Outreach & Education

Outreach & Education

Welcome to the AOML Outreach and Education page! We love sharing our research with the public and hope to form an environmentally literate community that can make sound and educated environmental decisions.

You can find material and resources on this page  about coral reefs, Florida ecosystems, hurricanes, ocean currents, and more. If you are looking for educator or student specific material, use the icons at the top of the page to jump to the material that is most relevant to your needs, otherwise enjoy AOML for All and explore the page at your leisure.

AOML Question and Answer

Do you have questions for us here at AOML? We would like to answer them for you! Submit your question for AOML in the submission box below. Any question related to AOML, its mission, and its research are welcome and encouraged. Enjoy reading through previously answered submissions.

The Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) is a lab within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NOAA is a government agency that is made up of many different laboratories across the country. Some examples of other NOAA labs include NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) and NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL).

Yes, AOML collaborates with multiple international partners. While AOML has many partnerships across the Atlantic, AOML’s research also has broader impacts across the global community. Some examples of these international partnerships are the Cape Eleuthera Institute in the Bahamas, the Korean Institute of Ocean Science and Technology, Australia Bureau of Meteorology, and the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research. 

NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is a government agency that researches many different aspects of our ocean and atmosphere. AOML is a laboratory within NOAA that is made up of three divisions. AOML scientists research specific topics within ocean chemistry, marine ecosystems, physical oceanography, and hurricanes.

Virtual Tour

We Drive Innovative Science

Facilities at AOML

Ever wonder what it’s like to work at a scientific lab? AOML’s facility is a unique and historic building that was created to make possible all of the diverse research we conduct. Take a virtual tour to learn more about the places and spaces of our lab and how we use them to collaborate and innovate in the work we do.

Engage with Us!

AOML is a proud part of the community of South Florida. We frequently participate at local events to provide education about what we do. Check out our outreach photos to see events we’ve hosted, and look below for news on events and opportunities.

Find an Expert

Looking for an expert in a particular topic? AOML provides information from experts in their field for these major thematic areas:

  • Oceans & Weather, Ocean Circulation, Ocean Observing Systems, Physical Oceanography, Hurricane Observations & Modeling, Ocean Carbon, Ocean Acidification, Coastal Marine Ecosystems, Coral Reef Ecosystems, ‘Omics and others.

Contact our team to learn more.

Outreach and Media Requests

Our team is here to make sure our stakeholders, partners, internal offices and the public know about the great research being done at our lab. We also provide help with science presentations, handle internal reporting to OAR and NOAA, help field media requests and plan and staff events.

Determine the point of contact for your project on our Communications Services Page, or send a general email to AOML Communications.

NOAA Regional Library

The NOAA Miami Regional Library is a branch of the Library and Information Services Division NOAA Central Library in Silver Spring, Maryland. There are two libraries that comprise the Miami branch: one located at the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) and the other located at the National Hurricane Center (NHC). The following information concerns the AOML location. Click below to visit the library’s homepage.

Photo Gallery

Visit the photo gallery for images relating to our field work, events, and research subjects over the years.

eAUV post-deployment. Photo Credit: NOAA.
Closeup of a CTD instrument. Photo Credit: NOAA.
Alyssa and Austin at Sunset. Photo Credit Kelly Montero, NOAA.

aomlforall

AOML for All

AOML aims to provide relevant and up-to-date education and outreach materials for all. We want to provide you  information about ocean chemistry and ecosystems, hurricanes, and physical oceanography so as a community, we can be environmentally literate and be prepared to make sound and educated decisions.

Be Prepared for Hurricane Season

We are building a Weather-Ready Nation.

Hurricane Prep Week.

Join Hurricane Hunter and scientist Heather Holbach, Ph.D as she explains how hurricanes are categorized, what storm surge is, and how hurricane hunters take observations to help improve forecasts.

Watch AOML’s Open House Webinars

We recently hosted a series of webinars about what AOML does and how it contributes to scientific advancement across the globe.

Check out the recorded webinars below.

Printable Research Highlights

Explore these printable research highlights to learn more about the main AOML research topics such as how we study ecosystems, red tide, and ocean acidification in the Gulf of Mexico. You can also find information on cutting-edge ‘Omics research, which studies genetic material found in the water column, called environmental DNA.  Information is also provided on extreme weather research and the importance of improving our forecasting systems. AOML uses these fliers when communicating the importance of our research with stakeholders or presenting to Congress on Capitol Hill.

