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Physical Oceanography

This tag is associated with 25 posts

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 […]

Skating on Thin Ice

Newly developed global climate models show us that Arctic Sea ice may be more unstable than we previously thought. The first ice-free summer in the Arctic may be just around the corner. Shawn WangI am a PhD student studying climate physics and marine geology at MIT and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. I am interested in […]

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, […]

How much heat is stored in the oceans: Insights from ice cores

Reviewing: Shackleton, S., et al. “Global ocean heat content in the Last Interglacial.” Nature geoscience 13.1 (2020): 77-81. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41561-019-0498-0 Water is a super-sponge of heat On hot summer days, we often run to the beach or swimming pool to cool off and relax, but did you know that our planet also stays cool thanks to […]

Want to know about water? Ask some sea creatures

There are animals that are constantly traversing places we have barely begun to understand. Animals can’t directly tell us what is going on, but what if we could get the information in a different way? A group of scientists led by Dr. David March set out to show how we can use animal born instruments […]

Does ocean circulation provide prey for a top ocean predator?

Ocean circulation patterns are generally thought to move water from one area to another in the world’s oceans. One example of this includes eddies, swirling water masses that spin off from major ocean currents such as the Gulf Stream off the coast of the eastern U.S. Some of these eddies can bring more productive waters […]

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 […]

Pacific flushing leads to carbon dioxide surges

While it might seem silly to care about what the ocean was doing 10,000 years ago, these old oceans impacted how Earth’s climate is today! Read more here to find out about what might have caused the Pacific Ocean to ‘burp’ the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which helped end the ice age! […]

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 […]

Sea Ice Drives Global Circulation

A recent study uses observational data from the Antarctic to show that sea ice processes help drive the global current system called the overturning circulation. This result suggests that changes to sea ice extent in the Antarctic could impact large-scale circulation as well as the ocean’s uptake of heat and carbon dioxide. Channing PrendI’m a […]

The Declining Japanese Eel Population: Is Ocean Circulation to Blame?

Recent declines in Japanese eel populations have been attributed to overfishing, but that may not be the only factor at play. Chang et al. investigate whether recent changes in ocean circulation might help explain this alarming trend. Julia DohnerJulia is a PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California. Her focus is […]

Uneven Ocean Warming as the Planet Shed its Ice

Our oceans underwent major changes when the planet transitioned from the Last Glacial Maximum to our current interglacial (or “between glaciations”) period. So what was going on in the ocean during this transformation? Julia DohnerJulia is a PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California. Her focus is on biogeochemistry, which, as […]

Making waves in the Southern Ocean

Scientists from the Applied Physics Laboratory in Seattle tested a wave-powered ocean robot in the treacherous, turbulent waters of the Drake Passage for the first time in the name of science. Veronica TamsittI’m a PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla California. My research is focused on the Southern Ocean circulation and […]

Current connections: how far away coastlines influence marine reserves

A research team used a state-of-the-art model to map how four remote Marine Protected Areas are connected to the surrounding oceans, and how human activities are impacting them from afar. Veronica TamsittI’m a PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla California. My research is focused on the Southern Ocean circulation and it’s […]

Best of both worlds: stromatolites of the intertidal zone

Did you know that the earliest form of life on Earth can still be found today? Read more to find out how researchers studied ancient formations called stromatolites growing within the intertidal zone of Cape Elizabeth, South Africa, and how salinity and nutrients influence these rare structures. Katherine BarrettKate is a 4th year PhD candidate […]

Atlantic confirmed as accomplice in Arctic sea ice loss

A team of scientist gathered new evidence from the Arctic Ocean, revealing a new suspect responsible for rapidly melting Arctic sea ice. Veronica TamsittI’m a PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla California. My research is focused on the Southern Ocean circulation and it’s role in climate. For my research I sometimes […]

Is the Deep Ocean Warming Too?

It’s been shown that the surface of the South Pacific Ocean has been warming by absorbing excess heat from the atmosphere, but is this heat making it down to the deep ocean? Deep-ocean warming can lead to more rapid global warming in the future, but detecting it is tricky. Despite the challenges, a team of […]

Tide records could have underestimated global sea level rise

New analysis of 100 years of sea level measurements from tide gauges show that we might be underestimating the global rate of sea level rise. Veronica TamsittI’m a PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla California. My research is focused on the Southern Ocean circulation and it’s role in climate. For my […]

A salty ocean makes a happy home (planet)

The first things we learn about the ocean are that it’s big and salty. We know that its bigness is an important factor for earth’s climate; the authors of this paper demonstrate that its saltiness is too, and that this can affect whether other earth-like planets are truly habitable. caelCael was once told by a […]

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