Today, August 25th, the 2020 State of the Climate report was released by the American Meteorological Society, showing 2020 to be one of the hottest years on record since the start of the Industrial Revolution. Even with environmental cooling factors, such as the transition from the El Niño of 2018-2019 to the La Niña of late 2020, global trends indicate the Earth is warming and sea level is rising. Throughout the report, environmental processes that influence climate and these warming trends are documented.
BGC Argo Floats Provide First Year-Round Net Primary Production Estimates for the Western North Atlantic
Phytoplankton drifting near the ocean surface play a critical role in marine biogeochemistry, carbon cycling, and ecosystem health. But measuring the activity of these microscopic organisms is challenging. Although scientists rely on ship-based sampling and satellites to quantify their abundance, both methods have limitations. In a study published recently in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences,* Argo profiling floats equipped with biogeochemical sensors, i.e., BGC Argo floats, were used to obtain the first year-long estimates of phytoplankton in the western North Atlantic Ocean.
In absorbing carbon dioxide (CO2), the oceans play a crucial role in regulating the climate, a role yet to be fully understood. However, the oceans’ ability to contribute to climate regulation may decline and even be reversed in the future. The oceans that are now the blue lungs of our planet, could end up contributing to global warming.
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.
In a new article published in the Journal of Climate, scientists at AOML and the Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Science, with collaborators at Boston University, Texas A&M, and North Carolina State University, document the role of ocean dynamics in linking Pacific atmospheric variability to El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) event generation. The results of the study could be used as a potential predictor of ENSO events up to a year in advance.
Despite their differences, it is still widely thought that Atlantic Niño is analogous to El Niño in many ways. Specifically, the atmosphere-ocean feedback responsible for the onset of Atlantic Niño is believed to be similar to that of El Niño, a process known as Bjerknes feedback. The near-surface trade winds blow steadily from east to west along the equator. When weaker-than-normal trade winds develop in the western Atlantic basin, downwelling equatorial Kelvin waves propagate to the eastern basin, deepening the thermocline and making it harder for the colder, deeper water to affect the surface.
In a recent article published in Geophysical Research Letters, AOML and CIMAS scientists investigated U.S. rainfall variability, focusing on the late summer to mid-fall (August-October) season. The main goal of the study was to identify potential predictors of U.S. precipitation during August-October and to explore the underlying physical mechanisms.
Two Bacteria Types Linked With Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease Hint At How This Deadly Disease Might Spread
New research on stony coral tissue loss disease reveals similar “bacterial signatures” among sick corals and nearby water and sediments for the first time. Results hint at how this deadly disease might spread, and which bacteria are associated with it, on Florida’s Coral Reef.
Connection between Madden-Julian Oscillation and U.S Tornadoes may Provide Earlier Warning for Storms
Recently, scientists at NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) and the Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies (CIMAS) explored the physical causes between U.S. tornado activity and the Madden-Julian Oscillation. In a study recently published in the Journal of Climate (Kim et al., 2020), they showed that a series of key atmosphere-ocean processes are involved in the remote impact of Madden-Julian Oscillation on U.S. tornado activity.
In a recently published study, AOML hurricane researchers used multiple computer model forecasts to gain a better understanding of how Hurricane Michael, which made landfall in the panhandle of Florida with winds up to 162 mph, rapidly intensified despite strong upper-level wind shear which usually weakens hurricanes. By contrasting two sets of forecasts, the study found that Michael only rapidly intensified when rainfall completely surrounded Michael’s center, and when the eye of the storm itself was located in nearly the same place at different heights.