriculture of every nation.


Artist's impression of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. (Image courtesy of Global Crop Diversity Trust )

According to a recent paper published by MBARI geologists and their colleagues, methane gas bubbling through seafloor sediments has created hundreds of low hills on the floor of the Arctic Ocean. These enigmatic features, which can grow up to 40 meters (130 feet) tall and several hundred meters across, have puzzled scientists ever since they were first discovered in the 1940s.


This conceptual drawing (not to scale) shows Paull's hypothesis that methane gas from deep hydrate deposits could push sediment up from below the ocean bottom to create a pingo-like feature. The gray lines in the background are from a seismic profile through one of these enigmatic features. (Image: Copyright 2007 MBARI)

The climate system, and in particular sea level, may be responding more quickly to rising carbon emissions than climate scientists have estimated with climate models.

An international team of climate scientists has cautioned against suggestions that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has previously overestimated the rate of climate change.

The team, from six institutions around the world, reviewed actual observations of carbon dioxide, temperature and sea level from 1990 to 2006 and compared them with projected changes for the same period.


CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research and Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC scientist, Dr. John Church.