The Future Of Hurricanes

From WUNC – North Carolina Public Radio

“Floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey still filled the streets in Texas when Hurricane Irma blew ashore in Florida. As the latest storm moves toward North Carolina, Duke scientists explore whether these rare weather events are growing more frequent or more extreme. They also analyze how communities and governments can become more resilient.

Host Frank Stasio talks with oceanographer Susan Lozier, professor of earth and ocean sciences in Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment, about whether climate change is to blame and what other weather events could occur as a result of changing ocean conditions.”

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How scientists reacted to the US leaving the Paris climate agreement

What the United States’ departure from the historic pact means for efforts to fight global warming.

Nature rounds up reaction from researchers around the world to US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement.

Susan Lozier, oceanographer at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina:

Trump’s decision is as short-sighted as it is disheartening. The oceans already hold about 35% of the carbon dioxide that has been released to the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution. Nothing good for the ocean and the life it contains comes from this storage. Whether you simply admire marine life or count on it for your livelihood, this decision shouldn’t sit well. An already fragile ocean is further imperilled.

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How Climate Change Could Jam The World’s Ocean Circulation

Scientists are closely monitoring a key current in the North Atlantic to see if rising sea temperatures and increased freshwater from melting ice are altering the “ocean conveyor belt” — a vast oceanic stream that plays a major role in the global climate system.

by Nicola Jones



Susan Lozier, Ronie-Rochelle Garcia-Johnson Professor of Earth and Ocean Sciences at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment and Vice-Provost for Strategic Planning, will receive a 2016 Ambassador Award from the American Geophysical Union (AGU).

Ambassador Awards are among the highest honors bestowed annually by AGU. They recognize outstanding contributions in scientific leadership, societal impact, service to the academic community, and promotion of the talent/career pool within earth and ocean sciences.

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‘Go with the flow’: Research on the currents in the subpolar North Atlantic

This past July chief scientist Laura de Steur and the crew of the Pelagia set out to take measurements of the subpolar gyre as part of NACLIM and OSNAP research programs. Research conducted on this cruise, and as part of these programs, is important in understanding the “role of the ocean in our climate and future climate change.” Learn more about their work this summer, and ongoing research, in this film created over the course of the cruise.

Susan Lozier and Drew Shindell Named AGU Fellows

DURHAM, N.C. – Two faculty members at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment have been named Fellows of the American Geophysical Union (AGU).

Susan Lozier, professor of physical oceanography, and Drew Shindell, professor of climate sciences, are among 62 scientists selected as AGU Fellows this year.

Election as an AGU Fellow is an honor reserved for individuals who have made exceptional scientific contributions and attained eminence in the fields of Earth and space sciences. AGU bylaws restrict the annual honor to no more than 0.1 percent of the organization’s total membership.

Lozier is a physical oceanographer with interests in large-scale ocean circulation and its links to global climate change.

She currently is leading a $32 milllion international initiative, the U.S.-led Overturning in the Subpolar North Atlantic Program (OSNAP), to deploy a new observing system in the subpolar region of the North Atlantic to more accurately measure the ocean’s overturning circulation, a key component of the global climate system. Her studies have appeared in Science, Nature and other top peer-reviewed journals. A member of the Duke faculty since 1992, she was named a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society in 2008.

Shindell, formerly a climatologist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, joined the Nicholas School faculty earlier this year. He is widely hailed for his work using climate models to investigate connections between climate change and chemical changes in the atmosphere, including the depletion of Earth’s ozone layer. His studies have appeared in Nature, Science and numerous other leading journals.

Lozier, Shindell and the other new Fellows will be recognized during a ceremony on December 17 at the AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco.

Ana Barros, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering, was also named a 2014 AGU Fellow.


Changes in Ocean Circulation Focus of $16 Million Project

DURHAM, N.C. — Oceanographers from Duke University, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the University of Miami have received $16 million in grants from the National Science Foundation for the deployment of a new observing system in the subpolar region of the North Atlantic. The observing system will measure the ocean’s overturning circulation, a key component of the global climate system.

The five-year initiative is part of the $32 million, U.S.-led Overturning in the Subpolar North Atlantic Program (OSNAP). International collaborators include scientists from Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and the Netherlands.

The goal of the program is to simultaneously measure the surface ocean currents that carry heat northward toward the Arctic Ocean and the deep ocean currents that carry cooler waters southward toward the equator. Together, these currents form the overturning circulation that plays a role in redistributing heat from the equator to the poles. Recent modeling studies have shown that changes in this circulation would have a critical impact on temperatures and precipitation in North America, Europe and Africa.

