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.
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.
First-ever Daily Time Series Reveals the Strength of the Deep Ocean Circulation in the South Atlantic
In a recent study published in the journal Science Advances, oceanographers at AOML and the Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies for the first time describe the daily variability of the circulation of key deep currents in the South Atlantic Ocean that are linked to climate and weather. The study found that the circulation patterns in the upper and deeper layers of the South Atlantic often vary independently of each other, an important new result about the broader Meridional Overturning Circulation (MOC) in the Atlantic.
AOML scientists partnered with the U.S. Air Force 53rd Reconnaissance Squadron “Hurricane Hunters” to deploy eight drifting buoys in advance of Tropical Storm Isaias on August 3, 2020 off the Carolina coast, in collaboration with the National Weather Service (NWS), National Hurricane Center (NHC), and Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
Ocean tracers such as heat, salt and carbon are perpetually carried by the global meridional overturning circulation (GMOC) and redistributed between hemispheres and across ocean basins from their source regions. The GMOC is therefore a crucial component of the global heat, salt and carbon balances.
NOAA’s Global Drifter Program is a globally collaborative research project that provides near real-time marine data for the world. It allows us to record data for weather forecasts, track decadal patterns, and pinpoint inter-annual climate variations like El Nino Southern Oscillation. Global drifters provide observational verification for weather models, calibrate satellite observations, and collect and transfer new data about the ocean temperature, currents and barometric pressure.
The manuscript “An enhanced PIRATA data set for tropical Atlantic ocean-atmosphere research”, by Greg Foltz, Claudia Schmid, and Rick Lumpkin, was accepted for publication in Journal of Climate. It describes a new set of daily time series (ePIRATA) that is based on the measurements from 17 moored buoys of the Prediction and Research Moored Array in the Tropical Atlantic (PIRATA).
In a recent study by Lumpkin (2016) looping trajectories of surface drifting buoys were extracted from the global drifter dataset and analyzed in order to examine the distribution of submesoscale to mesoscale vortices. Over 15,000 looping trajectory segments were identified worldwide.
On February 5, 2016, AOML was a proud participant in the annual ‘Take Your Child to Work Day’ tradition. This year’s theme focused on the global ocean observing system, a network of ocean buoys and drifters to which AOML contributes to, that collects vital data on the world’s oceans.
Drifting buoys are a primary tool used by the oceanographic community to measure ocean surface circulation at unprecedented resolution. A drifter is composed of a surface float, which includes a transmitter to relay data via satellite, and a thermometer that reads temperature a few centimeters below the air-sea interface. The surface float is tethered to a holey sock drogue (a.k.a. “sea anchor”), centered at 15 m depth. The drifter follows the ocean surface current flow integrated over the drogue depth.