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AMS Releases State of the Climate 2016

September 15, 2017 10:32 AM
State of the Climate 2016

The American Meteorological Society (AMS) has just released the latest volume in its Series: State of the Climate. The report confirms that 2016 surpassed 2015 as the warmest year in 137 years of recordkeeping.

CICS-MD Scientist Jim Reagan, as in past years, is one of the authors of the Global Ocean Salinity section. Salinity patterns in the oceans are key aspects of global climate because they reflect ocean storage and transport of freshwater.  These long-term patterns are important not just in high latitudes with melting sea ice and glaciers but also in other latitudes, where they reflect changes in evaporation, precipitation, and river runoff modified by advection and entrainment. Johnson, G. C., and J. Reagan, 2017: Global Ocean–Salinity: Introduction [in “State of the Climate in 2016”]. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 98 (8), S69–S71, doi:10.1175/2017BAMSStateoftheClimate.1.


The figure above shows average monthly ocean subsurface salinity anomalies from 0–1500 m for the Atlantic Ocean (top), Pacific Ocean (middle), and Indian Ocean (bottom). Both the anomalies for 2005–2016 (left) and the changes from 2015 to 2016 (right) are shown. Reagan and his team’s analysis showed that the Atlantic Ocean salinity is continuing its long-term upward trend in the top 100 m. Since mid-2014 the Pacific Ocean waters near the surface have been fresher than the long-term mean, but near-surface salinity increased from 2015 to 2016 which is likely a reflection of the transition from the 2015 El Niño to the 2016 La Niña. 2016 showed a new pattern taking shape in the Indian Ocean: the long-term positive salinity anomaly layer from 200 m to 300 m has moved upward and replaced by a freshwater layer now occupying 200 m to 500 m. Reagan, J., T. Boyer, C. Schmid, and R. Locarnini, 2017: Ocean–Salinity: Subsurface Salinity [in “State of the Climate in 2016”]. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 98 (8), S72–S75, doi:10.1175/2017BAMSStateoftheClimate.1.

NOAA NCEI has a concise summary of the report at The complete report is available from the AMS website at


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