“In addition to measuring the variability of the ocean overturning, OSNAP is strongly focused on understanding what factors create those changes,” said Susan Lozier, the international project lead and a physical oceanographer at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

“For decades, oceanographers have understood the overturning circulation to be highly susceptible to changes in the temperature and salinity of surface waters in the subpolar North Atlantic. With increasing ocean temperatures, and increased ice melt that impacts the salinity of the surface waters, it is timely to establish just how climate changes might affect the strength of the overturning circulation,” Lozier explained.

Likewise, the OSNAP array affords the opportunity to study how overturning changes impact the environment. OSNAP measurements will facilitate the study of how changes in the northward flow of warm water affects the reduction of Arctic sea ice and the shrinking of the Greenland Ice Sheet.

Duke, Woods Hole and Miami oceanographers, along with their international partners, will deploy moored instruments and sub-surface floats across the subpolar North Atlantic during the summer of 2014. The measurement period will last until 2018.

The array of instruments will stretch along two lines, from Labrador to southern Greenland and from Greenland east to Scotland. The instruments will provide the scientists with continuous measurements of surface-to-bottom water temperature, salinity and velocities in areas of the subpolar ocean that historically have been under-sampled. Trajectories of the subsurface floats will provide the first look at deep-water pathways in the North Atlantic.

The OSNAP measurement system complements a joint U.K. and U.S. program that has been measuring the overturning circulation in the subtropical North Atlantic since 2004. Differences and similarities in these measures will provide oceanographers insight into the working of the ocean’s overturning.

Overturning measures are also critical for an understanding of the ocean’s continued ability to act as one of Earth’s most important carbon sinks.

Surface waters absorb heat-trapping carbon dioxide from Earth’s atmosphere. When cold, dense south-flowing waters from subpolar regions sink, they carry the surface water — and much of the CO2 it contains — into the ocean’s depths, where it is no longer available to heat Earth’s climate.

“Because the storage of carbon at depth is linked to the overturning circulation, our OSNAP measures take on added importance,” Lozier said. “A critical question for climate scientists today is: How much carbon will continue to be stored in the ocean?”

The OSNAP program was designed at an international workshop Lozier led at Duke in April 2010.

Principal U.S. investigators of the new program are Amy Bower, Fiamma Straneo and Robert Pickart, scientists in physical oceanography at Woods Hole Oceanographic; William Johns, professor of meteorology and physical oceanography at the University of Miami; and Lozier.

OSNAP will be one of the first projects to make use of the new, NSF-funded Ocean Observatories Initiative’s (OOI) array of moored sensors that will be installed in the Irminger Sea, off the southern tip of Greenland, in 2014. The Irminger Sea is one of four planned global observing sites of the OOI program, a networked infrastructure of sensor systems measuring physical, chemical, geological and biological variables in high-latitude and coastal ocean locations as well as at the seafloor.

The OSNAP project is funded by two NSF grants, OCE-1259102 and OCE-1259103.

For more information about OSNAP and related projects, go to

Susan Lozier Elected President-Elect of Oceanography Society

DURHAM, N.C. – M. Susan Lozier, Ronie-Richele Garcia-Johnson Professor of Physical Oceanography and Bass Fellow at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment, has been elected president-elect of The Oceanography Society (TOS).

Lozier will serve a six-year cycle: two years as the society’s president-elect; two as its president; and two as its past president.

Founded in 1988, TOS is a nonprofit organization that works to disseminate knowledge of oceanography and its application through research and education; to promote communication among oceanographers; and to provide a constituency for consensus-building across all the disciplines of the field.  It is headquartered in Rockville, Md.

Lozier is a physical oceanographer with interests in large-scale ocean circulation and its links to global climate change. Her studies have appeared in ScienceNature and other top peer-reviewed journals.

A member of the Duke faculty since 1992, she was the recipient of a National Science Foundation Early Career Award in 1996, a Bass Chair for Excellence in Research and Teaching in 2000, and a Duke University Award for Excellence in Mentoring in 2007.  In 2008, she was named a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society.

Lozier serves as chair of the executive committee of Duke University’s Academic Council, and served as chair of the Nicholas School’s Division of Earth and Ocean Sciences from 2006 through 2011.  She is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society, The Oceanography Society and the Association of Women Geoscientists.

She received a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Purdue University, and a master’s degree in chemical engineering and doctoral degree in physical oceanography from the University of Washington.  After completing her PhD in 1989, she was a postdoctoral scholar at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.