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Category Archives: Physical Oceanography

TACOS Program Hits 25,000th Profile Milestone!

TACOS has added 10 acoustic current meters to the Prediction and Research Moored Array in the Tropical Atlantic (PIRATA) buoy, moored at 4N, 23W.  Profile measurements are taken every 1-10 minutes, depending on depth.  Prior to the addition of the TACOS upper ocean observations in March 6, 2017 velocity profiles were only collected at this location during shipboard surveys.  These measurements are important because ocean currents influence temperature, salinity, and air-sea fluxes in the tropical North Atlantic, which affect weather, climate, and fisheries of the surrounding continents.

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Follow the Sargassum: Tracking algae in the Atlantic , Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico

AOML researchers released an assortment of GPS equipped drifters into the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea to study how ocean currents and winds play a role in the distribution of Sargassum.  With the data obtained from the sargassum drifters along with satellite data from the University of South Florida, AOML researchers now have the ability to distribute weekly experimental Sargassum Index Reports. 

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Robots Probe Ocean Depths in Mission to Fine-Tune Hurricane Forecasts

Four ocean gliders set off to sea this week to bring back data that scientists hope will improve the accuracy of hurricane forecast models.The robotic, unmanned gliders are equipped with sensors to measure the salt content (salinity) and temperature as they move through the ocean at different depths.  The gliders, which can operate in hurricane conditions, collect data during dives down to a half mile below the sea surface, and transmit the data to satellites when they surface.  

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New Study Shows Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation and Mediterranean Sea Level are Connected

The global mean sea level rise caused by ocean warming and glacier melting over landforms such as Greenland is one of the most alarming aspects of a shifting global climate. However, the dynamics of the ocean and atmosphere further influence sea level changes region by region and over time. For example, along the U.S. East Coast, a pronounced acceleration of sea level rise in 2010-2015 was observed south of Cape Hatteras, while a deceleration occurred up North.  These patterns provide background conditions, on top of which shorter-period (and often stronger) weather-driven sea level fluctuations compound what coastal communities directly experience day by day. Therefore, to develop or improve regional sea level predictions, it’s important to identify these patterns and explore how they change over time.

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Global Meridional Overturning Circulation Revisited

Ocean tracers such as heat, salt and carbon are perpetually carried by the global meridional overturning circulation (GMOC) and redistributed between hemispheres and across ocean basins from their source regions. The GMOC is therefore a crucial component of the global heat, salt and carbon balances.

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Increasing water temperature tied to rapid sea level rise along the U.S. East Coast during 2010-2015

In a new article accepted for publication in the Geophysical Research Letters, Ricardo Domingues (CIMAS University of Miami & NOAA/AOML) and his coauthors explored the observed rapid sea level rise along the U.S. East Coasts during 2010-2015, which is linked to extensive flooding and “sunny day” flooding (or nuisance flooding) events in large urban areas including Norfolk, Baltimore, Charleston, and Miami, among others.

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Study published on the mesoscale dynamics in the eastern South Atlantic Ocean

In a recent article published in the journal “Ocean Science”, Marion Kersale (CIMAS, PhOD) collaborated with scientists from South Africa and France to explore the buoyancy and velocity changes due to eddies, dipoles, and current filaments in the Cape Basin using two observational systems that are part of the South Atlantic Meridional overturning circulation Basin-wide Array (SAMBA) at 34.5°S.

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Unmanned Ocean Gliders Help Improve Hurricane Forecasts

NOAA will soon launch a fleet of 15 unmanned gliders in the Caribbean Sea and tropical Atlantic Ocean this hurricane season to collect important oceanic data that could prove useful to forecasters. “If you want to improve prediction of how hurricanes gain strength or weaken as they travel over the ocean, it’s critical to take the ocean’s temperature and measure how salty it is,” said Gustavo Goni, an oceanographer at NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory who is helping lead the glider research. “Not just at the surface, which we measure with satellites, but down into deeper layers of ocean waters.”

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NOAA’s Global Drifter Program: Ocean Dynamics Data Improves Forecasting and Coastal Safety

NOAA’s Global Drifter Program is a globally collaborative research project that provides near real-time marine data for the world. It allows us to record data for weather forecasts, track decadal patterns, and pinpoint inter-annual climate variations like El Nino Southern Oscillation. Global drifters provide observational verification for weather models, calibrate satellite observations, and collect and transfer new data about the ocean temperature, currents and barometric pressure.

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Live Science Update: Behind the Scenes

NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown continues to make its way around the world deploying many devices to observe the ocean. These platforms measure temperature, salinity, and ocean currents. This creates a network of ocean data that can be used to understand its physical dynamics and help us understand and anticipate change in weather, climate, and even ecosystems.

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