Conducting Research in the Gulf of Mexico

screenshot of the first page of the flyer for research in the Gulf of Mexico

‘Omics Technology for the Blue Economy

The Value of Hurricane Forecasts

Forecast Improvements with Ocean Observations

Improving Early Warnings for Extreme Weather

Interactive Storymaps

Featured Storymap

 

NOAA-led Cruise Expands Sensors for Climate Prediction

Follow along with scientists at AOML as they travel from St. Petersburg, FL to Praia, Cape Verde to service and collect data from ocean buoys in support of the PIRATA Northeast Extension project. PIRATA buoys provide critical data that are used to develop and improve predictive models of the Atlantic climate system, as well as used for ocean and weather prediction.

Frequently Asked Questions about Hurricanes

Why Don't Nuclear Weapons Destroy Hurricanes?

Radioactive fallout from such an operation would far outweigh the benefits and may not alter the storm.  Additionally, the amount of energy that a storm produces far outweighs the energy produced by one nuclear weapon.

How Much Energy is Released from a Hurricane?

The energy released from a hurricane can be explained in two ways: the total amount of energy released by the condensation of water droplets (latent heat), or the amount of kinetic energy generated to maintain the strong, swirling winds of a hurricane. The vast majority of the latent heat released is used to drive the convection of a storm, but the total energy released from condensation is 200 times the world-wide electrical generating capacity, or 6.0 x 1014 watts per day. If you measure the total kinetic energy instead, it comes out to about 1.5 x 1012 watts per day, or ½ of the world-wide electrical generating capacity. It would seem that although wind energy seems the most obvious energetic process, it is actually the latent release of heat that feeds a hurricane’s momentum.

What Causes Tropical Cyclones?

In addition to hurricane-favorable conditions such as temperature and humidity, many repeating atmospheric phenomenon contribute to causing and intensifying tropical cyclones. For example, African Easterly Waves are winds in the lower troposphere (ocean surface to 3 miles above) that travel from Africa at speeds of about 3mph westward as a result of the African Easterly Jet. These winds are seen from April until November. About 85% of intense hurricanes and about 60% of smaller storms have their origin in African Easterly waves.

The Saharan Air Layer is another significant seeding phenomenon for tropical storms.  It is a mass of dry, mineral-rich, dusty air that forms over the Sahara from late spring to early fall and moves over the tropical North Atlantic every 3-5 days at speeds of 22-55mph (10-25 meters per second). The air mass is 1-2 miles deep, exists in the lower troposphere, and can be as wide as the continental US. These air masses have significant moderating impacts on tropical cyclone intensity and formation because the dry, intense air can both deprive the storm of moisture and interfere with its convection by increasing the wind shear.

Many tropical cyclones form due to these larger scale atmospheric factors. Hurricanes that form fairly close in our basin are called Cape Verde hurricanes, named for the location where they are formed. Cape Verde origin hurricanes can be up to five per year, with an average of around two.

Why are Tropical Cyclones Always Worse on the Right Side?

If a hurricane is moving to the west, the right side would be to the north of the storm, if it is heading north, then the right side would be to the east of the storm. The movement of a hurricane can be broken into two parts- the spiral movement and its forward movement. If the hurricane is moving forward, the side of the spiral with winds parallel and facing forward in the direction of movement will go faster, because you are adding two velocities together. The side of the spiral parallel to the movement, but going in the opposite direction will be slower, because you must subtract the velocity moving away (backwards) from the forward velocity.

For example, a hurricane with 90mph winds moving at 10mph would have a 100mph wind speed on the right (forward-moving) side and 80 mph on the side with the backward motion.

How are Hurricanes Named?

During the 19th century, hurricane names were inspired by everything from saints to wives to unpopular politicians. In 1978, it was agreed that the National Hurricane Center would use alternating men and women’s names following the practice adopted by Australia’s bureau of Meteorology three years earlier in 1975.

Today, a list of potential names is published by the United Nations World Meteorological Organization for the Atlantic basin. These names extend into 2023, and the list repeats every seventh year. If a particularly damaging storm occurs, the name of that storm is retired. Storms retired in 2017 include Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Nate. If there are more storms than names on the list in a given season, the National Hurricane Center will name them using the Greek alphabet. Lastly, if a storm happens to move across basins, it keeps the original name. The only time it is renamed if it dissipates to a tropical disturbance and reforms.

AOML Keynotes Newsletter

Stay up-to-date with all of the recent happenings at AOML by reading our AOML Keynotes Newsletter. This is quarterly newsletter covers events at AOML such as awards given to our researchers, field activities, research findings, and more.

