Tag: Indian Ocean

Study: Global warming not driving Kilimanjaro meltdown


September 2014 may be Earth’s warmest September on record.

Staff Report

FRISCO — The meltdown of Kilimanjaro’s ice cap is probably being caused by shifts in regional weather patterns and not by general atmospheric warming from heat-trapping greenhouses.

Using the east African mountain as a poster child for climate change is inaccurate, according to a pair of scientists, one with the University of Washington and the other with the University of Innsbruck.

“There are dozens, if not hundreds, of photos of mid-latitude glaciers you could show where there is absolutely no question that they are declining in response to the warming atmosphere,” said climatologist Philip Mote, a University of Washington research scientist. But climate processes in the tropics are far different from the changes happening in the Arctic and mid-latitudes, he said. Continue reading “Study: Global warming not driving Kilimanjaro meltdown”


Climate: Indian Ocean temps drive East African droughts

Study may unlocks new climate clues

Wet conditions in coastal East Africa are associated with cool sea surface temperatures in the eastern Indian Ocean and warm sea surface temperatures in the western Indian Ocean, which cause ascending atmospheric circulation over East Africa and enhanced rainfall. (Courtesy Jessica Tierney, et al, 2013)

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — A new study may help forecast drought conditions in the oft famine-stricken and geopolitically crucial Horn of Africa. More than 40 million people in the region often live in exceptional drought conditions, most recently in 2010-2011, when the worst drought in decades triggered a humanitarian crisis.

It’s long been clear that El Niño can affect precipitation in the region, very little is known about the drivers of long-term shifts in rainfall. But the study suggests that temperatures in the Indian Ocean may be the key to understanding precipitation patterns in East Africa.

“The problem is, instrumental records of temperature and rainfall, especially in East Africa, don’t go far enough in time to study climate variability over decades or more, since they are generally limited to the 20th century,” said Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution geologist Jessica Tierney, lead author of the paper published in the journal Nature. Continue reading “Climate: Indian Ocean temps drive East African droughts”

Global warming could dry up Asian monsoon

A NASA map shows patterns of monsoon rain distribution.

Study shows how warming temps will displace critical high pressure systems

By Summit Voice

Global warming could cause frequent and severe failures of the Indian summer monsoon in the next two centuries, according to researchers with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Potsdam University.

The effects of these unprecedented changes would be extremely detrimental to India’s economy which relies heavily on the monsoon season to bring fresh water to the farmlands.

“Our study points to the possibility of even more severe changes to monsoon rainfall caused by climatic shifts that may take place later this century and beyond.,” said lead author Jacob Schewe. Continue reading “Global warming could dry up Asian monsoon”

Whale culture: Singing a different tune

Study sheds light on Indian Ocean humpback whales

Humpback whales are slowly recovering from near extinction and new research on Indian Ocean populations may help inform conservation efforts. PHOTO COURTESY NOAA.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY —Humpback whales on opposite sides of the Indian Ocean are singing different songs, a team of marine biologists say, explaining that that their findings are unusual because humpbacks in the same ocean usually all sing very similar tunes.

The differences in song between the Indian Ocean humpback populations most likely indicate a limited exchange between the two regions and may shed new light on how whale culture spreads. Continue reading “Whale culture: Singing a different tune”

Global warming forces elephant seals to dive deeper


Southern ocean study offers detailed data on foraging patterns

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY —The deep-diving elephant seals of Marion Island, in the southwestern Indian Ocean, are going to even greater depths to find prey like squid, as global warming heats up the water.

Scientists with the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research who have been tracking the pinnipeds for the past few years say that warming in the upper levels of the ocean has pushed prey to greater depths than ever before, forcing the elephant seals to follow. Continue reading “Global warming forces elephant seals to dive deeper”

Indian Ocean study key to understanding global weather

A NOAA graph shows how cyclical pulses of atmospheric energy from the Indian Ocean influence the formation of the Pineapple Express weather pattern that can slam the West Coast with intense precipitation.

Pulses of energy from the Madden-Julian oscillation in the Indian Ocean thought to influence weather worldwide

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A team of international researchers is heading to the Indian Ocean to learn more about the genesis of the Madden-Julian oscillation, a cyclical climate phenomenon believed to be the greatest driver of atmospheric variability in the one- to three-month time frame, linking weather and climate.

The pulses of atmospheric energy that move around the globe from the Indian Ocean are believed to be linked with the famed Pineapple Express weather events that bring tremendous amounts of precipitation to the western U.S.. They also  influence the formation of hurricanes, and even the intensity of Colorado’s summer monsoon.

Understanding the origins of the oscillation could help forecasters pinpoint when major winter storms will hit the U.S.
Using aircraft, ships, moorings, radars, numerical models and other tools the six-month mission will study how tropical weather brews in the region and then moves eastward along the equator, with reverberating effects around the globe. Continue reading “Indian Ocean study key to understanding global weather”

South Atlantic current a big player in global climate

Warm, salty water from the south could balance impacts of melting polar ice cap

Agulhas Current system and its "leakage" into the Atlantic Ocean, affecting climate. Credit: Erik van Sebille, RSMAS.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Leakage from an ocean current running along the east coast of Africa could ameliorate some anticipated global warming impacts in the northern hemisphere, according to University of Miami researchers, who recently published a study in the journal nature suggesting that the Agulhas Current could be a significant player in global climate variability.

The Agulhas Current transports warm and salty waters from the tropical Indian Ocean to the southern tip of Africa. There most of the water loops around to remain in the Indian Ocean (the Agulhas Retroflection), while some water leaks into the fresher Atlantic Ocean via giant Agulhas rings.

Once in the Atlantic, the salty Agulhas leakage waters eventually flow into the Northern Hemisphere and act to strengthen the Atlantic overturning circulation by enhancing deep-water formation. Recent research points to an increase in Agulhas leakage over the last few decades, caused primarily by human-induced climate change. Continue reading “South Atlantic current a big player in global climate”