North Atlantic Ocean gyre circulation dictates the interannual sea level variability along the U.S. Southeast and Gulf Coasts

Interannual and longer time-scale sea level changes are relatively small amplitude. However,  they can provide background conditions favorable for the occurrence of extreme sea levels that represent a threat for coastal communities, especially in low-lying and flood-vulnerable regions. A new study accepted in Geophysical Research Letters identified the dominant mode of the ocean gyre-scale sea surface height... Continue Reading →

Extreme U.S. Great Plains heat waves are linked to East Asian Monsoon

Heat waves are the leading weather‐related cause of death in the U.S. For example, the most recent U.S. extreme heat waves that occurred over the Great Plains in 2011 and 2012 caused 362 deaths. These events are unusual and largely unpredictable beyond the synoptic time scale. However, their number and severity have increased and are projected... Continue Reading →

Co-variability of salinity, nutrients and coastal currents in the northern Gulf of Mexico and its impact on plankton biomass

The northern Gulf of Mexico (GoM) is a region strongly influenced by river discharges of freshwater and nutrients, which promote a highly productive coastal ecosystem that host commercially valuable marine species. A new study appeared in Scientific Report utilized a regional ocean-biogeochemical model and observations to show that El Niño - Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a main... Continue Reading →

Global meridional overturning circulation revisited

Ocean tracers such as heat, salt and carbon are perpetually carried by the global meridional overturning circulation (GMOC) and redistributed between hemispheres and across ocean basins from their source regions. The GMOC is therefore a crucial component of the global heat, salt and carbon balances. In a new article accepted in Geophysical Research Letter, a... Continue Reading →

Influence of global warming on U.S. heat waves may be felt first in the West and Great Lakes regions

Climate projections for the twenty-first century suggest an increase in the occurrence of heat waves. However, the time at which externally forced signals of anthropogenic climate change (ACC) emerge against background natural variability (time of emergence (ToE)) has been challenging to quantify, which makes future heat-wave projections uncertain. Here we combine observations and model simulations... Continue Reading →

On the fragile relationship between El Niño and California rainfall

This study newly accepted in Geophysical Research Letters examined why California experienced extremely wet winter and spring conditions during the 1997-98 and 1982-83 El Niños, but near normal rainfall during the extremely strong 2015-16 El Niño. Statistical data analyses and simple model experiments were used to show that sufficiently warm and persistent sea surface temperature anomalies... Continue Reading →

Pacific origin of the abrupt increase in Indian Ocean heat content during the warming hiatus

Global mean surface warming has stalled since the end of the 20th century, but the net radiation imbalance at the top of the atmosphere continues to suggest an increasingly warming planet. This apparent contradiction has been reconciled by an anomalous heat flux into the Pacific Ocean, induced by a shift toward a La Nina-like state... Continue Reading →

US regional tornado outbreaks and their links to spring ENSO phases and North Atlantic SST variability

Recent violent and widespread tornado outbreaks in the US, such as occurred in the spring of 2011, have caused devastating societal impact with significant loss of life and property. At present, our capacity to predict US tornado and other severe weather risk does not extend beyond seven days. In an effort to advance our capability... Continue Reading →

Wind-driven ocean dynamics impact on the contrasting sea-ice trends around West Antarctic

Since late 1978, Antarctic sea-ice extent has overall expanded in all seasons in stark contrast to the retreating Arctic sea-ice extent. However, while the sea-ice extent around East Antarctica has increased monotonically, the sea-ice around West Antarctica exhibits regionally and seasonally inhomogeneous trends. For instance, Antarctic sea-ice extent in the East Pacific has decreased substantially... Continue Reading →

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