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Earth Transportation Science

3D Maps Reveal a Lead-Laced Ocean 266

sciencehabit writes "About 1000 meters down in a remote part of the Atlantic Ocean sits an unusual legacy of humanity's love affair with the automobile. It's a huge mass of seawater infused with traces of the toxic metal lead, a pollutant once widely emitted by cars burning leaded gasoline. Decades ago, the United States and Europe banned leaded gas and many other uses of the metal, but the pollutant's fingerprint lingers on—as shown by remarkably detailed new 3-D maps released this week. The 3D maps and animations are the early results of an unprecedented $300 million international collaboration to document the presence of trace metals and other chemicals in the world's oceans. The substances, which often occur in minute quantities, can provide important clues to understanding the ocean's past—such as how seawater masses have moved around over centuries—and its future, such as how climate change might shift key biochemical processes."
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3D Maps Reveal a Lead-Laced Ocean

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  • Avgas (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nerrd ( 1094283 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @08:05PM (#46363899)
    Nearly the entire worldwide fleet of piston powered aircraft still burn leaded gas.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27, 2014 @08:14PM (#46363977) because of human activity.

    Without some sort of baseline of ocean lead levels before the industrial age, it's difficult to assert that the levels observed are caused by humanity in any specific percentage.

    Where's the proxy for historic ocean lead levels pre-1850?

    Exactly what I was thinking. Zero point in doing research on how the ocean has acted in the past naturally when we humans keep fucking it up with toxic sludge.

  • Bullets (Score:2, Interesting)

    by PPH ( 736903 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @08:50PM (#46364243)

    Looking at TFA maps, the highest concentration appears to be in the outflow from the Mediterranean. That's probably a result of all the wars fought over there.

  • by icebike ( 68054 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @09:18PM (#46364427)

    I was wondering why it only appears in the known Ocean Currents.

    Is this a case of looking for your lost keys under the streetlamp because its easier to see there?
    Do they not find any evidence in areas away from the currents?

    Maybe they didn't take random bottom readings anywhere else. Or maybe it settled out everywhere else but
    within the currents. Oh, that's it. Its Settled Science.

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