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UK wind farm plans on brink of failure

From: The Observer, 19 October 2008.

Long newspaper article on whether the UK’s plans to generate more energy from wind farms are practical and realistic.

Surfing rats

From: The Times, 18 October 2008.

Not really a marine science story but this one made me smile. This is the story of two rats from Hawaii, Fin and Tofu, who are regularly taken surfing by their owner and, apparently, can now surf waves up to 4ft high.

Navy’s sonar has a killer sound

From: The Sunday Times (28 September 2008).

Newspaper article describing new research by scientists from St Andrews University and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution that has suggested that the sound created by Navy sonar devices may be responsible for mass strandings of marine mammals. It is possible that the marine mammals confuse the sound of the sonar with killer whale calls and have a magnified anti-predator response which ends up with them becoming stranded in shallow water.

Arctic ‘methane chimneys’ raise fears of runaway climate change

From: The Guardian (23 September 2008).

Article on the reported discovery of evidence for large releases of methane into the atmosphere from frozen seabed stores off the northern coast of Siberia. Methane is a powerful “”greenhouse gas” and so such releases could contribute significantly to global warming.

Second generation tidal turbines promise cheaper power

From: The Guardian (04 September 2008).

Article describing a new design for an underwater turbine, the Transverse Horizontal Axis Water Turbine (Thawt) which promises to be more robust, more efficient and cheaper to build than more traditional turbine designs. A small-scale system (1m diamter) has been tested and the next stage in the research will be to trial a 5m diameter version.

New Orleans braced for chaos as hurricane looms

From: The Observer (31 August 2008).

News article on preparations in New Orleans ahead of the impending possible arrival of Hurricane Gustav (potentially the worst hurricane there since Hurricane Katrina struck three years ago).

[in the end Hurricane Gustav missed New Orleans]

Official figures show summer was dull and wet (as if you didn’t know)

From: The Times (30 August 2008).

News article confirming the worst kepy secret of 2008 – the British summer has been dull and wet (August rainfall was 50% above average and the dullest since records began in 1929).