occupy the oceans


Resident ocean
of forces
pulling; pushing,
ebb and flow -
welcoming, encompassing,
rage, disquiet, violent
pensive, mysterious
gregarious, larger-than-life.
Resident ocean
of forces
within us
seeking shores
to embrace
seeking limits
to defy
seeking depths
to occupy.
Resident ocean
of forces
in me, in you,


Touya was in a cave.

It was a beautiful cave, snaking deep underground, full of riches and treasures and gold. It had traps and dungeons and dragons and giant crystals sprouting out of the ceiling. It had magical glowing mushrooms and secret passageways leading to an entire continent hidden deep in the center of the earth. It had ancient scripts and prophecies written on the walls foretelling of coming doom, and telling of the doom that never came. It had anything and everything and also all the little stuff in between those two absolutes. In short, it was perfect.

Or at least that’s what Touya liked to imagine. He didn’t actually venture into the cave to investigate. He was simply lying on his back at one of the many mouths this cave possessed, listening to the sea. The particular opening that the trainer occupied led directly into the ocean at the bottom of a steep cliff, effectively rendering this passage a dead end (unless by chance someone knew how to swim, or better yet, fly).

Touya did not know how to fly, and he was allergic to being swept away by strong currents and getting smooshed against pointy rocks. Maybe that’s why he didn’t move. Not even when an errant wave would come lapping at the ankles of the cavern inches away from Touya, spraying him with tiny droplets.

How odd. Whatever lay deep inside the dark cavern stretching behind him, he didn’t seem to care.

Climate Change: Species On The Move: Phytoplankton (InsideClimate News)

A phytoplankton bloom in the Barents Sea, August 2011 (Credit: Jeff Schmaltz/NASA Earth Observatory)

About This Species

Phytoplankton are tiny—almost microscopic—but don’t let that fool you. These free-floating, plant-like organisms occupy the bottom of the ocean’s food chain, making them vital to the ecosystem. They live in the ocean and in sea ice, and like plants on land, phytoplankton need sunlight. Most are buoyant and float in the upper portion of the ocean where sunlight can reach them. They provide food for a wide array of species, like whales, shrimp, snails and jellyfish.

In the Arctic, phytoplankton blooms are triggered by the melting of sea ice in spring. Light green shelves of phytoplankton swirl into the Arctic Ocean. As the climate changes and the oceans warm, the timing of phytoplankton blooms is shifting and the species are showing up in different places altogether. As this happens, the effects ripple outward, growing in significance along the way.


Warmer oceans are already resulting in earlier blooms. A new study in the journal Science found that for every degree that the water increased, one species of phytoplankton bloomed four or five days earlier. From 2003 to 2012, the bloom of that one species shifted 20 days earlier—a trend the researchers projected would continue as the oceans warm further.

Many species tie their lifecycles to the timing of the bloom. When phytoplankton blooms earlier, the next level of the food chain—zooplankton—can miss its opportunity to feed on phytoplankton. That mismatch can work its way up to the fish that eat the zooplankton, the seals that eat those fish and the polar bears at the top of the food chain.

In addition, when thick, old sea ice is thinned by warming, sunlight is able to permeate the surface and stimulate phytoplankton to bloom within the ice. What was once a white surface is made dark, which absorbs more energy from the sun and exacerbates warming.

Range Shifts

A combination of ocean warming and shifts in ocean circulation and surface conditions has phytoplankton on the move. In the coming century, species will shift northeastward, with major consequences for the ecosystem.

Looking Forward

That northeastward shift is happening at a faster rate than previously estimated. A study published in March 2015 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences described the dynamic combination of rising ocean temperatures and changes in ocean circulation and surface conditions that are driving this shift.

The study examined 87 North American phytoplankton species, looking at historical data from 1951-2000 and projections for 2051-2100. It found that 74 percent of the species it studied were moving toward the North Pole at a rate of 8 miles per decade, and that 90 percent were shifting eastward at a rate of 26.5 miles per decade.

“Anthropogenic climate change over the coming century may drive North Atlantic phytoplankton species ranges and communities to move in space, or shift, and cause communities to internally reassemble, or shuffle,” the study says.


Mars: The Planet that Lost an Ocean’s Worth of Water

A primitive ocean on Mars held more water than Earth’s Arctic Ocean, and covered a greater portion of the planet’s surface than the Atlantic Ocean does on Earth, according to new results published today. An international team of scientists used ESO’s Very Large Telescope, along with instruments at the W. M. Keck Observatory and the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility, to monitor the atmosphere of the planet and map out the properties of the water in different parts of Mars’s atmosphere over a six-year period. These new maps are the first of their kind. The results appear online in the journal Science today.

