Tags >> ocean
Nov 05
2009

Voyage of Discovery

Posted by Bruce Robinson in tourism , students , rights , religion , poverty , ocean , international , Ideas , Green , environment , education , coast , climate change , carbon

Bruce Robinson

There’s nothing like seeing other parts of the world first-hand to give one a different perspective on “home.” A Sonoma State professor who did just that last summer with his students in the international Semester at Sea program, reports back.

The Semester at Sea program offers educational voyages that go completely around the world, and shorter trips, such as the summer voyage in which Rocky Rohwedder participated. Rohwedder, a professor of Environmental Studies, explains how that was structured.

That sequence was set up to ease the touring students into new cultures, by beginning with western European nations that have much in common with the United States. But as they traveled eastward around the Mediterranean, Rohwedder recounts, the changes became more dramatic.

As he traveled, Rocky posted regular blog entries from the trip, with many photographs embedded. In this one, he is seen with his son Ryder, in a public marketplace in Fes, Morocco.

 

Click here to find out how to apply for a semester at sea.

Oct 05
2009

Jellyfish

Posted by Bruce Robinson in weather , ocean , fish , environment , California , animals

Bruce Robinson

There may be a lot of beached jellyfish on the sand along the coast these days, but that’s primarily  an indicator of a productive year for the strange and ancient creatures.

 

 

Jellyfish occur in many parts of the world, from the tropics to much cooler northern waters, but there are specific types that frequent the northern California coast, such as the "sea nettles" pictured here.

Carl Menard, Director of Aquatic Resources at the U.C.Davis Bodega Bay Marine Laboratory,  says the rich upwelling of nutrients the jellies have been feeding on is not indicative of a possible El Nino in the coming winter, but because of other factors, that can’t be ruled out altogether.

Two other common types of jellyfish often found along the North Coast are the Moon jellies (below left) and the valella valella, which has a sort of "sail" that can catch the breeze on the surface of the sea to propel it. But if it happens to catch on onshore wind, it may end up stranded on a beach.

Sep 29
2009

Bill McKibben and 350.org

Posted by Bruce Robinson in water , waste , technology , Santa Rosa , resources , policy , ocean , international , Ideas , events , environment , climate change , carbon , author , alternative energy , activism

Bruce Robinson

Global warming has moved from a looming problem to an imminent crisis, warns environmental writer Bill McKibben, and the international campaign to demand action rests on a simple three digit number.

The urgency that underscores the 350 campaign is tied to the newly realized effects of the well-documented one degree increase in the temperature of the world’s oceans. Noted environmental writer Bill McKibben says that until recently, it was believed that was not enough of a difference to trigger the cascading changes that are now being documented.

 

Even if humankind is successful in tempering the worse effects of global warming, McKibben says it will take generations to bring atmospheric carbon levels back down to 350 or less.

 

  Bill Mckibben is the author of The End of Nature and numerous other books on environmental issues, including the newly published Bill McKibben Reader. He’ll be talking about the 350 campaign  on Friday, October 2 at Sonoma County Day School in Santa Rosa.

 

 

Sep 15
2009

Sonoma Coast Wave Power

Posted by Bruce Robinson in West County , weather , water , technology , Sonoma County , resources , planning , ocean , fish , environment , design , conservation , community , coast , climate change , California , alternative energy

Bruce Robinson

Wave power off the Sonoma County coast is a potentially carbon-free source of electricity, but it faces big questions about environmental impacts and economic viability.

You can read more about the project on the Water Agency's website.The image at right shows one prototype of a low-profile generator which could be deployed in an array of dozens of individual units, as illustrated below, to power a sizable area.

The Sonoma County Water Agency's first informational meeting about the wave power studies was held in Gualala on September 9th. Most of the people there, reports Richard Charter, knew nothing about the project before that meeting.


Two other study projects on the Northern California coast have received permits from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), both issued before the Sonoma County Water Agency's application was approved. Cordell Stillman (left with Water Agency boss Randy Poole) says both sites were sought by PG&E, but other than that, they are quite different in status and approach.

While the entire concept of wave-generated electricity is in its very earliest stages, Richard Charter  (left) observes that it holds some benefits from an environmental perspective, but it is hardly a clear or easy solution to meeting future power needs.

 

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