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Mini Dragon Group (ages 6-7)

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Across The Waters

And so to Tilly, my private hero. In the summer of 2017, camps in northern France were overflowing with refugees waiting to cross the English Channel. Tilly volunteered to help at the camps in a way that puts a lump in my throat each and every time I tell her story. She cut hair for people while they waited - an act of kindness, a gift of dignity in the midst of brokenness while waiting to cross the waters. I hope you will think of Tilly as you enjoy this design.

Across The Waters

Òsun is a brilliant deity whose imagery and worldwide devotion demand broad and deep scholarly reflection. Contributors to the ground-breaking Africa's Ogun, edited by Sandra Barnes (Indiana University Press, 1997), explored the complex nature of Ogun, the orisa who transforms life through iron and technology. Òsun across the Waters continues this exploration of Yoruba religion by documenting Òsun religion. Òsun presents a dynamic example of the resilience and renewed importance of traditional Yoruba images in negotiating spiritual experience, social identity, and political power in contemporary Africa and the African diaspora.

The 17 contributors to Òsun across the Waters delineate the special dimensions of Òsun religion as it appears through multiple disciplines in multiple cultural contexts. Tracing the extent of Òsun traditions takes us across the waters and back again. Òsun traditions continue to grow and change as they flow and return from their sources in Africa and the Americas.

Kongo across the Waters examines 500 years of cultural exchange between the Kongo, Europe, and the United States, showing the rise of Kongo as a major Atlantic presence and the transmission of Kongo culture through the transatlantic slave trade into American art.

Episodic shifts in winds and water currents across the equatorial Pacific can cause floods in the South American desert while stalling and drying up the monsoon in Indonesia and India. Atmospheric circulation patterns that promote hurricanes and typhoons in the Pacific can also knock them down over the Atlantic. Fish populations in one part of the ocean might crash, while others thrive and spread well beyond their usual territory.

The circulation of the air above the tropical Pacific Ocean responds to this tremendous redistribution of ocean heat. The typically strong high-pressure systems of the eastern Pacific weaken, thus changing the balance of atmospheric pressure across the eastern, central, and western Pacific. While easterly winds tend to be dry and steady, Pacific westerlies tend to come in bursts of warmer, moister air.

The tropical Pacific receives more sunlight than any other region on Earth, and much of this energy is stored in the ocean as heat. Under neutral, normal conditions, the waters off southeast Asia and Australia are warmer and sea level stands higher than in the eastern Pacific; this warm water is pushed west and held there by easterly trade winds.

Sea level is naturally higher in the western Pacific; in fact, it is normally about 40 to 50 centimeters (15-20 inches) higher near Indonesia than off of Ecuador. Some of this difference is due to tropical trade winds, which predominantly blow from east to west across the Pacific Ocean, piling up water near Asia and Oceania. Some of it is also due to the heat stored in the water, so measuring the height of the sea surface is a good proxy for measuring the heat content of the water.

As you watch sea surface heights change through 2015, note the pulses of warmer water moving east across the ocean. When the trade winds ease and bursts of wind come out of the west, warm water from the western Pacific pulses east in vast, deep waves (Kelvin waves) that even out sea level a bit. As the warm water piles up in the east, it deepens the warm surface layer, lowering the thermocline and suppressing the natural upwelling that usually keeps waters cooler along the Pacific coasts of the Americas. (Look back at the underwater temperature animation to see this phenomenon.)

The El Niño signal is evident in the eastward-blowing winds in the tropical western and central Pacific. Winds near the equator (5 North to 5 South) blew more forcefully from west to east in the western and central Pacific; meanwhile, the easterly (east to west) trade winds weakened near the Americas. These wind shifts allowed pulses of warm water to slosh from Asia toward the Americas over the course of 2015. The signal also shows up in a convergence in the eastern Pacific; that is, the winds in the tropics (23N to 23S) were generally moving toward the equator. This reflects intense convection, where warm surface waters promote intense evaporation and rising air. (See the Walker circulation illustration on page 1.) Consequently, new air masses move toward the equator to replace the rising air.

Other changes occurred well away from the equator; scientists refer to these as teleconnections. For instance, RapidScat detected a strong clockwise-rotating (anti-cyclonic) wind anomaly in the northeastern Pacific that may have been the result of stronger-than-normal atmospheric circulation (Hadley cell). That is, air that rose above the super-heated waters of the central tropical Pacific sank back to the surface at higher latitudes with more than usual intensity.

