Tag Archives: Scripps Institution of Oceanography

The Future of Human Space Exploration

We’ve been to the moon and we’ve explored remote corners of our universe. What is next in our quest to unlock the secrets of our solar system?

Hear from Charles Kennel, chair of the National Academy’s Space Science Board and former Scripps Institution of Oceanography director, as he reviews NASA’s past accomplishments, present projects, and anticipated goals in “The Future of Human Space Exploration.”

To see more programs on Astrophysics and Space Science, visit our archive.

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The Legendary Leopards of La Jolla Shores

In celebration of National Shark Week, UCTV visits the Birch Aquarium to hear from an expert on leopard sharks, Andy Nosal, a Ph.D. student of Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Leopard sharks are a special species of shark found only along the West coast of North America, their territory spanning from Washington to Baja California. A distinctive characteristic of these creatures is their mild temperament. Unlike most sharks, which will bite anything that might be food, leopard sharks are timid and have such small mouths that they pose essentially no danger to humans. In fact, a leopard shark bite on a human has never been recorded by the International Shark Attack File.

Every Summer La Jolla Shores is the gathering site of hundreds of leopard sharks. A common misconception of this behavior is that these sharks convene here to mate or give birth, but in fact scientists are not quite certain what they do at this annual conference.

Watch “Local Legends: The Leopard Sharks of La Jolla Shores” to see what Nosal has determined about why these sharks flock to La Jolla Shores and what they do there.

Check out more programs about sharks.

See what other programs are available in the Perspectives on Ocean Science series!

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Climate Change hasn’t Changed

In “An Inconvenient Truth,” Al Gore presents his case on climate change based on the “Keeling Curve,” measurements of the increasing levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere.

These first records of rising CO2 levels were taken in the 1950′s by Charles David Keeling of UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Even then scientists were aware of the green house effect created by CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere. Keeling tracked the increasing levels of CO2 for decades, but it didn’t take long for him to link the rising CO2 levels with the burning of fossil fuels. Although it was known that the burning of fossil fuels created CO2, it was widely believed that the ocean absorbed all of that excess carbon dioxide. Keeling was the first person to prove that CO2 was accumulating in the atmosphere, as it still is today.

In “The Scientific Case for Urgent Action to Limit Climate Change,” Distinguished Professor Emeritus Richard Somerville of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography presents a case based on some of the initial measurements of CO2 in the atmosphere taken by Keeling.

In this video, Somerville further explains this research and his ideas for how to reduce the emissions causing climate change. If you want more information on climate change and ocean science, check out the “Perspectives on Ocean Science” series.

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Exploring Beyond the Abyss: The Deep Sea Challenge Expedition

James Cameron Deep Sea Challenge
Explorer-filmmaker James Cameron emerges from his sub after returning from Challenger Deep.
Photograph by Mark Thiessen, National Geographic

In spring 2012, the Deep Sea Challenge Expedition, with film director and National Geographic Explorer in Residence James Cameron, conducted submersible operations in the deepest point on Earth, the Mariana Trench.

In “Exploring Beyond the Abyss: The Deep Sea Challenge Expedition,” Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s Doug Bartlett, the chief scientist of this headline expedition and a leading expert in microbial life in the planet’s most remote and extreme places,  describes what the journey was like and how his research is providing greater insight into how organisms thrive in such extreme depths of the ocean.

Watch it online now and take your own expedition inside the video archive of the fascinating “Perspectives on Ocean Science” series.

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Climate Change: Scientific Authority Meets Moral Authority

Thanks to Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a “second front” of climate change mitigation has emerged, reviving hopes that the most dangerous consequences of climate change can at least be delayed for several decades. (If you haven’t already, you can follow his remarkable journey and landmark discoveries in the first three episodes of UCTV Prime’s series Lifting the Blanket: The Pursuit of a Climate Solution.”)

But when an African teenager attending a United Nations event for high schoolers asked him what he is doing personally about climate change, Ramanathan realized that his recognized authority within the climate science community could only get him so far in affecting change. That encounter set Ramanathan off on the next phase of his career, forming meaningful alliances with religious and spiritual leaders who offer the moral authority to help make the matter of global warming — and the simple steps he’s helped develop to effectively reduce it — resonate on a personal level with today’s global citizens.

With enough involvement from policymakers and individuals around the world, Ramanathan projects that society can reduce the rate of global warming by as much as 50% during our lifetimes, which could help slow down the melting of the Himalayan glaciers, arctic sea ice, and sea level rise, while possibly saving as many as 4 million lives per year among those living under the blanket of pollutants that contribute to 40% of the current global warming problem.

Find out where Ramanathan’s journey has taken him — and us — in the fourth and final episode of the series, “Scientific Authority Meets Moral Authority.”

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