“Winds, Currents and Cores” with Donna Witter (Mar 2000)

by | Jul 27, 2023 | Ocean and Atmospheric Physics

Visit to the LDEO Deep-Sea Sediment Collection

with Rusty Lotti Bond

Originally presented 4 Mar 2000

Old Technology to New:

Assembling a 100-Year Record of Ocean Winds from Ships and Satellites

The recently launched NASA QuikSCAT satellite scatterometer is returning high-quality data that will be used by oceanographers and atmospheric scientists to study winds over the ocean on a wide variety of time scales. From a climate perspective, one of the most exciting applications of this technology is that statistical analysis of short records of satellite data can be used to improve estimates of wind variability on long time scales (e.g., decades to a century). On these longer time scales, the wind record from ships at sea is spatially and temporally filled with gaps and subject to larger errors. Several of us at LDEO are using satellite wind observations to better understand deficiencies in the historical data sets and to develop new wind climatologies for the historical period. My presentation will describe this work, and discuss its use for assessing climate change during the past century. The specific topics which will be covered in the presentation include: 1) the technological aspects of measuring winds from space; 2) using these measurements to understand recent wind variations, and 3) using these measurements to understand wind variations on climatologically significant time scales and for times prior to the launch of wind-observing satellites.

  • Dr. Donna Witter is an Associate Research Scientist at LDEO. Her research uses remote sensing data, in combination with in-water observations and numerical ocean models to assess climate variability on space and time scale of interest for climate change.  She has been involved as a key researcher on several NASA JPL satellite investigations.

Visit to the LDEO Deep-Sea Sample Collection 

  • The Lamont-Doherty Deep-Sea Sample Repository (now the Lamont-Doherty Core Repository) collection of sediment samples provides material for scientists worldwide to research many facets of our earth’s systems. Deep-sea cores contain microfossils and minerals that can be used as environmental indicators, or reveal climate change. The cores hold a permanent record of geological events such as earthquakes, changing sea levels and shorelines, and the earth’s magnetic history. Variations of color and texture resulting from changes over time in the sediment are clearly visible in the cores. Samples from the different intervals can be easily processed for observation of the variations in number or kinds of microfossils or minerals. The dynamics and significance of these changes will be explored in the workshop.
  • Rusty Lotti Bond, Curator of the Lamont-Doherty Deep-Sea Sample Repository, oversees the collection, processing, archiving and physical properties analyses of the largest collection of material from the ocean floor.