El Niño & Other Oscillations


Study Finds No Direct Link Between North Atlantic Ocean Currents, Sea Level Along New England Coast

A new study by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) clarifies what influence major currents in the North Atlantic have on sea level along the northeastern United States. The study, published June 13 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, examined both the strength of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC)—a conveyor belt of currents that move warmer waters north and cooler waters south in the Atlantic—and historical records of sea level in coastal New England.

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A Double Whammy for Corals

A Double Whammy for Corals

Scientists know that gradually rising ocean temperatures can push corals past a threshold and cause them to bleach. But combine…

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Extreme Climate

Extreme Climate

Extreme climatic events such as unusually severe storms and droughts can have profound consequences for life both on land and in the ocean. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution climate scientist Caroline Ummenhofer studies the ocean’s role in the global water cycle and its effects on extreme weather and climate.

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Warming Ocean Drove Catastrophic Australian Floods

Warming Ocean Drove Catastrophic Australian Floods

New research by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution physical oceanographer Caroline Ummenhofer and Australian scientists suggests that long-term warming of the Indian and Pacific Oceans is increasing the risk of heavy rains in the region.

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WHOI, NEAQ Embark on Expedition to the Phoenix Islands

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. 

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Launching the Argo Armada

Launching the Argo Armada

The Argo program proposes to disperse 3,000 floats, like the one below, throughout the oceans to collect data on oceanic conditions that can be periodically transmitted to shore via satellite.

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A Century of North Atlantic Data Indicates Interdecadal Change

A Century of North Atlantic Data Indicates Interdecadal Change

For hundreds of years mariners have recorded the weather over the world ocean. Some 100 million marine weather reports have accumulated worldwide since 1854, when an international system for the collection of meteorogical data over the oceans was established. These reports include measurements of sea surface temperature, air temperature, wind, cloudiness, and barometric pressure. In the 1980s, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) compiled these weather observations into a single, easily accessible digital archive called the Comprehensive Ocean-Atmosphere Data Set. This important data set forms the basis for our empirical knowledge of the surface climate and its variability over the world’s oceans: One example of a variable system is the phenomenon known as El Nino in the tropical Pacific. A major challenge in climate research is to use these data to document and understand the role of the oceans in long-term—decadal and centennial—climate change.

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