October - December 2021

January - March 2022

April -June 2022

Biscayne Bubbles Educational Flyers

The Miami area is a fast-growing urban environment in close proximity to fragile coastal ecosystems in particular, Biscayne Bay. To help those that live on and near the bay learn about its many biological, chemical, and physical characteristics, the local Key Biscayne newspaper, The Islander, teamed up with the Virginia Key Science Community to produce this educational series. This series, named “Biscayne Bubbles” was originally published on a weekly basis in the The Islander and is now available to view online.

“Biscayne Bubbles” introduces local biota and an overview of the local research conducted by NOAA, the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, and Florida Sea Grant.

To view the Bubbles, mouse over each one and click to see the PDF.

The Miami area is a fast-growing urban environment in close proximity to fragile coastal ecosystems in particular, Biscayne Bay. To help those that live on and near the bay learn about its many biological, chemical, and physical characteristics, the local Key Biscayne newspaper, The Islander, teamed up with the Virginia Key Science Community to produce this educational series. This series, named “Biscayne Bubbles” was originally published on a weekly basis in the The Islander and is now available to view online.

“Biscayne Bubbles” introduces local biota and an overview of the local research conducted by NOAA, the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, and Florida Sea Grant.

To view the Bubbles, mouse over each one and click to see the PDF.

AOML on Social Media

Check us out on Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube for pictures and videos our scientists take in the field.  On our social media accounts we post new research finding announcements, fun facts, scientist features, and even current job openings.

educators

Educators

AOML strives to provide educational materials that can be used by educators as supplemental material to required curriculum. Our teaching resources bring the lab right to your classroom- virtual lab walkthroughs, virtual guestfield guides, and classroom activities all at your fingertips

AOML Scientist Explains Steering Flow

How Hurricanes Move

Gus Alaka, a Hurricane Hunter scientist at AOML got an inquiry from a student about how hurricanes move, especially on the east coast of the U.S. He put together a few slides that explain what steering flow is and how it affects landfalling storms. Download the PDF powerpoint here, or click through the slides to the right to learn more.

edna

Exploring Environmental DNA Video Series

Join Megan Deehan, a marine conservation student at the University of Miami, and Nathan Formel, a researcher at NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) in an exciting series exploring environmental DNA or “eDNA”,  environmental DNA sampling technology developed at NOAA AOML, and an at home, hands-on activity for DNA extraction.

Video Cover Exploring Environmental DNA: What is eDNA?

Exploring Environmental DNA: What is eDNA?

Under 4 minutes

Video Cover Exploring Environmental DNA: The New Subsurface Automated Sampler for Environmental DNA

Exploring Environmental DNA: The New Subsurface Automated Sampler for Environmental DNA

4:25 minutes

Exploring Environmental DNA: At Home DNA Extraction Demonstration

4:45 minutes

Engage, explore, explain, elaborate, and evaluate (5 E’s) the concept of environmental DNA by including the “Exploring Environmental DNA” video series in classroom lessons. The videos follow a flexible format that can be watched in order or individually, as needed, to supplement an entire lesson or lesson segment, classroom discussion, and activity. See suggested lesson ideas below for the 5 E’s.

Engage

Discuss with students what they already know about DNA or have seen on television shows or the internet. Forensic DNA may be important in a crime scene or used to solve a mystery. DNA may also be used to learn more about a person’s family history and health, understand their ancestry, and track their family tree. Similarly, DNA can even be used to find out more about a pet’s breed history, behavioral tendencies or health issues. Watch the “Exploring Environmental DNA” video series to begin to learn how DNA is relevant in a marine environment.

Peak student interest by beginning with a hands-on activity that represents the general process of extracting human DNA. Gather materials that are common household items and follow the easy steps of this demonstration shown in the “Exploring Environmental DNA: At Home DNA Extraction Demonstration” video. 

Suggested videos: “Exploring Environmental DNA: What is eDNA?”, “Exploring Environmental DNA: The New Subsurface Automated Sampler for Environmental DNA”, “Exploring Environmental DNA: At Home DNA Extraction Demonstration”

Explore

Students will investigate the concept of DNA in a marine environment. Consider how “DNA” becomes “environmental DNA” through the interaction and shedding of DNA from an animal into its environment. Follow the journey of Megan Deehan, a marine conservation student, as she learns how DNA is expelled by different animals into the water surrounding their marine habitat. 

Suggested video: “Exploring Environmental DNA: What is eDNA?”

Explain

Students will develop a deeper understanding of what environmental DNA (eDNA) can tell us about marine ecosystems and how scientists use eDNA to monitor animals in an environment. Apply the concept of eDNA to food web dynamics. Students can explain how eDNA can be used to understand animal populations and presence in a habitat. Consider how changes in animal populations may affect food sources, different trophic levels, and food webs. 

