Ecosystems

Biodiversity loss from deep-sea mining will be unavoidable
June 26, 2017 04:49 PM - Duke University

Biodiversity losses from deep-sea mining are unavoidable and possibly irrevocable, an international team of 15 marine scientists, resource economists and legal scholars argue in a letter published today in the journal Nature Geoscience.

The experts say the International Seabed Authority (ISA), which is responsible under the UN Law of the Sea for regulating undersea mining in areas outside national jurisdictions, must recognize this risk. They say it must also communicate the risk clearly to its member states and the public to inform discussions about whether deep-seabed mining should proceed, and if so, what standards and safeguards need to be put into place to minimize biodiversity loss.

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Accelerating rate of temperature rise in the Pyrenees
June 21, 2017 10:56 AM - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT)

In the past three decades, temperatures have risen by 2.5 °C in Spain, surpassing the European average of 0.95°C. Mountain ranges such as the Pyrenees are also subject to climate variations, however climate change does not affect all regions equally, hence the need for in-depth, long-term observation of these changes. 

In order to analyse this climate change in the Pyrenees, a team from Rovira i Virgili University’s Centre for Climate Change collected hundreds of climate series from meteorological observatories on the southern side of the Central Pyrenees and analysed the most complete and representative series from the area for the period 1910–2013. 

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SPOTLIGHT

Why the World's Rivers Are Losing Sediment and Why It Matters

Jim Robbins, YaleEnvironment360

Vast amounts of river-borne sediment are trapped behind the world’s large dams, depriving areas downstream of material that is badly needed to build up the marshes and wetlands that act as a buffer against rising seas.

In September 2011, after 20 years of planning, workers began dismantling the Elwha and Glines dams on the Elwha River in northwestern Washington state. At the time, it was the largest dam removal project in U.S. history, and it took nearly three years for both barriers to be dismantled and for the river to once again flow freely. 

Over the course of their nearly century-long lives, the two dams collected more than 24 million cubic yards of sediment behind them, enough to fill the Seattle Seahawks football stadium eight times. And since their removal, the Elwha has taken back the trapped sediment and distributed it downstream, causing the riverine ecosystem to be rebuilt and transformed. Massive quantities of silt, sand, and gravel have been carried to the coast, resurrecting a wetlands ecosystem long deprived of sediment.

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