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
You can tell when rain is coming just by the smell The word for it is “petrichor.” It’s the name of an oil that’s released from Earth into the air before rain begins to fall. “Petrichor,” is used to describe the distinct scent of rain in the air. Or, to be more precise, it’s the name of an oil that’s released from the Earth into the … Continue reading What is the smell of rain?
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
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?
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
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