The immediate effects of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill were easy to see: tar-covered beaches and wetlands, or pelicans caked in brown goo. But the worst damage took place out of sight at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. Three years after the spill, a group of researchers from the University of South Florida are examining its aftermath, and are now starting to piece together the long-term effects of oil on the entire Gulf ecosystem — from huge whales to single-celled animals. Reporter David Levin joined them on a recent expedition.
400 years (and a little bit) ago, Arctic Explorer Henry Hudson set out from England on one of the most lavishly financed expeditions of his time. He was seeking a shorter trading route from England to the gold and spices from Asia — a Northwest Passage through Northern Canada’s harsh Sub-Arctic glaciers and sea-ice.
Today, another Arctic Explorer is on a mission in the very same place — to answer the great questions of our time. That 21st century Arctic Explorer is Fiamma Straneo, an oceanograher at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Last year, Straneo travelled to the Hudson Strait to measure water salinity, water velocity, and temperature — the three elements she needs to understand climate change in the Arctic.
Who are these two explorers, and what could drive them to one of the most untraversed, inhospitable places on earth?
From Mind Open Media and Living On Earth… Here Be Dragons:
This piece was produced with funding from a grant to Fiamma Straneo from the National Science Foundation.
Mind Open Media is a group of media producers breaking into the labs and lives of scientists. We’re not breaking walls or windows or anything, but we are breaking down the jargon, the explanations, and the stories scientists have to tell. We produce pieces about their lives, their discoveries, their failures, and what happens in the struggle. Our stories air on public radio and are posted on this website. Not a scientist? Don’t worry. We’re not all scientists either. We’re video producers, radio makers, story lovers, journalists (and yes, there are a couple of scientists among the five of us).
First up, we head to the Arctic — back in time with an old explorer and into the future with a new one.