National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
NOAA logo PMEL - A leader in developing ocean observing systems

PMEL Programs for FY 96 and Plans for FY 97

TAO / CO2 / CFC / Atmos Chem / TMAP / OERD / FOCI / Tsunami / Technology


Tropical Atmosphere-Ocean Program

Accomplishments in FY 96

"But the crowning achievement of TOGA was the development of the Tropical Atmosphere/Ocean (TAO) array of 70 moored buoys. Put in place over eight years, from 1986 to 1994, the array now spans 16,000 km of Pacific Ocean and gathers data on surface winds, sea surface temperatures, surface air temperatures and humidity, and subsurface temperatures at 10 different levels down to 500 m depth." EOS Transactions, American Geophysical Union, 78, 1, January 7, 1997.

The Tropical Atmosphere-Ocean (TAO) Array, consisting of approximately 70 deep-ocean moorings spanning the equatorial Pacific Ocean between 8N and 8S from 95W to 137E, was maintained at full strength. The purpose of the array is to provide high quality, in-situ, real-time data in the equatorial Pacific Ocean for short-term climate studies, most notably those relating to the El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon. TAO measurements consist primarily of surface winds, sea surface temperature, upper ocean temperature and currents, air temperature, and relative humidity. Data are telemetered in real time via Service Argos, and a subset of these data is placed on the Global Telecommunications System (GTS) for distribution to operational centers for assimilation into weather and climate forecast models. A major step forward in long -term support for the array was the commissioning in FY 96 of the NOAA Ship Ka'imimoana, a research vessel dedicated to servicing TAO moorings between 95W and 165E. Also in FY 96, new Next Generation ATLAS moorings were introduced into the array.

TAO data support research efforts at institutions around the world on the causes and consequences of climate variability originating in the tropical Pacific. Work at PMEL during the past year has focused on describing the evolution of recent ENSO warm events, on analyzing upper ocean heat, salt and momentum balances in the western equatorial Pacific, on investigations of the mean seasonal cycle in the eastern equatorial Pacific cold tongue, on large scale ocean dynamical processes involving equatorial waves and currents, on defining tropical Pacifci surface layer hydrography and ocean mixed layer structure on seasonal to interannual time scales, on the combined use of TOPEX/POSEIDON altimeter and TAO moored measurements to understand large scale sea level and circulation patterns in the tropical Pacific, on assessments of TAO array design and sampling strategies for climate analyses and predictions, and on validation of recent ocean and atmospheric model reanalyses using TAO data. A historical overview of the development of the Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere (TOGA) observing system was initiated. Specific plans for new measurement programs were advanced: for a Pilot Research Moored Array in the Tropical Atlantic (PIRATA) in collaboration with Brazil and France, for a moored ATLAS array as part of the South China Sea Monsoon Experiment (SCSMEX) in collaboration with Taiwan, and for the Triangle Trans Ocean Buoy Network (TRITON) in collaboration with Japan. The TAO project also established collaborations with the US Department of Energy/Atmospheric Radiation Measurements (DOE/ARM) program to provide long term solar radiation measurements in the western Pacific, with the NASA Scatterometer (NSCAT) program to provide in situ validation data and sensitivity testing of wind forced ocean models, with the NASA Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission ( TRMM) to provide basin scale in situ rainfall and salinity measurements, and with the NOAA Ocean Atmosphere Carbon Exchange Studies (OACES) program. These efforts all contribute to studies of ocean-atmosphere interaction and climate variability of central interest to PMEL.

The TAO project provides interactive access to TAO data, display software and graphics via the World Wide Web and workstation-based TAO Display Software. The TAO software features a point-and-click interface and a data subscription service providing remote users with automated daily updates to real time and historical TAO data, and is actively used at nearly 50 research institutions throughout the world. This year, time series of data from individual instruments on the TAO moorings have been made available on the World Wide Web. The TAO Project Office has also established a TOGA COARE moored data center, with Web access to nearly all moored time series collected during the COARE experiment.


