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The Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (MOC)—a deep-ocean process that plays a critical role in regulating Earth’s climate—is primarily driven by cooling waters west of Europe, finds a new international study published Feb. 1 in Science.
The ocean has a long memory. When the water in today’s deep Pacific Ocean last saw sunlight, Charlemagne was the Holy Roman Emperor, the Song Dynasty ruled China and Oxford University had just held its very first class. During that time, between the 9th and 12th centuries, the earth’s climate was generally warmer before the cold of the Little Ice Age settled in around the 16th century. Now ocean surface temperatures are back on the rise but the question is, do the deepest parts of the ocean know that?
New research led by University College London (UCL) and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) provides evidence that a key cog in the global ocean circulation system hasn’t been running at peak strength since the mid-1800s and is currently at its weakest point in the past 1,600 years. If the system continues to weaken, it could disrupt weather patterns from the United States and Europe to the African Sahel, and cause more rapid increase in sea level on the U.S. East Coast.
Each summer, the South Asian monsoon transforms parts of India from semi-arid into lush green lands able to support farming. The annual infusion of rainfall and resulting runoff into the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and other rivers in the region also has a very different, but no less dramatic, impact on the Bay of Bengal in the northeast Indian Ocean.
In the cold depths along the sea floor, Antarctic Bottom Waters are part of a critical part of the global circulatory system. Over the last decade, scientists have been monitoring changes in these waters, but a new WHOI study suggests these changes are themselves shifting in unexpected ways, with potentially significant consequences for the ocean and climate.
To help understand the ongoing changes in their slice of the ocean, a group of commerical fishermen in southern New England are now part of a fleet gathering much-needed climate data for scientists through a partnership with the Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation (CFRF) and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).
A research team led by the New England Aquarium (NEAQ) and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) are heading out on a 6,000-mile expedition to one of the most remote places on Earth—the Phoenix Islands in the central Pacific Ocean. Throughout the month of September and in the midst of a strengthening Pacific El Nino, researchers will investigate the combined effects of climate change and human activity on the these vast coral reef ecosystems and the diversity of life they sustain.
An international research team reports results of a three-year study of sediment samples collected offshore from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in a new paper published August 18, 2015, in the American Chemical Society's journal, Environmental Science and Technology. The research aids in understanding what happens to Fukushima contaminants after they are buried on the seafloor off coastal Japan.
Shifts in trade winds and ocean currents powered a resurgence of endangered Galapagos Penguins over the past 30 years, according to a new study. These changes enlarged a cold pool of water the penguins rely on for food and breeding—an expansion that could continue as the climate changes over the coming decades, according to a new study led by researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).
Just as crocus and daffodil blossoms signal renewal and the start of a warmer season on land, a similar "greening" event—a massive phytoplankton bloom—unfolds each spring in the Atlantic Ocean from Bermuda to the Arctic. But, what happens to all that organic material produced in the surface ocean?
A new five-year project funded by the National Science Foundation will, for the first time, allow scientists to directly measure these ocean pathways over the entire subpolar region of the North Atlantic. Oceanographers from WHOI and their colleagues from Duke University and the University of Miami will deploy a new observing system to measure the ocean’s overturning circulation in the northern North Atlantic Ocean.
Just days before a team of researchers set out to conduct fieldwork in the East China Sea, Typhoon Morakot—one of the most destructive storms ever to hit Taiwan—made landfall on the island, causing widespread damage and drastically altering the flow of water along the nearby continental shelf. Their research may offer a new understanding of how chaotic and powerful currents form in the East China Sea, and could also reveal how large storms affect those currents.
A NASA-sponsored expedition is set to sail to the North Atlantic's saltiest spot to get a detailed, 3-D picture of how salt content fluctuates in the ocean's upper layers and how these variations are related to shifts in rainfall patterns around the planet.
Scientists from the WHOI, University of Washington, and University of Maine are combining models with data from a flotilla of high-tech robots to shed new light on life-sustaining phytoplankton, including when their spring bloom begins and the role that small-scale eddies play in promoting their growth.
An international team of researchers, including physical oceanographers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), has confirmed the presence of a deep-reaching ocean circulation system off Iceland that could significantly influence the ocean’s response to climate change in previously unforeseen ways.
Researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and their colleagues have discovered that massive, swirling ocean eddies—known to be up to 500 kilometers across at the surface—can reach all the way to the ocean bottom at mid-ocean ridges, some 2,500 meters deep, transporting tiny sea creatures, chemicals, and heat from hydrothermal vents over large distances.
Research led by oceanographers at WHOI and Duke University have teased out a new piece of the North Atlantic circulation puzzle, finding that much of the southward flow of cold water from the Labrador Sea moves along a previously unknown path in the interior of the North Atlantic -- a finding that may impact the work of global warming forecasters.
Using a 218-year-long temperature record from a Bermuda brain coral, researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) have created the first marine-based reconstruction showing the long-term behavior of one of the most important drivers of climate fluctuations in the North Atlantic.
A research team led by Dennis McGillicuddy of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has shown that episodic, swirling current systems known as eddies act to pump nutrients up from the deep ocean to fuel such blooms.
New scientific findings are strengthening the case that rapid climate change may be related to how vigorously ocean currents move heat between low and high latitude.
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