The behavior and movement of sea turtles during their first few years at sea, known as the ‘lost years’, remains largely a mystery. Researchers from NOAA-AOML, NOAA Fisheries, University of Central Florida, and Projecto TAMAR recently collaborated on a study to explore the mechanisms of dispersal in Brazilian loggerhead turtles, to fill in some of these important early life history gaps. A previous study conducted in the Gulf of Mexico debunked the historic belief that young sea turtles rely solely on riding currents as a passive mechanism of dispersal. This latest study uncovers new drivers behind the travels of young sea turtles, suggesting there may be more of an ecological implication behind their behavior than previously realized.
In an effort to better understand our microbiomes, scientists from NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) took part in a massive global research collaboration known as the Earth Microbiome Project (EMP), which recently released the first reference database, or atlas, of microbes covering the planet. This guide, released online in Nature today, will allow scientists to collaborate on studies and catalogue microbial diversity at an unprecedented scale.
Over the past 20 years, improvements in hurricane computer modeling, observational instrumentation, and forecaster training have greatly increased forecast accuracy. The many complex interactions that occur within the atmosphere remain to be fully understood, especially at the small scales associated with tropical cyclones. However, these milestones mark critical advances in numerical weather prediction that are paving the way to the next generation of NOAA models. While hurricanes cannot be controlled, vulnerability to these complex storms can be reduced through preparedness. Early warning and improved accuracy of forecasts can help save lives and reduce property damages caused by hurricanes.
In a new study published in Environmental Health Perspectives, a team of scientists including researchers from NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) explore the future risk of waterborne disease in a warming climate. Recently, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) developed an interactive online tool that can be used to monitor coastal marine areas with environmental conditions favorable to Vibrio growth, aquatic bacteria that can cause human illness. The Vibrio Map Viewer is a real-time global model that uses daily updated remote sensing data to determine marine areas vulnerable to higher levels of Vibrio.
Coral scientists at NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) are in the process of analyzing data that may shed light on the sub-lethal effects of sedimentation stress in coral larvae. Scientists recently conducted a series of lab experiments aimed at assessing the effects of Port of Miami dredge sediments on the larval performance of the Caribbean threatened coral Orbicella faveolata (also known as the mountainous star coral). Preliminary analysis suggests significant effects of sedimentation on both the survival and settlement of coral larvae.
AOML is currently in the midst of a multi-year effort called the Intensity Forecasting Experiment (IFEX). IFEX aims to improve the understanding and prediction of intensity change by collecting observations from all stages of a tropical cyclone life cycle—genesis to decay—to enhance current observational models. By building on years of observational expertise and cutting-edge approaches to data integration and model development, hurricane scientists at AOML lead advancements in observations and modeling that have improved intensity forecasts by 20% in recent years.
Observations of the atmosphere are critical to every aspect of weather forecasting. While there are several new and improved tools used to enhance storm forecasts, weather balloons prevail as one of the longest running and most dependable tools deployed by meteorologists. Released twice a day, every day of the year in the U.S. – sometimes more frequently during extreme weather events – weather balloons, also known as radiosondes, provide detailed and reliable data that ultimately help predict the path of storms.
Hurricane Andrew made landfall in Homestead, Florida, on August 24, 1992, with sustained wind speeds maxing out at 165 mph. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the storm, still one of the most catastrophic and costliest hurricanes in US History.
AOML scientists have returned from the third Gulf of Mexico Ecosystems and Carbon Cycle cruise (GOMECC-3), which took place to perform a large-scale survey of ocean acidification trends and dynamics in the Gulf of Mexico aboard NOAA ship Ronald H. Brown from July 18 through August 21, 2017.
On August 21st, 2017, the entire nation celebrated a unique celestial event: the first total solar eclipse to cross the contiguous United States in 99 years.