Submitted by ub on Sun, 03/04/2012 - 14:42

We have become accustomed to seeing images of the Earth's swirling atmosphere from space, but fifty years ago, no one had ever seen such images. That's when the first-ever weather satellite was launched, kicking off a long line of weather satellites that have kept a continuous watch on our planet's and oceanic fickle atmosphere.

The high-quality, extended weather forecasts that these satellites make possible have become an indispensable part of our modern society, helping commercial aircraft, recreational boaters, and even military operations avoid unnecessary risk from hazardous weather. Far out in the oceans, or seas among the vast amount of marine life, lies a confluence of flotsam and jetsam that stretches for many miles and there is much more coming our way.

Currents steer debris to it from all over, making these quite literally the world's biggest garbage dump. This assemblage of man-made waste and rubbish is affecting our ecological balance. Ocean acidification is also a rising environmental threat despite not being high on our global political agenda. The combination of ocean acidification and the increasing water temperatures has already started reducing marine biodiversity in many corners of the world.

This lethal combination kills corals, shellfish and other valuable marine life, doing tremendous damage to marine food chain because many of these animals play extremely important role at the bottom of the food chain in oceans.

As the world continues to get more crowded, pollution is only going to get much worse.