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Physical oceanography

This category contains 65 posts

Climate Change Is Causing A Stormy Future

A new study verifies a decades-old prediction that tropical cyclones are becoming more intense due to climate change, using a novel, satellite data-driven approach. Emily ChuaI am a Ph.D. candidate at Boston University where I am developing an underwater instrument to study the coastal ocean.  I have a multi-disciplinary background in physics and oceanography (and […]

SURFO Special: The Power of a Swirl

What makes the Mid Atlantic Bight off the U.S. East Coast so unique? SURFO student Madeline Mamer spent this past summer with the Palter Lab at GSO to find out more about the ocean currents there. Nyla HusainI’m a PhD student at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography. I use a small-scale […]

The Need for Speed: The velocities of tides in the Mid-Atlantic

Every 12 hours and 25 minutes, a rush of water move into the coast to create a high tide. How fast does this water move? Currently, global sea levels are rising and it is becoming significantly important to understand how these coastal tides move as millions of Americans live along the eastern seaboard. Two scientists […]

El Golfo de San Lorenzo es un histórico rompecabezas de oxígeno

Adalberto Ubinas Romero es un estudiante de último año en la Universidad de Puerto Rico en Humacao con especialización en biología marina costera. Interesado en la salud de la columna de agua, la patología vegetal y la taxonomía. Aspira a terminar su bachillerato y continuar estudios graduados con el objetivo de obtener un PhD. Diana […]

SURFO Special: The Pettaquamscutt River Estuary (AKA Narrow River): A Body of Water with Unique Characteristics and Unknown Circulation Patterns

Estuaries are unique bodies of water with a mixture of fresh and salt-water that operate much differently when compared to the ocean or fresh bodies of water. In an estuary with two ponds and abnormally deep regions, understanding the circulation patterns is critical to understanding the estuary as a whole. In this study we work […]

SURFO SPECIAL: The oxygen puzzle of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence

Each summer, the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO) hosts undergraduate students from all over the country to participate in oceanographic research. These Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows (SURFOs) have not only been working with GSO scientists, but they also have spent part of their time learning how to communicate this science to […]

Me, Myself, and I: The Solitude of Bacteria above the Southern Ocean

Picture this: shrink yourself down to the 1/1000th the size of the period at the end of this sentence. You are now the size of a bacteria. Due to your dimensions, you are so incredibly light (around 0.0000000000000000007 pounds) that the slightest wind could pick you up and move you around. Around most of the […]

How do greenhouse gases move?: An updated study on nitrous oxide exchange from the ocean to the atmosphere

Our atmosphere is composed of different gases like oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide. These gases can absorb energy, sent from the sun, reflecting off of the Earth’s surface. While scientists can measure and estimate their amounts in the air, gases have the ability to move between the ocean and the atmosphere. This behavior, while interesting, […]

Deep Breathing Underwater

The Labrador Sea is one of the lungs of the ocean. A new study finds that it is taking an even deeper breath than expected—making it more vulnerable to climate change than thought. Emily ChuaI am a Ph.D. candidate at Boston University where I am developing an underwater instrument to study the coastal ocean.  I […]

Impact of Climate Change on Antarctic Waters

A recent study demonstrate the critical importance of Antarctic winds and meltwater to modeling the recent observed changes in Southern Ocean physical and biogeochemical properties. These results have implications for improving future climate projections. Channing PrendI’m a physical oceanography PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California. I use a combination of […]

Key Role of Sea Ice in Glacial Cycles

A recent study using an idealized model finds that changes in Antarctic sea ice and circulation, triggered by atmospheric cooling, stimulate carbon drawdown and thus play a large role in glacial-interglacial transitions. Channing PrendI’m a physical oceanography PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California. I use a combination of numerical models, […]

Phytoplankton Bloom Driven by Volcanic Eruption

A large volcanic eruption in 2018 deposited tons of lava into the Pacific Ocean. Scientists were puzzled that the lava-impacted region of the ocean had explosive growth of microalgae called phytoplankton. They discovered that the lava was heating nutrient-rich waters at the seafloor, which made them rise up to the surface. Channing PrendI’m a physical […]

How important is carbon export by ocean eddies?

A recent paper uses an ocean model to investigate the relative importance of carbon sequestration by eddies transporting phytoplankton into the ocean interior. Results suggest that eddies may not be as important as we thought due to the compensation between transport by clockwise and counter-clockwise eddies. Channing PrendI’m a physical oceanography PhD student at Scripps […]

Antarctic phytoplankton blooms linked to seafloor topography

A recent study uses observations from robotic floats to examine phytoplankton blooms in the Southern Ocean. The data show that biological productivity is closely linked to seafloor topography. This is because currents flowing over seamounts cause enhanced mixing that delivers nutrients to the sunlit upper ocean where phytoplankton grow. Channing PrendI’m a physical oceanography PhD […]

What caused a massive hole in Antarctic sea ice?

In 2016 and 2017, a massive hole developed in the Antarctic sea ice. Scientists investigated the processes that led to this formation and found that it was related to anomalous saltiness and storm activity in the region. Channing PrendI’m a physical oceanography PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California. I use […]

Rugged Southern Ocean phytoplankton weather the storms

Phytoplankton from the “wild west” of the world’s oceans have learned to regrow after storms… over and over and over again. Nyla HusainI’m a PhD student at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography. I use a small-scale computer model to study how physical features like surface waves at the air-sea interface produce […]

Reevaluating the Ocean Conveyer Belt

A recent study suggests that surface processes in the Indian and Pacific Oceans may be more important to global ocean circulation than previously thought. This has implications for our understanding of the global climate system. Channing PrendI’m a physical oceanography PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California. I use a combination […]

Phytoplankton Expanding Northward as Arctic Sea Ice Retreats

A recent study uses satellite data to show that Arctic sea ice retreat is causing changes in the timing and location of spring phytoplankton blooms, which play a large role in the regional ecosystem and carbon cycle. Channing PrendI’m a physical oceanography PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California. I use […]

Mixing Up Microalgae

A recent study shows that within the mixed layer—the region of the upper ocean where temperature and salinity are homogeneous—biological properties may not actually be well mixed. These results have implications for our understanding of phytoplankton biomass distribution. Channing PrendI’m a physical oceanography PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California. I […]

Productivity Comes In Waves

How do waves in the ocean affect phytoplankton? Check out this post to learn more! Melanie FeenI am a first year graduate student at the Graduate School of Oceanography at University of Rhode Island. I use robots and satellites to research the biological carbon pump, which is a series of processes that transfer carbon dioxide […]

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