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Climate Change to Drive More Extreme Heat Waves in the United States

A new analysis of heat wave patterns appearing in Nature Climate Change focuses on four regions of the United States where human-caused climate change will ultimately overtake natural variability as the main driver of heat waves. Climate change will drive more frequent and extreme summer heat waves in the Western United States by late 2020’s, the Great Lakes region by mid 2030’s, and in the northern and southern Plains by 2050’s and 2070’s, respectively.

“These are the years that climate change outweighs natural variability as the cause of heat waves in these regions,” said Hosmay Lopez, a meteorologist at NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic Meteorological Laboratory and the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies and lead author of the study. “Without human influence, half of the extreme heat waves projected to occur in the future wouldn’t happen.”

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Researchers Explore Coral Resiliency in New Experimental Reef Laboratory

Coral researchers at AOML unveiled a new state of the art experimental laboratory this spring at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel campus. The new “Experimental Reef Laboratory” will allow NOAA scientists and colleagues to study the molecular mechanisms of coral resiliency. Modeling studies indicate that thermal stress and ocean acidification will worsen in the coming decades. Scientists designed the Experimental Reef Laboratory to study the combined effect of these two threats, and determine if some corals are able to persist in a changing environment.

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Ocean Temperatures May Hold Key to Predicting Tornado Outbreaks

Tornadoes are one of nature’s most destructive forces. Recent violent and widespread tornado outbreaks in the United States, such as occurred in the spring of 2011, have caused significant loss of life and property. Currently, our capacity to predict tornadoes and other severe weather risks does not extend beyond seven days. Extending severe weather outlooks beyond seven days will assist emergency managers, businesses, and the public prepare the resources needed to prevent economic losses and protect communities. So how can scientists better predict when and where tornadoes are likely to strike, before the tornado season begins?

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New Study Describes Link Between South Atlantic Ocean and Global Rainfall Variability

In a recent paper published in the Journal of Climate, scientists with NOAA and the University of Miami have identified how variability in ocean circulation in the South Atlantic Ocean may influence global rainfall and climate patterns. The study by researchers at NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) and the Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies (CIMAS) suggests that the South Atlantic is a potential predictor of global rainfall variability with a lead-time of approximately 20 years. This link between the South Atlantic Ocean and weather and climate could provide significant long-term insight for water management on a global scale.

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New Antenna System Design Improves Reliability and Significantly Reduces Cost

Scientists and engineers from NOAA have successfully designed, built, and tested a new antenna system that dramatically increases data transmission reliability while drastically reducing operating costs. The new Iridium-based transmission system, developed by NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic & Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) & the Cooperative Institute for Marine & Atmospheric Studies (CIMAS), has no restrictions on data format or size, allowing data from various ocean and land-based observation platforms to be transmitted more securely and at a fraction of the cost of the older Inmarsat-C platform.

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AOML Leads Research Efforts Across Caribbean to Improve Bleaching Predictions

For the third time in recorded history, a massive coral bleaching event is unfolding throughout the world’s oceans, stretching from the Indian Ocean to the Caribbean. Above average sea surface temperatures exacerbated by a strong El Niño could result in the planet losing up to 4,500 square miles of coral this year alone, according to NOAA. The global event is predicted to continue to impact reefs into the spring of 2016.

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Volcano Spewing Carbon Dioxide Drives Coral to Give Way to Algae

Scientists from NOAA and the Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies at the University of Miami have documented a dramatic shift from vibrant coral communities to carpets of algae in remote Pacific Ocean waters where an undersea volcano spews carbon dioxide.

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Indian Ocean Plays Key Role in Global Warming Hiatus

The earth is warming, but temperatures in the atmosphere and at the sea surface that steadily rose in the last half-century have leveled off and slowed in the past decade, causing the appearance of an imbalance in Earth’s heat budget. Scientists are looking into the deep ocean to determine where this additional heat energy could be stored, and recently traced a pathway that leads to the Indian Ocean.

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Study Provides Local-scale Projections of Coral Bleaching Over the Next 100 Years

In a new study published April 1 in Global Change Biology, NOAA oceanographers and colleagues have developed a new method to produce high-resolution projections of the range and onset of severe annual coral bleaching for reefs in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean

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AOML Scientists Featured in Special Women’s History Month Issue of Oceanography Magazine

Women’s History Month is celebrated annually in March and pays tribute to the generations of women whose contributions made a historical impact on society. It is also a month to honor women who are currently working hard to make positive innovations and impressions on the world.

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