aeria -whale-survey

Annual aerial survey of southern right whales

The Mammal Research Institute’s Whale Unit (University of Pretoria) will be conducting their annual aerial survey of southern right whales from 29 September through to mid-October. This is the 38th consecutive annual survey and the resulting dataset is one of the longest such datasets available worldwide. This survey, flown in an Airbus H120 at an altitude of approximately 300m and some 500 to 800m offshore … Continue reading Annual aerial survey of southern right whales

The Great Benguela Current

  Ocean Currents The sea is subject to the transport of enormous masses of water moving continuously in one set direction. These large ‘rivers’ of water in the sea are ocean currents so important to the navigation of ships, the climatic conditions of continents and the fisheries of the maritime countries. The current systems of the sea may be grouped into (a) those produced by … Continue reading The Great Benguela Current

Clouds that look like ocean waves. What is it?

     Van Gogh clouds! Like breaking ocean waves. They are called Kelvin Helmholzt clouds, aka billow clouds or shear-gravity clouds    It’s widely believed that these waves in the sky inspired the swirls in Van Gogh’s masterpiece Starry Night. Here’s a special kind of cloud known to scientists as a Kelvin Helmholtz cloud. These clouds look like breaking ocean waves, with the rolling eddies … Continue reading Clouds that look like ocean waves. What is it?

Virga is rain that does not reach the ground

 The word virga is derived from Latin meaning “twig” or “branch”. We’ve all seen virga, but maybe not known what it’s called. Virga is rain that evaporates before it hits the ground. It often appears in streaks or shafts extending from the bottoms of clouds. You often see virga over a desert, where low humidity and high temperatures can cause rain to evaporate shortly after … Continue reading Virga is rain that does not reach the ground

Beached dead whales can alter the ocean’s carbon footprint

Decades of whaling and fishing for the largest species have altered the ability of oceans to store and sequester carbon. An individual whale contains a huge amount of carbon, an amount only exceeded by the largest trees, says Andrew Pershing, a research scientist at University of Maine. A century of whaling equates to burning more than 70 million acres of temperate forest or 28,000 SUVs … Continue reading Beached dead whales can alter the ocean’s carbon footprint