For the third time in recorded history, a massive coral bleaching event is unfolding throughout the world’s oceans, stretching from the Indian Ocean to the Caribbean. Above average sea surface temperatures exacerbated by a strong El Niño could result in the planet losing up to 4,500 square miles of coral this year alone, according to NOAA. The global event is predicted to continue to impact reefs into the spring of 2016.
Scientists from NOAA and the Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies at the University of Miami have documented a dramatic shift from vibrant coral communities to carpets of algae in remote Pacific Ocean waters where an undersea volcano spews carbon dioxide.
A team of researchers, including scientists from AOML and the University of Miami, set sail June 19th on a research cruise aboard the NOAA ship Gordon Gunter to provide increased understanding of ocean acidification and its drivers along the U.S. East coast. The cruise, which is part of a larger effort supported by NOAA’s Ocean Acidification Program, investigated near-shore and deep waters, and provided researchers with more detailed information about changing ocean chemistry in different environments.
The earth is warming, but temperatures in the atmosphere and at the sea surface that steadily rose in the last half-century have leveled off and slowed in the past decade, causing the appearance of an imbalance in Earth’s heat budget. Scientists are looking into the deep ocean to determine where this additional heat energy could be stored, and recently traced a pathway that leads to the Indian Ocean.
A research vessel ploughs through the waves, braving the strong westerly winds of the Roaring Forties in the Southern Ocean in order to measure levels of dissolved carbon dioxide in the surface of the ocean. (Nicolas Metzl, LOCEAN/IPSL Laboratory).
In a new study published April 1 in Global Change Biology, NOAA oceanographers and colleagues have developed a new method to produce high-resolution projections of the range and onset of severe annual coral bleaching for reefs in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean
Scientists in the Gulf of Mexico now have a better understanding of how naturally-occurring climate cycles–as well as human activities–can trigger widespread ecosystem changes that ripple through the Gulf food web and the communities dependent on it, thanks to a new study published Saturday in the journal Global Change Biology.
A study of Galápagos’ coral reefs provides evidence that reefs exposed to lower pH and higher nutrient levels may be the most affected and least resilient to changes in climate and ocean chemistry.
The colloquial term ‘king tides’, referring to the highest astronomical tides of the year, is now part of most Miami Beach residents and city managers’ vocabulary. Exacerbated by rising seas, these seasonal tides can add up to 12 inches of water to the average high tide, threatening the urbanized landscape of Miami Beach. During these events, AOML’s Microbiology Team is on the scene to investigate these tidal waters as they rise and recede. The microbiologists are part of a research consortium for sea level rise and climate change, led by Florida International University’s Southeast Environmental Research Center. The research effort focuses on collecting samples and monitoring water quality at locations along the Biscayne Bay watershed where the City of Miami Beach has installed pumps to actively push these super-tidal floodwaters back into the bay.
Maug is a unique natural laboratory that allows us to study how ocean acidification affects coral reef ecosystems. We know of no other area like this in U.S. waters. Increasing carbon dioxide in seawater is a global issue because it makes it harder for animals like corals to build skeletons.