Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography & ODU Resilience Collaborative

Spring 2017 Seminar Series


Fred Bingham
University of North Carolina Wilmington

Monday, March 13, 2017
3:30 PM
Conference Center, Innovation Resarch Building II
4211 Monarch Way, Norfolk, VA 23508


Sea surface salinity (SSS) has been linked to changes in the global water cycle and has been pointed to as an indicator variable that can help us understand and even predict what will happen to the global movement of water on a warming planet. Recent studies have shown that SSS has changed over the 20th and 21st centuries. Those changes can be attributed to human-induced climate forcing and are inconsistent with natural forcing alone. Roughly, relatively fresh areas of the ocean have gotten fresher and salty areas saltier, indicating an intensification of evaporation and precipitation over the ocean.

Until about 2005, SSS was poorly observed throughout most of the world's oceans. More recently, with the advent of Argo floats and salinity remote sensing, we are now able to better observe the short-term, seasonal and interannual variability of SSS and its relation to surface forcing and internal ocean processes. While the original idea behind SSS remote sensing was to use salinity as an "oceanic rain gauge", it has become apparent over the past few years that internal ocean dynamics are just as important as surface fluxes in regulating SSS. This makes understanding SSS and its connection to internal processes in the ocean not only an interesting scientific question, but a vitally important social goal to help predict future changes in the global water cycle.


Dr. Frederick Bingham is a physical oceanographer and professor in the Department of Physics & Physical Oceanography at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. His current research interests are focused on the study of sea surface salinity and its relationship to the global water cycle on both a global and a regional scale. In the past, he has researched such diverse topics as the formation of subtropical mode water in the North Pacific, the Hawaiian Ridge Current, water mass distributions in the western equatorial Pacific and hurricane impacts on the North Carolina continental shelf. He also has interests in data management and real-time ocean data quality control.

Reception before seminar at 3:00 PM

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