Tropical Cyclone Impacts on the Strength of the Gulf Stream (credit: American Geophysical Union)
DISCUSSION: One of the most important drivers of various atmospheric phenomena and global weather and/or climate patterns observed around the world is the global ocean system. There is no debate that long-term research has provided a clear connection between the variable strength of different ocean currents and weather-influencing climate patterns. Therefore, whether it is during the Winter-time or the Summer-time months, atmospheric scientists working and researching all over the world always have a keen focus to the strength and overall magnitude of various ocean currents. As far as the East Coast of the United States is concerned, one of the premiere ocean currents which is always closely watches is the world-famous Gulf Stream. The Gulf Stream is a relatively warm ocean current which runs roughly parallel to the East Coast of the United States, but offshore by several hundred miles most of the way. It is also important to note that it is a very important part of the climate system due to its inherent role in pole-ward heat and moisture transport.
During the latter portion of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, there was a ocean glider project deployed along the Gulf Stream by scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. There was a collection of very neat research executed by this ocean glider and some of it included "the glider diving as deep as 1,000 meters and measuring water temperature, salinity, the current’s speed, sediments, and microorganisms like phytoplankton and zooplankton in the water column." This ocean glider made some exceptional research findings which was highlighted by the fact that with the approach of both Hurricane Jose and Hurricane Maria, the forward motion of the Gulf Stream was slowed down by as much as between 25% and 40%. This slowed forward motion was chiefly attributed to the fact that the cyclonically-turning winds associated with the intense circulations of Hurricane Jose and Hurricane Maria were effectively blowing against the forward direction of the Gulf Stream itself. And, furthermore, it was observed that this happened through a good portion of the upper-most layers of the ocean along the track of the Gulf Stream and lasted substantially for a few weeks before returning to conventional northerly flow.
Hence, it goes without saying that by living in the modern era of technology, this has now allowed scientists to measure and observe the global ocean-atmosphere coupled system and details thereof.
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© 2018 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz