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.
Scientists at AOML are preparing for the active anticipated 2021 Atlantic hurricane season with the introduction of new observation tools, modeling techniques, and field campaigns to improve hurricane intensity and track forecasts.
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.
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.
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.
AOML will be celebrating Earth Day this year with a week-long series of webinars on April 19th-23rd, 2021 from 6:00 p.m-7:00 p.m. AOML’s Virtual Open House will feature NOAA scientists talking about everything from hurricane research to oceanography to coral ecosystems to the new technologies being used to improve our understanding of the world around us. Participants will also get the chance to learn more about what it’s like to be a scientist working with NOAA in the Ask AOML Q&A.
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.
AOML and Fearless Fund Team Up to Tackle Questions of Sargassum’s Life Cycle for Better Inundation Prediction Capabilities
The PIRATA (Prediction and Research Moored Array in the Tropical Atlantic) 2021 cruise aboard NOAA’s Ronald H. Brown has returned home! During their 41 days at sea, the cruise facilitated a collaboration between researchers with NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Lab (AOML) and Fearless Fund, an organization dedicated to ocean solutions, supported by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). This collaboration targets the removal of carbon dioxide from ocean waters by the growth and harvest of seaweed biomass, known as Sargassum.