Suggested videos: “Exploring Environmental DNA: What is eDNA?”, “Exploring Environmental DNA: The New Subsurface Automated Sampler for Environmental DNA”

Elaborate

The understanding of environmental DNA (eDNA) will be extended through learning about eDNA sampling technology. Students will learn about the design and innovation of the Subsurface Automated Sampler for environmental DNA or the “SASe” developed at NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory.

Consider the challenges associated with environmental sampling and marine field work. Students can problem solve and propose solutions for overcoming challenges of marine field research. Students may create a design of their own eDNA sampler. Consider how it would need to  function to optimize eDNA sampling. How would this help marine research?

Discuss why it might be important for scientists to monitor ecosystem biodiversity, especially regarding invasive and endangered species. How can eDNA be used to monitor the overall health of marine ecosystems?

Students can broaden their understanding of DNA by participating in the hands-on DNA extraction demonstration featured in the “Exploring Environmental DNA: At Home DNA Extraction Demonstration” video. 

Suggested videos: “Exploring Environmental DNA: The New Subsurface Automated Sampler for Environmental DNA” and “Exploring Environmental DNA: At Home DNA Extraction Demonstration”

Evaluate

Students can explain the role of each ingredient featured in the “Exploring Environmental DNA: At Home DNA Extraction Demonstration” video and how it helps to extract DNA from the solution. Students can create a diagram to visually explain the demonstration, labeling the ingredients or showing the stages and steps. 

 Suggested video: “Exploring Environmental DNA: At Home DNA Extraction Demonstration”

  • Education Standards Supported by the ``Exploring Environmental DNA`` Video Series

    Next Generation Sunshine State Standards

    SC.5.N.1.3: Recognize and explain the need for repeated experimental trials.

    SC.5.N.2.2: Recognize and explain that when scientific investigations are carried out, the evidence produced by those investigations should be replicable by others.

    SC.35.CS-CC.1.3: Identify ways that technology can foster teamwork, and collaboration can support problem solving and innovation.

    SC.6.N.1.2: Explain why scientific investigations should be replicable.

    SC.6.N.1.5: Recognize that science involves creativity, not just in designing experiments, but also in creating explanations that fit evidence.

    SC.6.N.2.3: Recognize that scientists who make contributions to scientific knowledge come from all kinds of backgrounds and possess varied talents, interests, and goals.

    SC.7.L.16.1: Understand and explain that every organism requires a set of instructions that specifies its traits, that this hereditary information (DNA) contains genes located in the chromosomes of each cell, and that heredity is the passage of these instructions from one generation to another.

    SC.68.CS-CS.6.6: Design and demonstrate the use of a device (e.g., robot, e-textile) to accomplish a task, individually and collaboratively. 

    SC.68.CS-CP.3.1: Select appropriate tools and technology resources to accomplish a variety of tasks and solve problems.

    Next Generation Science Standards

    MS-LS2-2: Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems.

    MS-LS1-5: Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how environmental and genetic factors influence the growth of organisms.

    MS-ESS3-3: Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.

    MS-LS2-5 Ecosystems: Evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services.

    Ocean Literacy Principles

    #5: The ocean supports a great diversity of life & ecosystems.

    #7: The ocean is largely unexplored.

  • Supplemental Resources About Environmental DNA

    Environmental DNA News Stories

    New eDNA Sampling Upgrade -Subsurface Automated Sampler for Environmental DNA

    The DNA Found in Sea Turtle Poop Could Be Scientists Newest Monitoring Tool

    Solving an eDNA Mystery

    International Cooperation Drives Oceanographic Discovery

    eDNA Connections in Marine Food Webs

    eDNA Mesopelagic Fishes

    Tracking Marine Life with Invisible Clues: eDNA Enhances Ecosystem Monitoring

    Publications

    Formel, N., Enochs, I. C., Sinigalliano, C., Anderson, S. R., & Thompson, L. R. (2021). Subsurface automated samplers for eDNA (SASe) for biological monitoring and research. HardwareX, 10, e00239. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ohx.2021.e00239

    Chavez, Min, M., Pitz, K., Truelove, N., Baker, J., LaScala-Grunewald, D., Blum, M., Walz, K., Nye, C., Djurhuus, A., Miller, R., Goodwin, K., Muller-Karger, F., Ruhl, H., & Scholin, C. (2021). Observing life in the sea using environmental DNA. Oceanography, 34(2), 102–119. https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2021.218

Virtual Guest Speakers

AOML is excited to provide a new Virtual Guest Speaker section that features presentations by AOML scientists. These presentations are about their current research and why they love being scientists. Each video is aimed towards a specific grade level between K-12, and features questions previously asked by students in that age group. We hope educators can use these guest speaker presentations to supplement their curriculum when teaching environmental topics.

