Congress was in recess last week, so it was slightly quieter on Capitol Hill than in recent weeks. But it wasn’t quiet at COL, as we’ve been putting the finishing touches on our annual public policy forum, which is almost here. Next week, on March 8, we’ll be bringing together a diverse audience and group of speakers to address the ocean’s relation to food security and food safety in our forum: Feeding the Future: An Ocean of Opportunity. We can’t keep our growing global population (which projections show will likely reach 10 billion by 2050) fed without advancing the role of the ocean, waterways, and coasts in this important endeavor. Ocean knowledge, sustainability, and bioproductivity are critical enablers of future successes in this arena. We must expand safe marine food sources while improving our ability to observe, analyze, and predict changes to marine food resources, and we must also advance our understanding of the ocean’s dynamic impact on terrestrial food generation. Join a diverse crowd for our day-long event and reception, which will include members of Congress and their staff, along with representatives from federal agencies, industry, and the academic research community. I can hardly wait to see you there!
RADM Jonathan W. White, USN (ret.)
President and CEO
Consortium for Ocean Leadership
Broadening Ocean Current Could Carry Less Heat Poleward With Climate Change
Some ocean currents, like the Agulhas Current in the southwestern Indian Ocean, act like giant air conditioners, moderating Earth’s climate by shuttling heat from the equator toward the poles. The Agulhas is one of the largest and fastest currents in the world: Flowing southwest along the east coast of Africa, it stretches almost 1,500 kilometers and transports about 70 million cubic meters of water every second toward the South Pole at peak speeds upward of 7 kilometers per hour. In a new study in Nature, researchers suggest that instead of strengthening, the Agulhas Current is actually broadening and growing more chaotic — thus potentially transporting less heat poleward. “On a global scale, broadening of the Agulhas Current would mean that the transport of heat towards the poles may decrease, rather than increase, with climate change, leading to warmer tropics and cooler polar regions,” says Lisa Beal, an oceanographer at the University of Miami and lead author of the study.