1/10/2024: Could seaweed be the food of the post-apocalypse?

Seaweed could be a remarkably resilient food source in the aftermath of a massive volcanic eruption or nuclear event, either of which could devastate global food supplies, according to new Earth’s Future research. Credit: Marco Verch/flickr

AGU News

Ocean Sciences Meeting 2024 housing closes soon
Browse nearly 5,000 abstracts for #OSM24, held 18-23 February in New Orleans, and register with housing before the housing deadline on 24 January. [OSM24 scientific program][OSM24 press registration]

AGU23 live online poster discussion sessions coming 20-25 January
AGU’s 2023 annual meeting continues with discussion sessions for the 900 online-only poster presenters, accessible to registered press through the online conference platform. A free Vimeo account is required. [poster session schedule][AGU23 press event recordings][online conference platform][AGU23 advisories and press releases]

Featured Research

Polynya formation tied to calving at Pine Island Glacier
Polynyas are areas of open ocean encircled by sea ice that form because of heat emanating from the ocean. From 2000 to 2022, annual polynya formation varied, according to the first multi-decadal record of the features in Antarctica. The largest polynya, at 269 square kilometers, formed at the western edge of the Pine Island Glacier 68 days before a large calving event, suggesting a link. [Geophysical Research Letters research]

Low-income groups may see least health improvement from decarbonization
Reducing carbon emissions could also decrease the concentration of fine particulate pollution in the air, improving health outcomes, particularly in Asia, by 2050, a new study finds. Per the study’s models, all income groups would have health benefits, but low-income populations would experience the smallest improvements in air quality. [Earth’s Future research]

How do dams hurt fishies? Let me count the ways
A new review paper synthesizes dams’ physical impacts worldwide, focusing on keystone species across continents, and examines the successes and shortfalls of current fish conservation efforts. [Reviews of Geophysics research]

Record of ancient Turkey quakes suggests max magnitude of 8.2 for East Anatolian Fault
A paleoseismic investigation of the East Anatolian Fault system, which ruptured in the 6 February 2023 magnitude quake, identified 14 quakes of magnitude 7 or greater from 1000 CE onward in the region. An end-to-end rupture could result in a magnitude 8.2 quake, the researchers estimate. [Tectonics research]

Permafrost on Arctic lakebeds is thawing — even when below freezing
Thaw in saline permafrost can occur below 0° Celsius (32° Fahrenheit) because high salinity lowers the thawing point, as demonstrated by a case study in northern Alaska. Over 15 years, salty permafrost beneath a shallow lake  thawed, resulting in 60 centimeters of lake-level rise, a new study reports. [Geophysical Research Letters research]

Seaweed: food of the post-apocalypse?
Following a massive volcanic eruption or nuclear event, clouds may block out the sun’s light, leading to global cooling that would devastate agriculture. Seaweed would likely be remarkably resilient in such conditions and could be a reliable food source, once aquaculture ramped up, according to a new study. [Earth’s Future research][LSU press release]

Uncertainty abounds in seeding the sky to fight climate change
Some scientists have suggested injecting solid particles such as alumina, calcite and diamonds into the atmosphere to temporarily limit climate warming. But new research shows there are still big unknowns. [Eos research spotlight][Geophysical Research Letters research][AGU-led ethical framework for geoengineering research]

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