Mayra Pazos

Working in the Physical Oceanography Division

2 minutes

Lisa Bucci

Working in the Hurricane Research Division

2.5 minutes

Chris Kelble, Ph.D.

Working in the Ocean Chemistry and Ecosystem Division

2.5 minutes

Lev Looney

Hurricanes: The Basics and Forecasting

6th Grade Learning Level

20 minutes

Allyson DeMerlis

Why Are Coral Reefs Important?

Middle School Learning Level

30 Minutes

Katie Eaton

Understanding pH and Ocean Acidification

 High School Learning Level

17 minutes

Renellys Perez

What it is like to be an Oceanographer

 Middle School Learning Level

21 minutes

NOAA-wide Educator Opportunities

While AOML provides multiple educator resources and materials, there are also opportunities throughout NOAA that we think are valuable to advertise to the educators who visit our page. Check out NOAA Education’s complete list of NOAA Educator Opportunities, which includes workshops, fellowships, trainings, course materials, and more.

Jana Goldman teaches AOML scientists about plain language communication. Image credit: NOAA

students

Students

Students are the next generation of scientists and NOAA employees, so we believe it is important to provide them with the most materials we can to help with their current studies. We also want to provide accessible resources for finding internship and employment opportunities here at AOML and throughout NOAA.

In the student section you will find AOML and other NOAA-wide internships and employment opportunities, as well as materials and resources that can aid in research papers and other school projects.

Student Opportunities

High School Internships

Ever wonder what it’s like to work in a NOAA lab? AOML offers internships for high school students to gain experience with doing hands-on research and conducting science to help our community and serve the nation. We provide internship opportunities for high school students in the areas of Biology, Chemistry, Physical/Earth Science, Physics, and Environmental Science.

Contact Dalynne Julmiste for more information on how you can become an intern at NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory.

Graduate and Undergraduate Internships

Our internships, fellowships, and scholarships provide students with opportunities, hands-on learning and skills development in Oceans & Weather, Ocean Circulation, Ocean Observing Systems, Physical Oceanography, Hurricane Observations & Modeling, Ocean Carbon, Ocean Acidification, Coastal Marine Ecosystems, Coral Reef Ecosystems, ‘Omics and others. Work experience under the guidance and supervision of supportive scientists and engineers who have relevant knowledge and skills in their field.

Prepare for your career with valuable lab experience under one of our scientists. AOML offers internships for a wide variety of research interests including:

Ocean Chemistry & Ecosystems

Marine Chemistry, GenomicsProteomicsTranscriptomics, Coral Reef Ecosystems, Integrated Ecosystem Assessments, and Ecosystem modeling

Hurricane & Atmospheric Research

Conduct research with hurricane observations under the supervision of our team of hurricane scientists. Researchers at AOML conduct experiments using our state-of the-art hurricane research models, look at past data

Physical Oceanography and Observations Engineering

Use ocean observation data and AOML products and methods to monitor upper-ocean conditions.

For NOAA-wide internships, visit NOAA’s Student Opportunities page or download the PDF below for detailed information about NOAA student and early career opportunities.

NOAA-wide Student Opportunities

While there are multiple student opportunities within AOML, there are also opportunities throughout NOAA that we think are valuable to advertise to the students who visit our page. Check out NOAA Education’s complete list of NOAA Student Opportunities, including internships, fellowships, scholarships, and more.

AOML Publication Database

All AOML publications can be found in the AOML publication database and can be searched for by author, year, topic, division, and more. Students can use this archive to easily access AOML sources when doing research on the topics being studied at AOML.

How to Cite AOML

When citing a web page with publication date

When citing a webpage on the AOML website that has a publication date, such as a web story or blog post, please use the following citation format:

NOAA. River Runoff Creates a Buffer Zone for Ocean Acidification in the Gulf of Mexico. Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory website, https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/eutrophication.html, 2/15/22.

When citing a web page without a publication date

When citing a webpage on the AOML website that does not have a publication date, such as the outreach and education page or the data page, please use the following citation format:

NOAA. Student opportunities at AOML. Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory website, https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/podcast/july17/nop08-historical-maps-charts.html, accessed on 3/13/22.