The ocean produces at least half of the world’s oxygen, is home to most of Earth’s biodiversity, and is the main source of protein for more than a billion people around the world. It is what makes life on Earth possible not only for humans, but for all organisms on our planet.
After a year and a half of concerted effort between NOAA’s National Hurricane Center (NHC), Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML), and other NOAA offices, including the Weather Program Office, the Hurricane and Ocean Testbed (HOT) has been successfully launched in the newly designed William M. Lapenta Laboratory, named in memory of the late director of the National Centers for Environmental Protection. This testbed establishes a physical and virtual collaboration space for researchers and forecasters.
On December 19th, after nearly six weeks at sea, scientists aboard the NOAA ship Ronald H. Brown returned to land and docked in Praia, Cape Verde, completing the PIRATA (Prediction and Research Moored Array in the Tropical Atlantic) Northeast Extension (PNE) cruise.
Scientists at NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML),the Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies (CIMAS) at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, and the Northern Gulf Institute at Mississippi State University have engineered a new instrument that will provide valuable information about the biodiversity of aquatic ecosystems. A recently published paper in Hardware X describes the design and creation of a low-cost, open-source sub-surface automated environmental DNA (eDNA) sampler (SASe), for sampling eDNA in the water column. The SASe represents a milestone for AOML as one of the first pieces of technology to go through a rigorous transition process from the desks of scientists in the laboratory, through organizational approval channels, to the wider scientific community with full accessibility to the public.
In a recently published study in Nature Geoscience, scientists at AOML and international partners quantified the strength and variability of anthropogenic (man-made) carbon (Canth) transport in the North Atlantic Ocean. The study found that buildup of Canth in the North Atlantic is sensitive to the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) strength and to Canth uptake at the ocean’s surface.
In a recent study published in American Geophysical Union (AGU), scientists at NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) contributed to an international study that confirmed warming trends and the possibility of increased rates of warming in one of the deepest channels of the Southwest Atlantic ocean, the Vema Channel.
For the first time ever, Saildrone Inc. and NOAA have used an uncrewed surface vehicle to collect oceanic and atmospheric data from inside the eye of a hurricane. On September 30th, 2021 saildrone 1045 travelled directly into Category 4 Hurricane Sam.
The 2021 hurricane season is off to a busy start with five named storms having already formed in the Atlantic Ocean. Recently, Tropical Storm Claudette travelled directly over three ocean observation platforms, providing key ocean data for the initialization of the ocean component for hurricane forecast models.
AOML Researchers Monitor Important Boundary Currents in the North Atlantic Ocean Through Direct Measurements at Sea
Researchers from the Physical Oceanography Division of AOML conduct regular hydrographic surveys to monitor the western boundary current system in the subtropical North Atlantic Ocean. These cruises are a part of the laboratory’s long-running Western Boundary Time Series (WBTS) project and are designed to monitor both the Florida Current, east of Florida in the Florida Straits, and the North Atlantic Deep Western Boundary Current east of the Bahamas in the North Atlantic Ocean. These western boundary currents are important parts of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC).
In a recent study published in AGU’s Journal of Geophysical Research – Oceans, scientists at AOML identified key ocean features that supported the rapid intensification of Hurricane Michael (2018), despite unfavorable atmospheric conditions for development. The study demonstrates the importance of using realistic ocean conditions for coupled (ocean-atmosphere) hurricane models in order to achieve the most accurate hurricane intensity forecasts.