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Fast Company

MIT researchers have found that over the past two decades, the color of the world’s oceans has changed significantly, reports Talib Visram for Fast Company. The change “is likely due to human-induced climate change,” explains Visram. “The color shifts matter in that they signal changes in ecosystem balance, which have the power to disrupt fragile marine food webs.”

CNN

CNN reporter Jack Guy spotlights a new study co-authored by researchers at MIT, which shows that the ocean’s color has changed considerably over the last 20 years and human-caused climate change is likely responsible. “All changes are causing an imbalance in the natural organization of ecosystems,” says senior research scientist Stephanie Dutkiewicz. “Such imbalance will only get worse over time if our oceans keep heating.”

Popular Science

Researchers at MIT and elsewhere have discovered that the ocean’s hue has changed significantly over the last 20 years, reports Laura Baisas for Popular Science. “A shift in ocean color is an indication that ecosystems within the surface may also be changing,” writes Baisas. “While the team can’t point to exactly how marine ecosystems are changing to reflect the shift, they are quite sure that human-induced climate change is likely behind it.”

Bloomberg

A new study led by a team including researchers at MIT has found that more than half of the world’s ocean has changed color in the last 20 years, reports Coco Liu for Bloomberg. “The color shift could be caused by changes in plankton communities that are critical to the marine food chain,” writes Liu. “And biodiversity isn’t the only thing at stake: The shift could also affect how much carbon dioxide the ocean takes up, since different types of plankton have different abilities to absorb it."

Forbes

Researchers from MIT have developed a new satellite observation technique that can help gauge the strength of ancient rivers on Mars and active liquid methane rivers on Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, reports Jamie Carter for Forbes. “What’s exciting about Titan is that it’s active, and on Mars, it gives us a time machine, to take the rivers that are dead now and get a sense of what they were like when they were actively flowing,” says Prof. Taylor Perron. “With this technique, we have a method to make real predictions for a place where we won’t get more data for a long time.”

Gizmodo

Using a new satellite observation technique, researchers from MIT and elsewhere have determined the flow of dried-up rivers on Mars and currently active liquid methane rivers on Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. “Both kinds are of scientific interest because they could reveal the role rivers play in shaping the worlds’ environments,” reports Isaac Schultz for Gizmodo.

PBS

Researchers from Lincoln Laboratory and NASA are working on the TROPICS mission to study tropical cyclones, reports Bella Isaacs-Thomas for the PBS NewsHour. “Technology today — finally — allows us to miniaturize these satellites, fly a lot of them and get that temporal update that we’ve been wanting for so long,” explains Laboratory Fellow William Blackwell.

The Boston Globe

Boston Globe columnist Thomas Farragher spotlights how researchers from MIT’s Haystack Observatory have built an “ice penetrator,” a device designed to help scientists study how sea ice is changing. Chris Eckert, a mechanical engineer at Haystack, explains, “Global warming is a real thing and we need a new class of instrumentation and measurements to truly understand it.”

Al Jazeera America

Al Jazeera spotlights a study co-authored by postdoctoral associate Qian Li that finds that rapidly melting Antarctic ice is slowing down the flow of water through the world’s oceans and “could have a disastrous effect on global climate.”

The Guardian

A study co-authored by postdoctoral associate Qian Li has found that “melting ice around Antarctica will cause a rapid slowdown of a major global deep ocean current by 2050 that could alter the world’s climate for centuries and accelerate sea level rise,” reports Graham Readfearn for The Guardian.

Smithsonian Magazine

MIT scientists have uncovered evidence that wildfire smoke particles can lead to chemical reactions in the atmosphere that erode the ozone layer, reports Margaret Osborne for Smithsonian Magazine. “From a scientific point of view, it’s very exciting to see this brand new effect,” says Solomon. “From a planetary point of view… it would be just tragic to have mankind screw up solving the ozone hole by deciding that we’re going to [allow] a lot more of these fires if we don’t mitigate climate change.”

The Guardian

Researchers from MIT have found that wildfire smoke can activate chlorine-containing molecules that destroy the ozone layer, writes Donna Lu for The Guardian. “The question in my mind is: is the man-made chlorine going to get … diluted and destroyed out of the atmosphere faster than global climate change is going to increase the frequency and intensity of this kind of fire?” says Prof. Susan Solomon. “I think it’s going to be a race.”

Axios

Axios reporter Jacob Knutson highlights a new study by MIT researchers that finds the smoke released by major wildfires likely reactive chlorine-containing molecules in the atmosphere, delaying the recovery of the hole in the ozone layer. The researchers developed a model that found smoke released by Australian wildfires “chemically depleted between 3% to 5% of the total ozone column in the Southern Hemisphere mid-latitudes in June and July of 2020.”

New Scientist

New Scientist reporter James Dinneen writes that a new study by MIT researchers finds the smoke from Australian wildfires “may have enabled hydrochloric acid to dissolve at higher temperatures, generating more of the reactive chlorine molecules that destroy ozone.” Research scientist Kane Stone explains that “satellite observations showed chemistry that has never been seen before.”

Nature

MIT scientists have found that the Australian wildfires in 2019 and 2020 unleashed remnants of chlorine-containing molecules in the stratosphere, expanding the ozone hole and suggesting that more frequent wildfires could threaten the ozone hole’s recovery, reports Dyani Lewis for Nature. “It’s like a race,” says Prof. Susan Solomon. “Does the chlorine decay out of the stratosphere fast enough in the next, say, 40–50 years that the likely increase in intense and frequent wildfires doesn’t end up prolonging the ozone hole?”