Thermal Modeling and Analysis Project

Accomplishments in FY 96

The Thermal Modeling and Analysis Project (TMAP) continues to carry out studies using observations and ocean circulation models in support of NOAA's Seasonal to Interannual Prediction (SIP) mission. A major project to identify the common elements of El Nino-Southern Ocsillation (ENSO) periods over the global ocean surface has been completed. The sea level pressure composite results indicate that the most statistically significant features are associated with the eastern equatorial Pacific and a region in the western central north Pacific, rather than with the historical Southern Oscillation between Tahiti and Darwin. The sea surface temperature and surface wind composite has several very statistically significant signals. Any model being used to predict ENSO should be validated against its ability to reproduce these features. Studies of the seasonal cycle of upper ocean currents and temperatures, as well as their interannual variability, are being studied, and the impact of our present level of uncertainty about the surface wind field is being assessed. See Web page on TMAP numerical modeling experiments.

The importance of Westerly Wind Events (WWEs) in the variability of the western tropical Pacific and the central and eastern equatorial Pacific continues to be investigated, using observations from the Tropical Atmosphere-Ocean (TAO) moorings and ocean model studies. A major effort to determine the x-y-t structure of WWEs was completed. The ability of the TAO array to observe WWEs is marginal, and is being determined.

The ability of our present and proposed tropical observing systems to measure the changes that are important for SIP is a continuing assessment activity. A major summary of the space and time scales of thermal variability as measured by the TAO array was completed, and much progress was made on a similar study of the scales of surface wind variability. An ensemble of ocean model experiments was carried out so that detailed sampling studies of the effectiveness of the present observing system can be examined.

Work continues on aspects of longer time scale problems as well. The variability of surface pC02 in the North Pacific was examined with other Ocean Climate Research Division scientists.

A new one dimensional model of the near-surface food web was developed with University of Washington scientists and has been validated against tropical Pacific observations; it is being incorporated into our ocean circulation model. Global studies of the uptake and redistribution of CFCs continued with Department of Energy and National Science Foundation collaborators.


Atmospheric Chemistry Program

Accomplishments in FY 96

The PMEL-JISAO Atmospheric Chemistry Program is designed to quantify the spatial and temporal distribution of natural and anthropogenic aerosols in the marine atmosphere and to determine the physical, meteorological and biogeochemical processes controlling their formation, evolution and properties. The major focus of the Program during FY 96 was our participation in the first Aerosol Characterization Experiment ( ACE-1) of the International Global Atmospheric Chemistry Project (IGAC). PMEL took a lead role in this international IGAC aerosol experiment and coordinated the shipboard studies. The experiment involved the efforts of over 100 research scientists from 11 countries and included coordinated measurements from the NCAR C-130 aircraft, the NOAA research vessel Discoverer, the Australia fisheries research vessel Southern Surveyor, and land based stations at Cape Grim and Macquarie Island, Australia.

PMEL also participated in the Combined Sensor Program (CSP) which brought together for the first time in a maritime environment a suite of in-situ and remote sensing systems to characterize both air-sea interaction and the radiative balance of the tropical atmosphere, including aerosols and clouds.

Another activity of the PMEL-JISAO Atmospheric Chemistry Program is the chemical sampling and analysis of daily samples from a ground-based aerosol monitoring network. This network has been established in conjunction with NOAA/Climate Monitoring and Diagnostics Laboratory (CMDL) to determine means, variability, and possible trends of key optical, chemical and microphysical properties for a number of important aerosol types.


Carbon Dioxide Program

Accomplishments in FY 96

The Carbon Dioxide Project at PMEL supports the decadal to centenial component of NOAA's Climate and Global Change (C&GC) Program, which addresses the need to assess and predict changes in climate on time scales of 10 to 100 years. One of the major components of this program concerns the climatic impact of the anthropogenic production of "greenhouse gases" such as carbon dioxide (CO2). CO2 is estimated to be responsible f or roughly one-half of the "greenhouse gas" effect resulting from anthropogenic inputs of trace gases to the atmosphere. Because CO2 in the atmosphere absorbs long-wave radiation emitted from the earth's surface, the post-industrial increase of CO2 will have the effect of producing a higher equilibrium temperature of the troposphere. Credible predction of the magnitude of this temperature increase is a high priority scientific issue. Recent model predictions suggest an increase of global mean s urface temperature of 1.5-4C in the next century for a doubling of atmospheric CO2. Future decisions on regulating emissions of "greenhouse gases" should be based on more accurate models which have been adequately tested against a well-designed system of measurements.