By changing the distribution of heat and wind across the Pacific, El Niño alters rainfall patterns for months to seasons. As the warm ocean surface warms the atmosphere above it, moisture-rich air rises and develops into rain clouds. So while the majority of precipitation tends to occur over the west Pacific warm pool in neutral years, much more develops over the central and eastern Pacific during an El Niño event.

El Niño is the largest natural disruption to the Earth system, with direct impacts across most of the Pacific Ocean. Indirect impacts reverberate around the globe in patterns that scientists refer to as "teleconnections." Scientists are actively trying to understand how these changes in weather patterns in one area can alter the movement of air masses and winds in areas adjacent to and even far away from the source. According to the International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University, El Niño-Southern Oscillation is responsible for as much as 50 percent of year-to-year climate variability in some regions of the world.

In the equatorial Pacific, as the warm pool propagates eastward, clouds and rainfall move with it and leave the Western Pacific in dry conditions that often lead to drought across Indonesia, southeast Asia, and northern Australia. The problems of drought are compounded by slash-and-burn land clearing. For example, in Indonesia it is common for farmers to clear-cut forests for lumber and to burn rainforest to develop the land. Normally, these fires are extinguished by the consistent rains that fall in the tropics. But when the rain dries up during a strong El Niño, those fires burn uncontrolled. Massive El Niño-fueled fires were blamed for thousands of premature deaths from air pollution in 1997-98 and contributed to as many as 100,000 deaths in 2015-16, according to a recent study by Harvard University scientists.

Although the impacts of every El Niño vary, more rain typically falls during the winter across the southern United States from California to Florida. For example, in 2015-16, the Pacific Northwest, the U.S. Midwest, and the Southeast states endured heavy rain. There were landslides in Northern California and flash floods in Louisiana and Alabama. Extreme rain fell in Southern California and led to mudslides.

The United Nations (U.N.) Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported in April 2016 that 60 million people across Africa, Asia, the Pacific, and Latin America needed food assistance due to weather extremes from the 2015-16 El Niño. Looking back at 1997-98, the U.N. attributed more than 20,000 deaths and $36 billion in infrastructure damage to that El Niño.

Before this harrowing sequence, the family has heard news of choppy waters, which means there will be no sailing in the evening. So, they have gone to the woods, hoping the foliage and trees can shelter them for the night.

Most global scientific studies describing the extent and amounts of oceanic marine plastic pollution have been confined to the surface layer of the ocean. However, deep pelagic waters within marine ecosystems dwarf all other available living space on Earth, and growing evidence demonstrates that plastic is accumulating within the animals, bottom sediments, and trenches of the deep sea10,11,12,13,14. Recent global inventories of floating plastic waste point to size-selective fragmentation and transport of microplastics to deeper waters through physical and biological processes15,16, as well as movement into marine food webs following trophic uptake (ingestion) and other physical processes (e.g., gill ventilation17), and passage through the food web18,19,20,21. To understand the distribution and accompanying ecological impacts of marine plastic pollution, deep water column measurements from ecologically important areas and from representative organisms within these communities are necessary.

Our findings detailing the prevalence of PET and PA in Monterey Bay are in agreement with results from other marine ecosystems24,25. While PC and PVC have been identified from marine waters and seafloor sediments13,24,49, they generally represent some of the smaller proportions of recovered marine plastics. Although readily distinguishable as pristine industrial products, environmental weathering may mute polymer spectra (see below) of ocean microplastic. Therefore, similar materials (e.g., PC and PET) may not be diagnostically distinguished after extensive exposure in marine systems.

The movement of plastic waste from its production and usage on land to the surface layer of the global ocean is relatively well known1,4,44. Although multiple independent lines of evidence point to the accumulation and cycling of plastic waste in the waters and animal communities beneath the surface ocean e.g.2,11,12,13,15,26, the ecological and physical processes transporting plastic into the deep remain very poorly known. Here, alongside a detailed description of the vertical extent of the deep-water-column pool of microplastics, we document two distinct ecological pathways through which pelagic particle feeders transport microplastic to deeper waters, and ultimately to the seafloor. 041b061a72


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