Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences

Special Seminar: An Undercurrent of Change in the Pacific: Climate Dynamics with Ecosystem Impacts

Special Seminar: An Undercurrent of Change in the Pacific: Climate Dynamics with Ecosystem Impacts

Dr. Kristopher Karnauskas received his B.S. and Ph.D. in Atmospheric and Oceanic Science from the Universities of Wisconsin-Madison and Maryland-College Park, respectively, and carried out a postdoctoral fellowship within the Ocean and Climate Physics group at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. Kris is currently an Associate Scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Cape Cod, MA. Kris' research aims to understand the dynamics of the tropical ocean and atmosphere as a coupled system, its interaction with ecosystems and with higher latitude regions, how and why the climate system has changed in the past, and how climate will continue to change in the future–both naturally and as driven by human activities. Kris has taught courses on climate in the MIT-WHOI Joint Program and at Boston College.

Abstract: Among the countless islands in the Pacific, few are lucky enough to be within a Rossby radius of the equator. For such islands, the local physical and biogeochemical setting is profoundly influenced by large-scale climatic and oceanographic processes. The unique relationship between tropical climate, ocean circulation, and equatorial islands is explored from the perspective of models and observations, including new measurements by underwater gliders (AUVs). Sustained observations reveal significant changes in equatorial ocean circulation during the past century, and IPCC climate models project those changes to continue into the future. Such changes in ocean circulation and the range of possible impacts on marine ecosystems, particularly concerning temperature stress and nutrient supply, are investigated using a combination of in situ measurements, satellite observations, high-resolution ocean models, and IPCC/CMIP global simulations.


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