National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory

Physical Oceanography Division

Research Highlights


Meridional heat transport in the South Atlantic reveals links with global monsoons

A recent paper published in the Journal of Climate led by PHOD researchers Hosmay Lopez, Shenfu Dong, Sang-Ki Lee, and Gustavo Goni provides a physical mechanism on how low frequency variability of the South Atlantic Meridional Heat Transport (SAMHT) associated with the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation ( AMOC) may influence decadal variability of atmospheric circulation and monsoons. This is the first attempt to link the South Atlantic Overturning Circulation variability to weather and climate. Full story>>


Dominance of the Geostrophic and Ekman Transports on the MOC in the South Atlantic

The Meridional Overturning Circulation (MOC) plays a critical role in global and regional heat and freshwater budgets. Recent studies have suggested the possibility of a southern origin of the anomalous MOC and meridional heat transport (MHT) in the Atlantic, through changes in the transport of warm/salty waters from the Indian Ocean into the South Atlantic basin. Full story>>


Underwater gliders observations reveal the importance of salinity effects

during passage of Hurricane Gonzalo (2014)

Hurricanes are known to drive the cooling of surface waters as they travel over the ocean, leaving a cooling swath where they pass. The sea surface cooling is mostly caused by mixing forced by the strong winds of the hurricane, which occurs as the mixture of warm surface waters with colder waters that can be as deep as 100 m below the surface. Full story>>


Pathways and hydrography in the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System

The results of two oceanographic cruises conducted in the Mexican and Belizean shelf waters over the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef during 2006 and 2007 show that the circulation can be divided into two distinct regimes: a northern region dominated by the strong, northward-flowing Yucatan Current, and a southern region with weaker southward coastal currents and the presence of the Honduras Gyre. Full story>>


Research Shows Indian Ocean Plays Key Role in Global Warming Hiatus

The earth is warming, but atmospheric and oceanic temperatures that rose steadily over the last half century have leveled off and slowed this past decade, causing the appearance of an imbalance in the Earth's heat budget. Full story>>


The fate of the Deep Western Boundary Current in the South Atlantic

The pathways of recently ventilated North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) are part of the lower limb of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). In the South Atlantic these pathways have been the subject of discussion for years, mostly due to the lack of observations. Knowledge of the pathways of the AMOC in the South Atlantic is a first order prerequisite for understanding the fluxes of climatically important properties. Full story>>

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