Category: Scientific Papers (Abstract & PDF)

Increasing coral calcification in Orbicella faveolata and Pseudodiploria strigosa at Flower Garden Banks, Gulf of Mexico

Manzello, D. P., Kolodziej, G., Kirkland, A., Besemer, N., & Enochs, I. C. (2021). Increasing coral calcification in Orbicella faveolata and Pseudodiploria strigosa at Flower Garden Banks, Gulf of Mexico. Coral Reefs, 1-15.

Abstract: Coral reefs are globally in decline and western Atlantic reefs have experienced the greatest losses in live coral cover of any region. The Flower Garden Banks (FGB) in the Gulf of Mexico are high-latitude, remote reefs that are an outlier to this trend, as they have maintained coral cover ≥ 50% since at least 1989. Quantifying the long-term trends in coral growth of key reef-building coral species, and the underlying environmental drivers, leads to a better understanding of local sensitivities to past changes that will ultimately allow us to better predict the future of reef growth at FGB. We obtained coral cores and constructed growth records for two of the most abundant hermatypic coral species at FGB, Pseudodiploria strigosa and Orbicella faveolata. Our records cover 57 yrs of growth for P. strigosa (1957–2013) and 45 yrs for O. faveolata (1970–2014)…

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The Role of the Gulf of Mexico Ocean Conditions in the Intensification of Hurricane Michael (2018)

Le Hénaff, M., Domingues, R., Halliwell, G., Zhang, J. A., Kim, H. S., Aristizabal, M., … & Goni, G. The role of the Gulf of Mexico ocean conditions in the intensification of Hurricane Michael (2018). Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, e2020JC016969.

Abstract: Hurricane Michael formed on October 7, 2018, in the Northwestern Caribbean Sea, and quickly traveled northward through the Gulf of Mexico, making landfall on the Florida panhandle as a devastating Category 5 hurricane only 3 days later. Before landfall, Michael underwent rapid intensification, despite unfavorable atmospheric conditions. Using observations, we characterized the key ocean features encountered by Michael along its track, which are known for favoring hurricane intensification: high sea surface temperatures, upper ocean heat content and low salinity barrier layer conditions. Ocean observations were consistent with suppressed hurricane-induced upper ocean cooling, which could only be observed by underwater gliders, and showed that Hurricane Michael constantly experienced sea surface temperatures above 28°C…

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Direct Measurements of Upper Ocean Horizontal Velocity and Vertical Shear in the Tropical North Atlantic at 4°Ν, 23°W

Perez, R. C., Foltz, G. R., Lumpkin, R., & Schmid, C. (2019). Direct measurements of upper ocean horizontal velocity and vertical shear in the tropical North Atlantic at 4 Ν, 23 W. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 124(6), 4133-4151.

Abstract: The Tropical Atlantic Current Observations Study measured upper ocean horizontal velocity from a mooring at 4°N, 23°W, at discrete depths between 7 and 87 m, in order to observe the temporal and vertical structure of the currents. Between March 2017 and March 2018, mean zonal velocity and vertical shear were strongest between 32 and 37 m. Near‐surface mean eastward currents during this period were weaker than the long‐term mean but within the range of previously observed values given the high interannual variability. Interannual variability of the zonal velocity exceeded that of the meridional velocity, was primarily geostrophically driven, and was strongly influenced by the large‐scale currents. Energetic tropical instability waves (TIWs) were observed in early summer and late fall of 2017…

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Integrated Ocean Carbon

IOC-R. 2021. Integrated Ocean Carbon Research: A Summary of Ocean Carbon Research, and Vision of Coordinated Ocean Carbon Research and Observations for the Next Decade. R. Wanninkhof, C. Sabine and S. Aricò (eds.). Paris, UNESCO. 46 pp. (IOC Technical Series, 158.) doi:10.25607/h0gj-pq41 

Introduction: Knowledge of the ocean carbon cycle is critical in light of its role in sequestering CO2 from the atmosphere and for meeting goals and targets such as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Paris Agreement, the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the associated UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. Increasing levels of CO2 in the ocean, predominantly due to human greenhouse gas emissions, and the partitioning of CO2 into organic and inorganic species have fundamental impacts on ocean carbon cycling and ecosystem health. The Integrated Ocean Carbon Research (IOC-R) effort aims to address key issues in ocean carbon research through investigative and observational goals. It takes advantage of the appreciable knowledge gained from studies over the last four decades of the ocean carbon cycle and its perturbations.

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A quantitative and qualitative decision-making process for selecting indicators to track ecosystem condition

Montenero, K., Kelble, C., & Broughton, K. (2021). A quantitative and qualitative decision-making process for selecting indicators to track ecosystem condition. Marine Policy, 129, 104489.

Abstract: Ecosystem indicators are a well-established method for tracking ecosystem conditions and trends with the purpose of informing ecosystem-based management. The selection of indicators is a key step in the management process; however, because 1) selection can be inherently subjective 2) researchers can be entrenched in the ecosystem components they routinely measure, and 3) some voices may be marginalized in a group setting, the selection, prioritization, and consensus processes can be challenging. To overcome these issues, an indicator selection process was developed herein that incorporated expert opinion both qualitatively and quantitatively.

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Surface Expressions of Atmospheric Thermal Tides in the Tropical Atlantic and Their Impact on Open‐ Ocean Precipitation

Christophersen, J. A., Foltz, G. R., & Perez, R. C. (2020). Surface Expressions of Atmospheric Thermal Tides in the Tropical Atlantic and Their Impact on Open‐Ocean Precipitation. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 125(22), e2019JD031997.

Abstract: Diurnal and semidiurnal variations of atmospheric pressure and surface winds are fundamental to the Earth‐Sun system. Past research in the tropical Pacific shows semidiurnal and diurnal patterns in the zonal and meridional wind anomalies, respectively. While the semidiurnal zonal wind pattern is consistent with atmospheric thermal tidal forcing, it is not yet certain what drives diurnal meridional wind variability. This study examines the diurnal cycle of meridional winds in the tropical Atlantic Ocean across four different seasons and the extent to which they impact the diurnal evolution of open‐ocean precipitation in boreal summer. Comparisons of direct observations from long‐term moored buoys to an atmospheric reanalysis (MERRA‐2) show that MERRA‐2 reproduces diurnal and semidiurnal pressure and wind variations…

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Dispersion of Surface Drifters in the Tropical Atlantic

Van Sebille, E., Zettler, E., Wienders, N., Amaral-Zettler, L., Elipot, S., & Lumpkin, R. (2021). Dispersion of surface drifters in the Tropical Atlantic. Frontiers in Marine Science, 7, 1243.

Abstract: The Tropical Atlantic Ocean has recently been the source of enormous amounts of floating Sargassum macroalgae that have started to inundate shorelines in the Caribbean, the western coast of Africa and northern Brazil. It is still unclear, however, how the surface currents carry the Sargassum, largely restricted to the upper meter of the ocean, and whether observed surface drifter trajectories and hydrodynamical ocean models can be used to simulate its pathways. Here, we analyze a dataset of two types of surface drifters (38 in total), purposely deployed in the Tropical Atlantic Ocean in July, 2019. Twenty of the surface drifters were undrogued and reached only ∼8 cm into the water, while the other 18 were standard Surface Velocity Program (SVP) drifters that all had a drogue centered around 15 m depth….

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Ocean Conditions and the Intensification of Three Major Atlantic Hurricanes in 2017

Domingues, R., Le Hénaff, M., Halliwell, G., Zhang, J. A., Bringas, F., Chardon, P., … & Goni, G. (2021). Ocean Conditions and the Intensification of Three Major Atlantic Hurricanes in 2017. Monthly Weather Review, 149(5), 1265-1286.

Major Atlantic hurricanes Irma, Jose, and Maria of 2017 reached their peak intensity in September while traveling over the tropical North Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, where both atmospheric and ocean conditions were favorable for intensification. In situ and satellite ocean observations revealed that conditions in these areas exhibited (i) sea surface temperatures above 28°C, (ii) upper-ocean heat content above 60 kJ cm−2, and (iii) the presence of low-salinity barrier layers associated with a larger-than-usual extension of the Amazon and Orinoco riverine plumes. Proof-of-concept coupled ocean–hurricane numerical model experiments demonstrated that the accurate representation of such ocean conditions led to an improvement in the simulated intensity of Hurricane Maria for the 3 days preceding landfall in Puerto Rico, when compared to an experiment without the assimilation of ocean observations…..

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A Seasonal Probabilistic Outlook for Tornadoes (SPOTter) in the Contiguous United States Based on the Leading Patterns of Large-Scale Atmospheric Anomalies

Lee, S. K., Lopez, H., Kim, D., Wittenberg, A. T., & Kumar, A. (2021). A Seasonal Probabilistic Outlook for Tornadoes (SPOTter) in the Contiguous United States Based on the Leading Patterns of Large-Scale Atmospheric Anomalies. Monthly Weather Review, 149(4), 901-919.

Abstract: This study presents an experimental model for Seasonal Probabilistic Outlook for Tornadoes (SPOTter) in the contiguous United States for March, April, and May and evaluates its forecast skill. This forecast model uses the leading empirical orthogonal function modes of regional variability in tornadic environmental parameters (i.e., low-level vertical wind shear and convective available potential energy), derived from the NCEP Coupled Forecast System, version 2, as the primary predictors. A multiple linear regression is applied to the predicted modes of tornadic environmental parameters to estimate U.S. tornado activity, which is presented as the probability for above-, near-, and below-normal categories….

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Argo Data 1999–2019: Two Million Temperature-Salinity Profiles and Subsurface Velocity Observations From a Global Array of Profiling Floats

Wong, A. P., Wijffels, S. E., Riser, S. C., Pouliquen, S., Hosoda, S., Roemmich, D., … & Park, H. (2020). Argo Data 1999–2019: Two Million Temperature-Salinity Profiles and Subsurface Velocity Observations From a Global Array of Profiling Floats. Front. Mar. Sci. 7:700. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2020.00700

Abstract: In the past two decades, the Argo Program has collected, processed, and distributed over two million vertical profiles of temperature and salinity from the upper two kilometers of the global ocean. A similar number of subsurface velocity observations near 1,000 dbar have also been collected. This paper recounts the history of the global Argo Program, from its aspiration arising out of the World Ocean Circulation Experiment, to the development and implementation of its instrumentation and telecommunication systems, and the various technical problems encountered….

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