Predicting global climate change as a consequence of CO2 emissions requires coupled a tmosphere/ocean/biosphere carbon models that realistically estimate the rate of growth of CO2 i n the atmosphere, as well as its removal, redistribution and storage in the oceans and terrestrial b iosphere. The primary objective of NOAA's Ocean Atmosphere Carbon Dioxide Exchange Study ( (OACES) is to quantitatively assess the fate of CO2 in the atmosphere and oceans. In order to accomplish t his goal the natural sources and sinks of carbon dioxide must be determined. During FY 96, the PMEL CO2 group developed a multi-parameter stepwise regression model which quantitatively estimates the amount of anthropogenic CO2 that penetrates into the oceans from changes in d issolved inorganic carbon and other physical and chemical data collected over decadal time s cales. From a comparison of the 1991 C&GC91 cruise data along 152W in the North Pacific wi th the 1973 GEOSECS data, the PMEL scientists determined that the North Pacific accumulated anthropogenic CO2 in the mixed layer at an average rate of 1.3 ± 0.7 µmolk g-1yr-1. T he depth of penetration was approximately 800 m along 152W. These new model results are comparable with previous estimates of anthropogenic CO2 inputs into the North Pacific.

During the past year, the PMEL and AOML CO2 groups also completed a five-month cruise in the South Pacific under the auspices of NOAA's Climate and Global Change (C&GC) Program . The multi-legged cruise, conducted aboard NOAA research vessel Discoverer was a part of t he U.S. JGOFS Program in the Southern Ocean and t he U.S. WOCE Hydrographic Program (WOCE Line P15S), supported jointly by NOAA, NSF, and the Department of Energy. During the experiment, the NOAA scientists determined the concentrations of carbon species and related physical and biological parameters on several south-north transects. Over 4100 samples were collected coll ected and analyzed for dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), total alkalinity (TAlk), CO2 partial p ressure (pCO2), pH, CFCs, carbontetrachloride, radiocarbon, dissolved organic carbon and nitrogen, dissolved oxygen, nutrients and salinity. Preliminary results from the cruise indicate that the southwestern Pacific region is a large sink for atmospheric CO2. The sink regions are coincident with regions of strong surface water stability induced by a salinity minimum at the surface (Fig. 1). These so-called "barrier layers" prevent CO2 from vertically mixing from below and enhance the invasion of CO2 across the air-sea interface. In the high southern latitudes the barrier layers are maintained by melting ice during the austral summer; whereas, in the tropical and subtropical latitudes the barrier layers are maintained by an excess of precipitation over evaporation, which is common over large regions of the western Pacific. The data collected from this cruise represents the most comprehensive set of chemical and hydrographic measurements of its kind for the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The DIC measurements were accurate to within ± 1. 5 µmol/kg, based upon a nalysis of reference materials and replicate samples. The data from this cruise will be combined with other data sets from the WOCE Hydrographic Program to constrain models of basinwide circulation and carbon distributions in the South Pacific Ocean. We plan to use this data set in combination with CO2 data from the same region in 1973 to determine the amount of anthropogenic CO2 that is stored in t he South Pacific Ocean since the middle of the last century. .


CFC Tracer and Large-Scale Ocean Circulation Program

Accomplishments in FY 96

The PMEL CFC Tracer Program studies ocean circulation and mixing processes by measuring the distribution of dissolved chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in the ocean. Key long-term goals are to document the entry of CFCs from the atmosphere into the world ocean by means of repeat long-line hydrographic sections at decadal intervals, and to use these observations to help test and evaluate ocean-atmosphere models. The development and testing of such models is critical for understanding the present state of the ocean-atmosphere system, quantifying the ocean's role in the uptake of climatically important trace gases such as Carbon Dioxide, and improving predictions of climate change for the coming century.

During FY 96, the PMEL CFC Tracer group helped organize and participated in a multi-institutional oceanographic expedition in the southwest Pacific on the NOAA Ship Discoverer, as part of the World Ocean Circulation Experiment ( WOCE). A variety of physical, chemical and biological measurements were made on this expedition. The CFC data obtained on this expedition highlight the rapid uptake of atmospheric gases into the ocean in this region, and the deep CFC signal being carried northward into the abyssal Pacific Ocean by Antarctic Bottom Waters.

The fourth year of a NOAA Atlantic Climate Change Program (ACCP) supported study to monitor variability of dense water formation and ventilation processes in the Greenland-Iceland-Norwegian Seas, using CFCs and helium/tritium as tracers was completed. These studies have shown that the rate of formation of new Greenland Sea Deep Water (GSDW) during the 1980s and early 1990s was drastically lower than that in the 1970s. The near-cessation of the production of this cold, dense water mass by deep convective processes may be the result of decadal-scale changes in surface conditions in the central Greenland Sea.

Collaborative programs were continued with researchers at the NOAA/ERL Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) and at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) to utilize the CFC datasets in numerical models of ocean circulation. Results of a comparison of CFC observations in the ocean with the results of a coupled ocean-atmosphere numerical model has been published. Such tests are critical if we are to have confidence in the ability of such models to predict possible changes in the earth's climate due to release of greenhouse gases or other anthropogenic activities.


Monitoring Transport of Ocean Currents

Accomplishments in FY 96

The Boundary Current Measurements project monitors variations in the transport of boundary currents. Ocean currents such as the Gulf Stream and Kuroshio are major transporters of equatorial heat to high latitudes. The transport of the Florida Current (the major contributor to the Gulf Stream) has been monitored since 1982 using the cross-stream voltages detected using out-of-service and in-service telephone cables across the northern end of the Straits of Florida (between West palm Beach and the Bahamas) and, since 1990, using an out-of-service cable across the southwesterne nd of the Straits (between key West and havana). This procedure is a very inexpensive method for continuous long-term measurements of major ocean current systems.

The robust method to determine transfer functions used to remove the geomagnetic induced voltages has been published. This method has been improved and made more robust by using commercial magnetotelluric data contaminated by industrial noise sources such as electrified railways. These data reduction methods have been applied to the voltages collected between Taiwan and Okinawa which greatly improves the accuracy of detecting the motionally induced voltages. The numerical simultaion of the cable voltages using realistic oceanographic and geophysical models has been completed and is being published.


Fisheries-Oceanography Coordinated Investigation

Accomplishments in FY 96

FOCI, one of a few marine fisheries oceanography programs in the world predicting recruitment, made its sixth prediction of pollock year class strength for Shelikof Strait: average recruitment for the 1996 year class. Component contributions were rainfall, wind mixing, advection, and rough counts of larval abundance. This forecast for the first time used robust empirical equations for rainfall and wind mixing relationships in contrast to previous subjective determinations.

Current moorings and satellite-tracked drifting buoys deployed during spring observed the weakest mean currents ever measured in Shelikof Strait and its sea valley. Flow in the sea valley was dominated by a large, weak clockwise rotation; flow down the strait was 5 cm s-1, in contrast to the more common 15 cm s-1. High concentrations of larvae were observed during the first larval survey. Assimilation of these data into FOCI's biophysical model should provide insight into how pollock larvae survive under such unique conditions.

The research basis for Shelikof Strait FOCI's first decade was documented in a special issue of Fisheries Oceanography (March 1996). Fourteen papers synthesized and presented new results. These included: elucidation of formation and maintenance of dynamics for larval patches, detection of mesoscale biophysical features using novel acoustic techniques, and simulation of pollock life history from egg to late larvae using a coupled physical, individual-based model.

Bering Sea made the first remote measurements of the progression of the spring bloom in the Bering Sea basin using a technologically advanced, moored biophysical platform. During spring 1996, the program augmented its knowledge of phytoplankton dynamics by flying a NOAA P-3 research aircraft equipped with an ocean color scanner over the slope and shelf. Preliminary resultss show higher phytoplankton concentrations where the sea ice is melting in the northern portion of the domain, and a prominent 100 by 200 km patch southeast of the Pribilof Islands with concentrations on the order of ten times background levels. This patch is in a region that has been found to feature a large spawning population of walleye pollock.

Using results from the genetic research component, historical surveys, and outside expertise, the project has compiled a draft report on stock structure of walleye pollock in the Bering Sea. Significant variation in mitochondrial DNA allows differentiation of eastern and western Bering Sea pollock and inference of potential gene flow between stocks.

Synthesis from five years of research defined two primary climatic modes for conditions during summer on the Bering Sea shelf. Warm or cold shelf conditions are indicated by the extent of seasonal sea ice in winter/spring and the direction of wind over the shelf in April. Certain higher trophic level species appear to vary in distribution on a multi-annual rather than interannual temporal scale, e.g., the distribution for adult walleye pollock across the shelf did not switch to the outer shelf during every cold year but only during periods when cold conditions persisted for at least three years. The distribution of age-1 pollock also varied with multiple cold or warm years, changing from the outer shelf to the middle and inner shelf as conditions warmed. Consequences of these two scales of variability must be considered when evaluating species interactions on an ecosystem scale.

PMEL was selected to co-manage Southeast Bering Sea Carrying Capacity ( SEBSCC), a 5-year, $1 million Coastal Ocean Program Regional Ecosystem Study. SEBSCC will focus on two elements of the ecosystem: 1) cross-shelf transport and fate of nutrients, and 2) juvenile pollock as a nodal species. A workshop was conducted in November 1995 from which a review document was produced and an announcement of opportunity developed. PMEL is represented on 5 of 15 successful proposals: monitoring and development of biophysical indices, circulation modeling, individual-based modeling of walleye pollock, the role of atmospheric forcing on the "cold pool" and ecosystem dynamics, and the influence of mesoscale eddies on the interaction of lower and higher trophic levels.


Ocean Environment Research Program

Accomplishments in FY 96

The VENTS project studies hydrothermal venting systems. A multi-institutional, interdisciplinary rapid response effort utilizing the NOAA Ship McArthur and UNOLS vessel Wecoma was carried out to study an active volcanic eruption on the northern Gorda Ridge in March and April. Several event plumes (megaplumes) were discovered during these rapid response cruises and a fresh lava flow was mapped using a towed camera system. This is only the second time a deep volcanic eruption along a portion of the global seafloor spreading center has been detected and studied while the eruption was active. This event, along with an eruption in 1993 on the Juan de Fuca Ridge, is providing a wealth of new insights into how such eruptions, the most common volcanic eruptions on Earth, affect the ocean s chemical, thermal, and biological environments. The Gorda and Juan de Fuca eruptions were detected and located using NOAA/PMEL's unique acoustic T- phase monitoring system.

During the eruption event response, a novel new experiment was successfully accomplished which made it possible, for the first time, to track and study the evolution of the hot, chemically enriched plumes associated with deep eruptions. This was done using a float which was precisely ballasted to remain within the plume as it was carried by deep ocean currents away from the eruption site. The float, which regularly recorded its position, surfaced after two months of traveling in the plume. Oceanographers were then able to map the movement of the plume and study the plume s chemical and thermal evolution.

Collaborations continued with microbiologists at the University of Washington to determine influences of hydrothermal fluid chemistry and geology on the ecology of a vast, newly discovered subseafloor biosphere as well as the species diversity of its microbial inhabitants. A NOAA initiative is being considered to begin a major research effort to understand and exploit this newly discovered microbial resource.

Major new features of the helium tracer field were discovered and published in Science. These new results, which include the first detailed map of the Loihi seamount helium plume, provide a much clearer map of deep ocean circulation in the north Pacific.

VENTS scientists completed an exhaustive three-year monitoring project of the 1993 Juan de Fuca Ridge seafloor eruption. Among many notable results, this effort yielded the first quantitative determination of heat and mass fluxes from both episodic and quasi-steadystate hydrothermal vent discharge during the entire life cycle of a volcanically-generated hydrothermal system. The effort also resulted in high- resolution, co-registered sidescan sonar and bathymetric maps of the region where the eruption occurred.

In FY 96, the VENTS Program successfully deployed and then later recovered very high-quaity acoustic data from an array of VENTS hydrophones which were designed to augment the acoustic monitoring being conducted using the Navy's SOSUS hydrophone arrays. The VENTS hydrophones are currently deployed in the eastern equatorial Pacific where they are monitoring seismic and volcanic activity along the most active portion of the Earth s seafloor spreading center system.

VENTS physical oceanography studies focused on the central portion of the Juan de Fuca Ridge, revealed the patterns of deep circulation that transport plume water and hydrothermal effluent away from the vent sources and incorporate them into the regional ocean circulation. These studies showed that hydrothermal venting generates unstable eddies that detach from vent plumes and transport plume material up to at least 1000km away from the venting source.

