Author: AOML Communications

Study Finds Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation Increases Flood Risk Along the United States Southeastern Coast

Sea level rise is one of the most challenging consequences of global warming. A new collaborative study led by Dr. Denis Volkov from NOAA-AOML and the University of Miami’s Cooperative Institute of Marine and Atmospheric Studies found that Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) induced changes in basin-wide ocean heat content are influencing the frequency of floods along the United States southeastern coast. 

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Low Net Carbonate Accretion Characterizes Florida’s Coral Reef

John T. Morris, Ian C. Enochs, et al.

Coral reef habitat is created when calcium carbonate production by calcifiers exceeds removal by physical and biological erosion. Carbonate budget surveys provide a means of quantifying the framework-altering actions of diverse assemblages of marine species to determine net carbonate production, a single metric that encapsulates reef habitat persistence. In this study, carbonate budgets were calculated for 723 sites across the Florida Reef Tract (FRT) using benthic cover and parrot fish demographic data from NOAA’s National Coral Reef Monitoring Program, as well as high resolution LiDAR topobathymetry. Results highlight the erosional state of the majority of the study sites, with a trend towards more vulnerable habitat in the northern FRT, especially in the Southeast Florida region (− 0.51 kg CaCO3m−2 year−1), which is in close proximity to urban centers. Detailed comparison of reef types reveals that mid-channel reefs in the Florida Keys have the highest net carbonate production (0.84 kg CaCO3 m−2 year− 1) and indicates that these reefs may be hold-outs for reef development throughout the region. This study reports that Florida reefs, specifically their physical structure, are in a net erosional state. As these reefs lose structure, the ecosystem services they provide will be diminished, signifying the importance of increased protections and management efforts to offset these trends.

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Landmark study analyzes global ocean carbon storage over two decades, indicates weakening of ocean carbon sink

A landmark study published last week demonstrates that the ocean’s role as a carbon sink and its ability to store anthropogenic, or human-caused, carbon may be weakening. A collaboration among international researchers led by Jens Daniel Müller, Ph.D. (ETH Zurich), this study captures a snapshot of three decades of global interior ocean measurements to determine […]

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Improving Monitoring of Coastal Inundations of Sargassum with Wind and Citizen Science Data

In a new study, scientists from NOAA, University of South Florida, Florida International University, University of Miami, and LGL Ecological Associates, compared wind information alongside Sargassum Inundation Risk (SIR) maps against citizen science reports of inundation in the coasts of Florida, Gulf of Mexico, Bahamas, and Caribbean regions. With present SIR maps, inundation is considered as more likely if large densities of satellite-detected Sargassum are near a coast. The scientists in the study found that shoreward wind velocity used in conjunction with SIR indicators greatly improves the agreement with coastal observations of Sargassum beaching compared to SIR indicators alone. Including wind metrics in SIR maps will allow for improved understanding of Sargassum trajectories in coastal areas for forecast purposes. 

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New study establishes monitoring framework for evaluating reef persistence under climate change and ocean acidification

Webb, A.E., Enochs, I.C., van Hooidonk, R. et al. Restoration and coral adaptation delay, but do not prevent, climate-driven reef framework erosion of an inshore site in the Florida Keys. Sci Rep 13, 258 (2023).

For reef framework to persist, calcium carbonate production by corals and other calcifiers needs to outpace loss due to physical, chemical, and biological erosion. This balance is both delicate and dynamic and is currently threatened by the effects of ocean warming and acidification. Although the protection and recovery of ecosystem functions are at the center of most restoration and conservation programs, decision makers are limited by the lack of predictive tools to forecast habitat persistence under different emission scenarios. To address this, we developed a modelling approach, based on carbonate budgets, that ties species-specific responses to site-specific global change using the latest generation of climate models projections (CMIP6). We applied this model to Cheeca Rocks…

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AOML Welcomes 2023 Summer Interns

On National Intern Day, AOML is celebrating our largest internship class ever of 36 interns ranging from high school students to post doctoral fellows. They are joining us from schools across the country, from California to Florida, and are researching corals, microbes, hurricanes, air-sea interaction, ocean acidification, communications strategies, and much more, all within our 4 divisions:

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NOAA AOML Scientist Wins Federal Employee of the Year Award from the South Florida Federal Executive Board

Congratulations to AOML scientist, Dr. Hosmay Lopez, for receiving the 2022 Federal Employee of the Year award for the Scientific category at the 58th annual South Florida Federal Executive Board’s awards program. Hosmay was recognized for his groundbreaking contributions to the understanding of how El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events will evolve with global warming, with significant implications for how residents of South Florida will experience climate change over the next several decades.

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AOML Begins Tenth Year of Hurricane Glider Operations

This summer marks AOML’s tenth ­consecutive year of gathering underwater glider observations during the Atlantic hurricane season. The project began in 2014 with two gliders deployed off Puerto Rico to study the ocean’s role in tropical cyclone ­development and intensification. Since then, glider observations have become an ­integral part of the data ­gathered ­annually to improve tropical ­cyclone forecasts, as well as ­better understand how the ocean and ­atmosphere ­interact during the ­passage of tropical ­cyclones.

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What a Marine Heatwave Means for South Florida

A marine heatwave has spread across the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean with temperatures ranging between one and three degrees Celsius (~2-4.5˚F) above average. Ocean temperatures around south Florida are the warmest on record for the month of July (dating back to 1981). Marine heatwaves are not unprecedented, but their influence on tropical storm development and coral reef health, as well as the persistence of the current heatwave, are among the causes for concern. 

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