Category Archives: NOAA

The Effect of Hurricane Hermine on Black Sea Bass

The following article first appeared on the Research Blog for Dr. Neil Hammerschlag’s Shark Research and Conservation (SRC) Lab website at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. To learn more about SRC, visit here:, or to learn more about the University’s marine science school, please click here:

 By Delaney Reynolds, SRC intern

Best Track Positions for Hurricane Hermine

Figure 1: Best Track Positions for Hurricane Hermine. This map is a composite of the best predicted tracks of Hurricane Hermine between August 28th and September 3rd, 2016. Offshore of western Florida, it transformed from a tropical storm to a hurricane, making landfall as a category one hurricane, and then transitioning back into a tropical storm as it made its way across the state into the eastern waters off Maryland. (Source: Berg 2017).

In September of 2016, Hurricane Hermine struck Florida as a category one hurricane and then migrated through Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and then to offshore Maryland. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), Hermine’s damage “totaled around $550 million, with a 90% confidence interval of +/- $150 million” and demolished 1,600 homes and businesses (Berg 2017). But how did it affect offshore fish populations? Researchers from the University of Maryland designed an experiment to find out.

Four months before Hermine hit Florida, 45 black sea bass were acoustically tagged and acoustic receivers were moored in the shelf waters of three different sites off Maryland; a northern, middle, and southern site. Rash winds of Hurricane Hermine caused destratification, “a process in which the air or water is mixed in order to eliminate stratified layers of temperature, plant, or animal life,” in the water column of the Mid-Atlantic Bight.  Due to this disarrangement, temperatures of northern and middle experimental sites rose 10 degrees Celsius in just ten hours creating an unsuitable environment for living organisms and, thus, either migration or death of the black sea bass was expected.

Black Sea Bass Population Size, Summer 2016

Figure 2: Black Sea Bass Population Size, Summer 2016. This graph exhibits the decay in population size of black sea bass between the three experimental sites. The two vertical, black, hash-marked lines indicate September 2nd – 6th. All three experimental sites showed a decline in black sea bass populations and by January of 2017, all three populations had diminished completely. (Source: Secor et al. 2017).

Researchers discovered that 40% of the sea bass populations had evacuated the experimental sites in search of a more suitable habitat and any that stayed behind exhibited decreased activity levels showing that there were large behavioral changes due to the increased temperatures. Evacuation was found to be highest in the northern and southern sites and lower in the middle site and in most cases, migration was permanent. Although some recovery was indicated in the two weeks following Hermine, water column stratification and black sea bass population sizes did not return to normal (Secor et al. 2017).

Although hurricanes are just one of the factors contributing to the emigration of fish species, as our planet continues to warm, hurricanes are predicted to become more intense and more frequent potentially leading to even larger emigration phenomena which would ostensibly take a large toll on the fishing industry. According to the Fisheries Economics of the U.S. 2011 report, recreational fishing in the South Atlantic generates 52,000 jobs and adds $3 billion to the United States’ GDP (Back in Black). Due to their importance to our economy and the threats that they face, it will be imperative to monitor black sea bass and fisheries to ensure that measures are being taken to stabilize the economy when their performances decline.

Works cited

Berg, Robbie. “Hurricane Hermine.” National Hurricane Center Tropical Cyclone Report, 30 Jan. 2017.

Secor, D. H., Zhang, F., O’Brien, M. H., & Li, M. (2018). Ocean destratification and fish evacuation caused by a Mid-Atlantic tropical storm. ICES Journal of Marine Science.

USA Department of Commerce, 27 Sept. 2013. “Back in Black: Black Sea Bass Stock Is Rebuilt.” Accessed from:

World Business Leader’s Rank Sea Level Rise As Their Number One Concern As World’s Temperatures Set Yet Another Record

The world is a scary place.

With global terrorism growing, wars and political conflict all over the planet and cyber thieves dominating most news headlines it is interesting to see that world business leaders rank the need to address our planet’s changing climate as their number one concern. Specifically, the top concern is “failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation.”

According to the World Economic Forum and its 2016 Global Risk Report, climate change is a greater risk than weapons of mass destruction, global water crisis, involuntary migration or energy price fluctuations. This is the first time that an environmental issue was listed as the respondents’ top concern.

Climate change is exacerbating more risks than ever before in terms of water crises, food shortages, constrained economic growth, weaker societal cohesion and increased security risks. Meanwhile, geopolitical instability is exposing businesses to cancelled projects, revoked licenses, interrupted production, damaged assets and restricted movement of funds across borders. These political conflicts are in turn making the challenge of climate change all the more insurmountable – reducing the potential for political co-operation, as well as diverting resource, innovation and time away from climate change resilience and prevention.”


– Cecilia Reyes, chief risk officer of Zurich Insurance Group, which helped develop the report.

Founded in 1971 and based in Geneva Switzerland, the World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report uses the views of 750 international experts to evaluate 29 global risks and their impact on businesses over the next decade. Membership in the World Economic Forum includes 1,000 of the world’s top corporations, global enterprises that each have sales in excess of $5 billion. To read the report and learn more, click here:


The World Economic Forum’s report arrives in the same week that both NASA and NOAA  announced that 2015 was the hottest year in recorded history. Humans have recorded temperatures since 1880 and following 2014 being the hottest year on record is the news that, just one year later, 2015 has now broken its record. Here is what NASA and NOAA had to say about the growing, record heat on earth;

“2015’s record temperatures are the result of the gradual, yet accelerating, build-up of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere. Scientists have been warning about it for decades and now we are experiencing it. 

Fifteen of the 16 warmest years on record have now occurred since 2001. Temperatures will bounce around from year to year, but the direction of the long-term trend is as clear as a rocket headed for space: it is going up.”


– NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan

To read NASA’s and NOAA’s truly excellent blog on 2015’s temperatures, climate change and sea level rise please click here:

So what does all of this mean?

It seems to me that businesses are beginning to understand that our climate is changing, that seas are rising and they are concerned with how these facts will impact their future. It also seems to me that the discussion on climate change and sea rise is becoming more focused on the scientific facts that show that we have a significant problem and that we must begin to take it seriously rather than listen to those who spread doubt or use false fear to play politics.

Children of my generation understand how important this topic is and that we will be responsible for solving it. To see today’s business leaders, space and weather scientists and others take it so seriously gives me hope for the future. As my generation takes on global leadership roles we will need to build on the solutions that are put into place today so the sooner we can begin solving the problem, the better.