Salt

Deep Argo: Probes in Ocean Abyss Explore Mysteries of Global Warming

Publication: NBC News   Date: October 12, 2014   View Article

Nearly a quarter century ago, Greg Johnson was a freshly minted PhD in oceanography puttering north in the South Pacific Ocean. About every 35 miles, the boat he was on stopped and scientists dropped an instrument overboard to measure temperature and salinity at regular intervals all the way to the seafloor.

This process was repeated in a crisscross pattern throughout the world’s oceans over the course of the 1990s. “At the end of it, we had kind of a blurred snapshot of the state of the ocean in that decade all the way from the surface to the bottom from coast to coast,” he explained to NBC News.

The following decade, scientists re-sampled some transects for the sake of comparison. Taken together, the measurements collected during the World Ocean Circulation Experiment are the best — and for most of the oceans only — data available on temperature and salinity 1.4 miles below the surface.

Today, Johnson is spearheading a project to deploy a global array of robotic floats that will probe to a depth of 3.75 miles, allowing scientists to continuously monitor changing temperature and salinity in the entire ocean except for the deepest trenches.

Parched California Pours Mega-Millions Into Desalination

Publication: NBC News   Date: February 17, 2014   View Article

Besieged by drought and desperate for new sources of water, California towns are ramping up plans to convert salty ocean water into drinking water to quench their long-term thirst. The plants that carry out the high-tech “desalination” process can cost hundreds of millions of dollars, but there may be few other choices for the parched state.

Where the Pacific Ocean spills into the Agua Hedionda Lagoon in Carlsbad, Calif., construction is 25 percent complete on a $1 billion project to wring 50 million gallons of freshwater a day from the sea and pour it into a water system that serves 3.1 million people.

Desalination was a dreamy fiction during the California Water Wars of the early 20th century that inspired the classic 1974 movie “Chinatown.” In the 1980s, however, the process of forcing seawater through reverse osmosis membranes to filter out salt and other impurities became a reliable, even essential, tool in regions of the world desperate for water.

Electricity from wastewater gets a salty boost

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: March 2, 2012   View Article

Microbes that digest wastewater in a fuel cell to produce electricity are getting a boost from a technology that captures energy from the difference between salt and fresh water, scientists report in a new study.

“It is like putting another battery into a flashlight, you get more voltage and power out,” Bruce Logan, an environmental engineer at Pennsylvania State University, told me Thursday.

The technology could lead to wastewater treatment plants that generate electricity, instead of consuming it.

Inland Ants Crave Salt

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 28, 2008   View Article

Salt-deprived animals and insects living far inland from some coasts may benefit if global warming increases hurricane intensity, a new study suggests.

Salt Water Can “Burn,” Scientist Confirms

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: September 14, 2007   View Article

Salt water can indeed burn when exposed to a certain kind of radio wave, a university chemist has confirmed.

Rustum Roy of Pennsylvania State University verified earlier this month that the radio waves break the water into its components, allowing the resulting freed hydrogen and oxygen to catch fire.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach