Category: Physical Oceanography

AOML Scientists Develop First-ever Daily Estimates of the Heat Transport in the South Atlantic Ocean

In a recent article published in the Journal of Geophysical Research – Oceans, scientists at AOML evaluate the variability of the heat transport in the South Atlantic by developing a new method to measure its changes on a daily basis. This study presents, for the first time, full‐depth, daily measurements of the volume and heat transported by the Meridional Overturning Circulation (MOC) in the South Atlantic at 34.5°S based on direct observations.

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AOML Scientists Monitor How Heat and Water are Transported Through the Atlantic Ocean Using Field and Satellite Observations

In a recently published study, scientists at AOML present 28-year long (1993-2020) estimates of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) volume and heat transports at multiple latitudes by merging in-situ oceanographic and satellite observations. By combining ocean observations with satellite data, they were able to estimate the AMOC volume and heat transports in near real time. These data can be used to validate ocean models, to detect climate variability, and to investigate their impact on extreme weather events.

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Unlocking the ocean’s role driving hurricanes

Scientists at NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory are now focusing on what happens where the sea meets the atmosphere to help solve the hurricane intensity problem. The place right above where the air meets the sea is called the planetary boundary layer. The ocean drives global weather. By building on past research, scientists have determined that factors in the boundary layer and underlying ocean such as salinity, temperature, currents, wave and wind patterns, precipitation, are crucial to understanding the energy that fuels a hurricane.

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Tracking Sargassum Inundation Potential for Coastal Communities

A recently published paper presents the Sargassum Inundation Report (SIR), a product that uses a satellite-based methodology to monitor from space areas with coastal inundation of pelagic Sargassum in the tropical Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico. The SIR was created as a response to the need to improve the monitoring and management of Sargassum influxes (e.g., coordinate clean-up), which have major economic, social, environmental, and public health impacts.

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Come Sail Away: Take a Look into a Scientist’s Life Aboard a 6 Week Cruise in the Tropical Atlantic

On February 24, researchers with NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory returned to land, docking in Key West after nearly six weeks aboard the NOAA ship Ronald H. Brown. The scientists were at sea for the PIRATA (Prediction and Research Moored Array in the Tropical Atlantic) Northeast Extension (PNE) cruise, a joint effort between AOML and NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory to maintain an expansion of the PIRATA array of surface moorings into the northern and northeastern sectors of the tropical Atlantic.

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AOML Tests New Hurricane Ocean Profilers for Deployment in 2021 Hurricane Season

In January 2021, AOML in partnership with NOAA’s Aircraft Operations Center (AOC) completed the air launch testing of the Air-Launched Autonomous Micro-Observer (ALAMO) profiling float. This testing cleared the ALAMO floats for flight and deployed from the NOAA P3 Hurricane Hunter aircraft during their hurricane reconnaissance missions. The data collected and transmitted by the ALAMO floats will be used to understand the ocean’s interaction with tropical cyclones and improve coupled hurricane forecasting models.

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Scientists Discover New Current Structure in Gulf of Mexico off Cuban Coast

Scientists at AOML in collaboration with partners at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS) have identified Loop Current related anticyclonic eddies along the northwest coast of Cuba in the southern Gulf of Mexico, named “CubAns” (“Cuba anticyclones”). These eddies play an important role in the ocean circulation associated with the Loop Current. This team of scientists is the first to study CubANs.

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An Experimental Outlook Model Shows a Useful Skill for Predicting Seasonal US Tornado Activity

A new paper published in Monthly Weather Review shows some promise for predicting subseasonal to seasonal tornado activity based on how key atmospheric parameters over the US respond to various climate signals, including El Niño and La Niña activity in the Pacific. In this study, a team of researchers from NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, and Climate Prediction Center presented an experimental seasonal tornado outlook model, named SPOTter (Seasonal Probabilistic Outlook for Tornadoes), and evaluated its prediction skill.

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Scientists at AOML Awarded Ocean Observing Team Award for Western Boundary Time Series Project

NOAA’s Western Boundary Time Series (WBTS) project, alongside partner projects RAPID and MOCHA, have been awarded the inaugural “Ocean Observing Team Award” by The Oceanography Society (TOS). This award recognizes innovation and excellence in sustained ocean observing for scientific and practical applications. The WBTS/RAPID/MOCHA team is recognized for significantly improving our understanding of Atlantic circulation through the breakthrough design of a basin-wide observing system using endpoint measurements to measure the variability of the overturning circulation across wide areas of the ocean. This design provided continuous, cost-effective measurements that led to a transformation in ocean observing and advances in scientific knowledge.

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The Global Drifter Program Launches a New Interactive Map Tool

The Global Drifter Program’s (GDP) Drifter Data Assembly Center (DAC) at AOML has launched a new interactive map of the global drifter array. This new tool features the ability to zoom and scroll, hover the cursor over drifters to get their identification numbers, and click to see data and metadata including deployment information, manufacturer, and drifter type in an ID card that can be viewed as a high-resolution image with an additional click.

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