Every year the Global Carbon Project publishes an authoritative observation based Global Carbon Budget detailing the annual release of fossil fuel carbon dioxide and the uptake by the terrestrial biosphere and oceans. In 2018 the global carbon emissions were still increasing, but their rate of increase had slowed. Global carbon emissions are set to grow more slowly in 2019, with a decline in coal burning offset by strong growth in natural gas use worldwide.
The ability to predict Earth’s future climate relies upon monitoring efforts to determine the fate of carbon dioxide emissions. For example, how much carbon stays in the atmosphere or becomes stored in the oceans or on land? The oceans in particular have helped to slow climate change as they absorb and then store carbon dioxide for thousands of years.
AOML’s hurricane scientists conducted multiple airborne missions into several tropical systems that formed in the Atlantic in September and October. The data gathered in Humberto, Jerry, pre-Karen, Lorenzo, and Nestor improved track and intensity forecasts, aiding NOAA’s efforts to prepare vulnerable communities for severe weather. The missions also supported research to better understand how tropical cyclones form, intensify, and dissipate, as well as supported efforts to validate satellite measurements of these storms.
November 19 – 21, 2019, AOML hosted a three day external review to evaluate the quality, performance, and relevance of our research portfolio. NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research conducts these reviews every five years to gauge the effectiveness of the research portfolios of all the labs, and also to forge new partnerships for research and collaborations across NOAA. Feedback received after the completion of the lab review will help set new priorities for AOML. The 2019 AOML review featured presentations from each science division, lightning talks from scientists, a poster session, lab tours, and an early career luncheon. We also had the pleasure of hosting Deputy NOAA Administrator Rear Admiral Tim Gallaudet at the opening of the review.
The most dangerous part of the hurricane is the eyewall close to the ocean. It’s where the storm draws energy from heat in the water, which influences how strong – and how quickly – the storm will develop. It’s also where the strongest winds lurk.Direct and continuous observations of the lower eye-wall would help forecasters understand critical information about the storm’s development. NOAA P-3 “Hurricane Hunters” routinely fly through hurricane eyewalls to gather storm data, but avoid flying close to the ocean because conditions are too hazardous.
AOML coral ecologist, Ian Enochs, was recently awarded with the Department of Commerce Silver Medal Award for his leadership in developing and implementing the Sub-Surface Automated Sampler (SAS). The DOC Silver Medal is awarded to federal employees for exceptional performance characterized by noteworthy contributions which have a direct and lasting impact.
A new study by coral researchers from the University of Miami’s Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies (CIMAS) and NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory suggests that the physical oceanographic habitat characteristics-such as, temperature, light availability, and water flow, of corals, may influence microbe communities and health of coral reefs. The results showed a link between physical habitat and coral microbiology in coral reefs in southeast Florida.
Dr. Luke Thompson, a Northern Gulf Institute Assistant Research Professor at AOML, sailed aboard the Norwegian icebreaker RV Kronprins Haakon in May as part of a research effort focused on characterizing species that dwell in the mesopelagic zone—the region of the ocean 200–1000 meters below the surface. The cruise was undertaken to explore the potential for developing a new fishery based on mesopelagic fish.
Catastrophic Hurricane Dorian will be long remembered as one of the Atlantic basin’s most powerful landfalling hurricanes. NOAA Hurricane Hunters measured Dorian’s intensification from a weak tropical storm in the Caribbean to one of the Atlantic’s fiercest hurricanes. The data they gathered were vital to protecting life and property, supporting NOAA’s efforts to warn vulnerable communities of approaching severe weather through accurate forecasts.
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.