Gulf of Maine Research Institute
350 Commercial Street
Portland, ME 04101
M.S. expected 2015, B.S. University of Maine 2013
I am using statistical models to explain how ocean-atmosphere variability influences the frequency and probability of extreme warming events in the upper ocean, termed ocean heat waves.
Recently, unprecedented warming during the summer of 2012 caused the largest and the most intense ocean heat wave in the Northwest Atlantic. This caused an area from Cape Hatteras to Iceland to warm up to 3oC above the 1982-2011 average. The scale of this event had adverse effects on both ecosystems and the economy, and the intensity was on par with the warming expected by the end of the century.
The 2012 ocean heat wave raised several questions as to whether such events have become more frequent and probable, or if they have just become more intense and longer lasting due to global climate change. My master's thesis research aims to answer these questions with respect to regional changes in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. I intend to develop an operational definiton for an ocean heat wave based on their statistical and physical properties, as well as develop a ranking method by which these events can be measured. My broad research interests are in climate variability and large-scale physical oceanography, and I currently work in collaboration with the Ecosystem Modeling Lab at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute in Portland, Maine under the advisement of Dr. Andrew Pershing. My committee includes Dr. Andrew Thomas (UMaine) and Dr. Michael Alexander (NOAA).
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