About four billion years ago, the young planet would have had enough water to cover its entire surface in a liquid layer about 140 metres deep, but it is more likely that the liquid would have pooled to form an ocean occupying almost half of Mars’s northern hemisphere, and in some regions reaching depths greater than 1.6 kilometres.

“Our study provides a solid estimate of how much water Mars once had, by determining how much water was lost to space,” said Geronimo Villanueva, a scientist working at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, USA, and lead author of the new paper. “With this work, we can better understand the history of water on Mars.”

The new estimate is based on detailed observations of two slightly different forms of water in Mars’s atmosphere. One is the familiar form of water, made with two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen, H2O. The other is HDO, or semi-heavy water, a naturally occurring variation in which one hydrogen atom is replaced by a heavier form, called deuterium.

As the deuterated form is heavier than normal water, it is less easily lost into space through evaporation. So, the greater the water loss from the planet, the greater the ratio of HDO to H2O in the water that remains [1].

The researchers distinguished the chemical signatures of the two types of water using ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile, along with instruments at the W. M. Keck Observatory and the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility in Hawaii [2]. By comparing the ratio of HDO to H2O, scientists can measure by how much the fraction of HDO has increased and thus determine how much water has escaped into space. This in turn allows the amount of water on Mars at earlier times to be estimated.

In the study, the team mapped the distribution of H2O and HDO repeatedly over nearly six Earth years — equal to about three Mars years — producing global snapshots of each, as well as their ratio. The maps reveal seasonal changes and microclimates, even though modern Mars is essentially a desert.

Ulli Kaeufl of ESO, who was responsible for building one of the instruments used in this study and is a co-author of the new paper, adds: “I am again overwhelmed by how much power there is in remote sensing on other planets using astronomical telescopes: we found an ancient ocean more than 100 million kilometres away!”

The team was especially interested in regions near the north and south poles, because the polar ice caps are the planet’s largest known reservoir of water. The water stored there is thought to document the evolution of Mars’s water from the wet Noachian period, which ended about 3.7 billion years ago, to the present.

The new results show that atmospheric water in the near-polar region was enriched in HDO by a factor of seven relative to Earth’s ocean water, implying that water in Mars’s permanent ice caps is enriched eight-fold. Mars must have lost a volume of water 6.5 times larger than the present polar caps to provide such a high level of enrichment. The volume of Mars’s early ocean must have been at least 20 million cubic kilometres.

Based on the surface of Mars today, a likely location for this water would be the Northern Plains, which have long been considered a good candidate because of their low-lying ground. An ancient ocean there would have covered 19% of the planet’s surface — by comparison, the Atlantic Ocean occupies 17% of the Earth’s surface.

“With Mars losing that much water, the planet was very likely wet for a longer period of time than previously thought, suggesting the planet might have been habitable for longer,” said Michael Mumma, a senior scientist at Goddard and the second author on the paper.

It is possible that Mars once had even more water, some of which may have been deposited below the surface. Because the new maps reveal microclimates and changes in the atmospheric water content over time, they may also prove to be useful in the continuing search for underground water.


[1] In oceans on Earth there are about 3200 molecules of H2O for each HDO molecule.

[2] Although probes on the Martian surface and orbiting the planet can provide much more detailed in situ measurements, they are not suitable for monitoring the properties of the whole Martian atmosphere. This is best done using infrared spectrographs on large telescopes back on Earth.

being afraid of something is a reason to do it. using fear as an excuse means you’re not doing what you came here to do, out of timidity and spinelessness. the cure is to take full responsibility for yourself and the space you occupy. 

a day escape: ocean eater, with no heart, just a spiny, shoeless ridge and smokey rolls when kindness returns to your window each morning. be brave, be kind. be smart, be kind.

it’s hard to relax when all you wanna do is roll across the plains and spread the good word about stuff

unusual moments of aloneness — sprouting kind limbs with gentle sand in our bones. we are here for good. we are here for The Good. getting drunk on severity and the sharpness of silence. taking in hope with each inhale. 

near everything is about vanity, as it should be, and sacred smudges when everything comes Full Circle. while you’re not looking, I am changing: the Fearless. 

art is created from kind souls enduring kind bodies.

I am neither soft nor hard. I interact with everything good in the world. we will love the sun. just don’t descend. 

sunstone radiance and full moon bathing thoughts, internal/external synchrony, swimming around on the mossy forest floor

I feel good, I feel right. I know exactly why I’m here, I know exactly what I’m doing. I know who I am and I love it. I may not know where I’m going, but I always know where I am. 

I am at peace. I befriend handfuls of the earth.

this contentedness has only words like rose quartz and lavender, seaweed rocks, lavender sheets, wet dog hair, freckled kisses. it has only seagulls flying overhead and seashell scratches on my legs. 

it feels nice to let my cheeks be kissed again. current mood: warm foothills by alt-j

—  august 14th, 2015