A three-dimensional eddy simulation convection model was completed which is now being used to investigate hydrothermal dispersion processes and the distribution of chemical and thermal constituents in and around hydrothermal plumes in the benthic water column. The model is effective in evaluating methodologies adopted for the analysis of hydrographic field data from hydrothermal venting regions.


Tsunami Project

Accomplishments in FY 96

The PMEL Tsunami Project seeks to mitigate tsunami hazards to Hawaii, California, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska through research aimed at improving operational products. Research efforts involve three tightly coupled programs: instrumental, observational, and modeling. These programs are designed to improve our fundamental understanding of tsunami generation, propagation, and inundation dynamics. The project is also involved in the application of this research to hazard mitigation. Two of these applications involve development of improved site-specific tsunami inundation maps and a real-time reporting tsunami measurement system.

Field work during FY 96 included two oceanographic cruises to recover and redeploy bottom pressure recorders (BPRs) in the tsunami monitoring network. In addition, a coastal and Pacific island tide gauge dataset was collected for each of five small tsunamis generated in FY 96, and a deep ocean BPR time series of the February 17, 1996, Irian Jaya event was acquired off the U.W. west coast.

A report was published on the successful test deployment of a real-time reporting tsunami measurement system off the U.S. west coast.

A report was published on subtidal bottom pressure fluctuations at Axial Seamount, off the West Coast. These fluctuations are part of the background oceanographic signals upon which tsunamis occur, and also provide important information about barotropic processes in the vicinity of the Juan de Fuca Ridge.

Two reports were published that compared in-situ water level measurements, including BPR time series, with satellite altimeter sea level estimates. This work demonstrates the utility of Tsunami Project BPR measurements to studies of low-frequency sea level phenomena.

The Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Implementation Plan was completed in April 1996, and the first year funding of $2.375 million was appropriated to implement the plan as requested.

A proposal to the Defense Advanced Research Projects, entitled the Early Detection and Forecast of Tsunamis, was completed in August, and funding of $500K was approved for the first year tasks.


Innovative Technology

Innovative technology in software and hardware has been developed in support of PMEL's research projects. Outstanding software and data management capabilities allow scientists to access, view and analyze observational and gridded data, and to work with geograpical information systems. Up-to-date information about PMEL research is available on the World Wide Web, and near-realtime data, analysis products and retrospective climatologies can be previewed and downloaded for further analysis. Perspective on PMEL's research program results is provided by World Wide Web Theme Pages. Essential support for computer and network technology are provided by PMEL's Computing and Network Services Division.

PMEL's Engineering Development Division supports PMEL research with innovations in elecronics, mechanics, materials, and sofware engineering. PMEL's measurement capabilities in the field and laboratory are enhanced by application of state-of-the-art instruments and systems that integrate observational and measurement technologies.


University/NOAA Partnerships

NOAA has established formal collaborative research agreements with participating universities to form the Joint Institutes. The Joint Institutes combine the resources of universities and NOAA to develop centers of excellence in environmental research.

PMEL complements its research efforts through four cooperative institutes: the Joint Institute for Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean (JISAO), with the University of Washington; the Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research (JIMAR), with the University of Hawaii; Cooperative Institute for Arctic Research (CIFAR), with the University of Alaska; and the Cooperative Institute for Marine Resources Studies (CIMRS), with Oregon State University.


Tropical Atmosphere-Oceans Program

Plans for FY 97

  • Maintain the TAO Array in support of NOAA's Seasonal to Interannual Climate Prediction Program (SICPP), the NOAA/PACS program, GOOS, GCOS, and CLIVAR/GOALS.
  • Continue the transition to Next Generation ATLAS moorings in the array. Build up radiation and rainfall measurement networks. Begin the collection of moored time series measurements in the tropical Atlantic and the South China Sea.
  • Begin systematic moored bio-optical, nutrient and chemical measurements.
  • Document phenomena and explore processes related to seasonal to interannual climate variations in the tropical Pacific, with emphasis on the equatorial cold tongue and the western Pacific warm pool.
  • Continue modeling and TAO-based empirical studies to evaluate satellite wind and sea level products as part of the TOPEX/POSEIDON extended mission and the NSCAT mission.
  • Continue evaluations of ocean and atmosphere reanalyses products, and of the impacts of TAO data on climate analysis and predictions.
  • Rescue high resolution (15-minute) historical TAO current meter data and make these data available on the World Wide Web.
  • Maintain and enhance on-line access to TAO data sets.

