Making Monster Waves in the Lab

Rogue waves are rare in nature, but new research is making them perfectly common.

They seem to come from nowhere, walls of water towering above the sea, and then disappear without a trace. Rogue waves can swamp huge ships, lighthouses, or offshore structures without warning, and are among the most terrifying threats facing people at sea.

Rogue waves—waves that are more than twice the height of the surrounding waves—have been blamed for many wrecks. Read more in Hakai Magazine.

North Pacific’s sea slug invasion linked to mystery ocean blob

Unusually warm waters in the Pacific Ocean are driving dozens of species of nudibranch – a photogenic type of sea slug – northward at a surprising pace.

This could signal the beginning of a major climate shift in the region, says Jeffrey Goddard, a marine biologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Read more in New Scientist.

No, Britain Isn’t Naming a Ship RRS Boaty McBoatface

The British people have spoken, and they really want to name their new, US $290 million polar research ship the RRS Boaty McBoatface.

In what probably seemed like a nice piece of public outreach, the United Kingdom’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) invited the public to suggest names for its new vessel, which is scheduled to sail in 2019. The funding council asked for names that were “inspirational and about environmental and polar science,” suggesting things like Endeavour, Shackleton, and Falcon.

But you can’t trust the Internet. Read more in Hakai.

Refurbished Alvin submersible returns to sea


Photo by Erik Olsen.

After a two-year, $41 million upgrade, the venerable Alvin submersible is about to return to sea.

On 25 May, the research ship Atlantis will leave the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, with Alvin on board, bound for Astoria, Oregon. After a series of Navy certification cruises in September and a scientific verification cruise in November, Alvin will return to full service in December studying the deep ocean off the US Pacific Northwest. Read more in Nature.