A vast bloom of toxic algae off the West Coast is denser, more widespread and deeper than scientists feared even weeks ago, according to surveyors aboard a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research vessel.
This coastal ribbon of microscopic algae, up to 64 kilometres wide and 200 metres deep in places, is flourishing amid unusually warm Pacific Ocean temperatures. It now stretches from at least California to Alaska and has shut down lucrative fisheries. Shellfish managers on Tuesday doubled the area off Washington’s coast that is closed to Dungeness crab fishing, after finding elevated levels of marine toxins in tested crab meat.
So-called “red tides” are cyclical and have happened many times before, but ocean researchers say this one is much larger and persisting much longer, with higher levels of neurotoxins bringing severe consequences for the Pacific seafood industry, coastal tourism and marine ecosystems.
Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, said the area now closed to crab fishing includes more than half the state’s 252-km-long coast, and likely will bring a premature end to this year’s coastal crab season.
“We think it’s just sitting and lingering out there,” said Anthony Odell, a University of Washington research analyst who is part of a NOAA-led team surveying the harmful algae bloom, which was first detected in May. “It’s farther offshore, but it’s still there.”
The survey data should provide a clearer picture of what is causing the bloom which is brownish in colour, unlike the blue and green algae found in polluted freshwater lakes. Marine detectives already have a suspect: a large patch of water running as much as 3 degrees centigrade warmer than normal in the northeast Pacific Ocean, nicknamed “the blob.”
The brownish bloom was particularly thick off the coast of Santa Barbara, California, and Odell said it was unusually dominated by one type of algae called Pseudo-nitzschia, which can produce the neurotoxin domoic acid.
Trainer said this bloom is the worst she’s seen in 20 years of studying them. Harmful algal blooms have usually been limited to one area of the ocean or another, and have disappeared after a few weeks. This one has grown for months, waxing and waning but never going away.
This is really unprecedented territory for us
“It’s been incredibly thick, almost all the same organism. Looks like a layer of hay,” said Raphael Kudela, a professor of ocean sciences at University of California, Santa Cruz.
The current bloom also involves some of the highest concentrations of domoic acid yet observed in Monterey Bay and other areas of the West Coast.
“It’s really working its way into the food web and we’re definitely seeing the impacts of that,” Kudela said, noting that sea lions are getting sick and pelicans are being exposed. And now that the Pacific is experiencing its periodic ocean warming known as El Nino, it may come back even stronger next year, he said.
Divine Eagle: How much of a threat is China's new high-flying drone to US air superiority? - Science - News - The Independent
When people think of stealth aircraft, they tend to picture the triangular black F-117 stealth fighter and B-2 bombers that penetrated Saddam Hussein's much-vaunted air defences at the start of both Gulf wars – or perhaps the troubled Lockheed F-35 Lightning stealth fighter programme on which the UK has gambled the future of its aircraft carriers. However, the Horten Ho 229 flying wing developed by the Nazis during the Second World War was probably the first. While the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird spy plane used some basic stealth technology, the great leap forward in stealth really occurred in the 1970s with the Lockheed Have Blue project to develop a stealth fighter. This programme led directly to the F-117 and B-2.
Thousands Of Christians, Trying To Escape Islamic Persecution, Are Being Persecuted In Thailand, And The World Is Silent! - Freedom Outpost
Thousands of Christians are fleeing Islamic persecution in Pakistan and going to Thailand, only to be further persecuted by the Thai government, and the world is silent on this evil.
The poor can't and don't escape, but the middle and upper classes flee to Thailand …[Back in Pakistan] they are doctors, lawyers, professors, politicians.
Pakistan's blasphemy law has been used in a way to target religious minorities… There has been violence perpetrated against people accused of blasphemy. When facing that kind of persecution, many have no choice but to leave.
Christians who have come to Thailand have stated that the refugee process is everything but convenient. Sunny Gil is one of them. He said that when he arrived in Thailand in August of 2013, he was given an appointment with the UNHCR for an interview in May 2015 to be assigned refugee status. But, when the time arrived for the interview, it was postponed for a year. Sunny Gil said:
We want to work and we want to earn and support our families on our own… But they're not giving us the opportunity for us to earn and not providing us basic human rights.