Tag Archives: Pacific Ocean

Pacific and Indian ocean atoll islands stable or growing in size

Duvat, V. K. E. (2018). A global assessment of atoll island planform changes over the past decades. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, e557. doi:10.1002/wcc.557

Over the past decades, atoll islands exhibited no widespread sign of physical destabilization in the face of sea-level rise. A reanalysis of available data, which cover 30 Pacific and Indian Ocean atolls including 709 islands, reveals that no atoll lost land area and that 88.6% of islands were either stable or increased in area, while only 11.4% contracted. Atoll islands affected by rapid sea-level rise did not show a distinct behavior compared to islands on other atolls. Island behavior correlated with island size, and no island smaller than 10 ha decreased in size. This threshold could be used to define the minimum island size required for human occupancy and to assess atoll countries and territories’ vulnerability to climate change. Beyond emphasizing the major role of climate drivers in causing substantial changes in the configuration of islands, this reanalysis of available data indicates that these drivers explain subregional variations in atoll behavior and within-atoll variations in island and shoreline (lagoon vs. ocean) behavior, following atoll-specific patterns. Increasing human disturbances, especially land reclamation and human structure construction, operated on atoll-to-shoreline spatial scales, explaining marked within-atoll variations in island and shoreline behavior. Collectively, these findings highlight the heterogeneity of atoll situations. Further research needs include addressing geographical gaps (Indian Ocean, Caribbean, north-western Pacific atolls), using standardized protocols to allow comparative analyses of island and shoreline behavior across ocean regions, investigating the role of ecological drivers, and promoting interdisciplinary approaches. Such efforts would assist in anticipating potential future changes in the contributions and interactions of key drivers.

Increase in atmospheric CO2 attributed to deep Pacific Ocean

Jianghui Du, Brian A. Haley, Alan C. Mix, Maureen H. Walczak & Summer K. Praetorius. Flushing of the deep Pacific Ocean and the deglacial rise of atmospheric CO2 concentrations Nature Geoscience (2018)

During the last deglaciation (19,000–9,000 years ago), atmospheric CO2 increased by about 80 ppm. Understanding the mechanisms responsible for this change is a central theme of palaeoclimatology, relevant for predicting future CO2 transfers in a warming world. Deglacial CO2 rise hypothetically tapped an accumulated deep Pacific carbon reservoir, but the processes remain elusive as they are underconstrained by existing tracers. Here we report high-resolution authigenic neodymium isotope data in North Pacific sediment cores and infer abyssal Pacific overturning weaker than today during the Last Glacial Maximum but intermittently stronger during steps of deglacial CO2 rise. Radiocarbon evidence suggestive of relatively ‘old’ deglacial deep Pacific water is reinterpreted here as an increase in preformed 14C age of subsurface waters sourced near Antarctica, consistent with movement of aged carbon out of the deep ocean and release of CO2 to the atmosphere during the abyssal flushing events. The timing of neodymium isotope changes suggests that deglacial acceleration of Pacific abyssal circulation tracked Southern Hemisphere warming, sea-ice retreat and increase of mean ocean temperature. The inferred magnitude of circulation changes is consistent with deep Pacific flushing as a significant, and perhaps dominant, control of the deglacial rise of atmospheric CO2.

Record warm waters off California coast

“California has seen a range of natural extremes this summer, from heat waves to wildfires. The state can now add to the list record-warm ocean temperatures. On August 1, 2018, researchers from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography observed water temperatures of 25.9 degrees Celsius (78.6 degrees Fahrenheit) along the coast at La Jolla, exceeding the previous record of 25.8°C (78.4°F) set in 1931.” click here

Ocean cycles synchronous with global temperature fluctuations

“Now isn’t it a bit odd that the authors made absolutely no mention of the ocean cycles in the abstract? As our regular readers know, the ocean cycles run surprisingly synchronous with the fluctuations in global temperatures, i.e. the key factors here are the AMO and PDO.” click here

South Pacific island shorelines expand

“the dramatic impacts of climate change felt on coastlines and people across the Pacific are still anecdotal” see discussion here

Michino Hisabayashi, John Rogan & Arthur Elmes. Quantifying shoreline change in Funafuti Atoll, Tuvalu using a time series of Quickbird, Worldview and Landsat data Journal GIScience & Remote Sensing Volume 55, 2018 Issue 3

Funafuti Atoll, Tuvalu is located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, which has experienced some of the highest rates of global sea-level rise over the past 60 years. Atoll islands are low-lying accumulations of reef-derived sediment that provide the only habitable land in Tuvalu, and are considered vulnerable to the myriad possible impacts of climate change, especially sea-level rise. This study examines the shoreline change of twenty-eight islands in Funafuti Atoll between 2005 and 2015 using 0.65 m QuickBird, 0.46 m WorldView-2, and 0.31 m WorldView-3 imagery using an image segmentation and decision tree classification. Shoreline change estimates are compared to previous study that used a visual interpretation approach. The feasibility of estimating island area with Landsat-8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) data is explored using CLASlite software. Results indicate a 0.13% (0.35 ha) decrease in net island area over the study time period, with 13 islands decreasing in area and 15 islands increasing in area. Substantial decreases in island area occurred on the islands of Fuagea, Tefala and Vasafua, which coincides with the timing of Cyclone Pam in March, 2015. Comparison between the WorldView-2 shoreline maps and those created from Landstat-8 indicate that the estimates tend to be in higher agreement for islands that have an area > 0.5 ha, a compact shape, and no built structures. Ten islands had > 90% agreement, with percent disagreements ranging from 2.78 to 100%. The methods and results of this study speak to the potential of automated EoV shoreline monitoring through segmentation and classification tree approach, which would reduce down data processing and analysis time. With the growing constellation of high and medium spatial resolution satellite-based sensors and the development of semi or fully automated image processing technology, it is now possible to remotely assess the short and medium-term shoreline dynamics on dynamic atolls. Landsat estimates were reasonably matched to those derived from fine resolution imagery, with some caveats about island size and shape.