Earth Science, W&C 1: Weather Conditions (MS), Weather and Climate

Understanding Ocean Currents in the Atlantic Ocean

North Atlantic Ocean Circulation and Decadal Sea Level Change During the Altimetry Era

SUMMARY: This article talks about the changes in the temperature of the North Atlantic Ocean in the last two decades due to the North Atlantic Oscillation (a weather phenomenon that is caused by the way water circulates in the ocean). Researchers want to understand the forces behind this change from one decade to the next. Turns out, there are many factors, including: salinity, atmospheric temperatures, and winds.

LESSON COMMENTS: The most important message to take away from this study is that ocean and atmospheric changes are extremely complex. By adding energy to the system (with increased CO2 in the atmosphere), the changes are difficult to predict. Scientists are still trying to understand how these systems work; as mentioned in this paper, it has only been recently that we have the technology to collect more data on the oceans. This is a good article to use in a general discussion on climate change or a more specific lesson on ocean currents. Main ideas that can pulled out of this article are: salinity, buoyancy, ocean currents, trade winds, Gulf Stream, gyres, and storm formation.

Chafik, L., Nilsen, J., Dangendorf, S., Reverdin, G., & Frederikse, T. (2019). North Atlantic Ocean Circulation and Decadal Sea Level Change During the Altimetry Era. Scientific reports, 9(1), 1041. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-37603-6