Thermal Modeling and Anaylsis Project

Plans for FY 97

  • Continue tropical Pacific data analysis and ocean modeling work in support of NOAA's Seasonal to Interannual Prediction mission. This includes analysis of model hindcasts of previous ENSO and Cold Event periods, studies of the roles of westerly wind events in ENSO periods, trying to understand the mechanisms responsible for the seasonal cycle of upper ocean currents and temperatures, and idealized process studies.
  • Complete the near-global composite description of ENSO and Cold Events, which began with the sea level pressure composite study described above.
  • Complete the description of the 3-D structure of westerly wind events in the tropical Pacific, and relate these to ENSO wind changes.
  • Continue studies to assess the space and time scales of tropical variability and the implications of these on the tropical ocean observing systems in place (Pacific) and undergoing design and preliminary implementation (Atlantic and Indian). Ocean model and observational data sets will be used to study the effectiveness of our observing systems. Extension of this activity to include the chemistry and biology of the ocean carbonate system will be explored.

Atmospheric Chemistry Program

Plans for FY 97

  • Analyze and publish ACE-1 and CSP data.
  • Continue long-term aerosol monitoring with ion chromatographic and gravimetric analysis of daily submicron and weekly supermicron aerosol samples from the NOAA Aerosol Monitoring Network stations at Sable Island and Bondville.
  • Continue the development of a coupled aerosol chemical and optical model.
  • Participate in ACE-2 aboard the R/V Vodyanitsky to: 1) document the chemical, physical, and radiative properties of aerosols in the various air masses of the Northeast Atlantic and to investigate the relationships between these properties, and 2) determine the physical and chemical processes controlling the formation, evolution, and fate of aerosols and how these processes affect the number size distribution, the chemical composition, and the radiative and cloud nucleating properties of the particles.

Carbon Dioxide Program

Plans for FY 97

During FY 97, the Ocean-Atmosphere Carbon Exchange Study will provide data reduction and synthesis of the current field data in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans, in collaboration with the participants of the DOE-CO2 Survey Science Team. In particular, the group will compare datasets with data obtained on other WOCE-WHP cruises and will provide internally consistent datasets encompassing roughly sixteen cruises in the Pacific Ocean, fifteen cruises in the Indian Ocean, and ten cruises in the Atlantic. These data will be used by the modeling community for setting boundary conditions for general ocean circulation models, to determine the DIC inventory in each basin using several independent methods as outlined in Wallace (1995), and to estimate anthropogenic CO2 increases in the ocean (Goyet and Brewer, 1993; Gruber and Sarmiento; in press; Slansky et al., submmitted). To facilitate comparisons of models and observations, the data will be gridded into similar box sizes as currently used in the models.

CO2 fluxes between air and water are poorly constrained because of lack of seasonal and geographic coverage of pCO2 (air-water disequilibrium) values and incomplete understanding of factors controlling the air-sea exchange. In addition to intensive monitoring of carbon parameters and parameters influencing pCO2 levels in surface water on dedicated cruises sponsored by OACES, PMEL, and AOML have outfitted the NOAA Ship Ka'imimoana with a new automated CO2 system to monitor surface water pCO2 on a continuous basis. While this effort has been a success we need more CO2 systems on NOAA ships to obtain the large area coverage. The new shipboard design (Fig. 2), patterned after the systems recently built at AOML and PMEL, uses stop-flow technology to reduce the amount of gas required for analysis by the LICOR detector. It will be improved to facilitate fully autonomous operation. The improvements will include automating draining of water traps, comprehensive self diagnostics by the program running the computer, and automatic rebooting capabilities of the system if errors are detected. The underway system will be an integrated package for measurement of pCO2 in air and water and support sensors necessary to reduce the data (such as equilibrator temperature, location, salinity, sea surface temperature, and barometric pressure). The comprehensive automated package will facilitate operations on ships of opportunity. The NOAA Ship Ka'imimoana, used to maintain the TAO moorings on six month intervals, offers an excellent opportunity to determine seasonal and secular trends in the region.

In addition to this activity, we will continue our pCO2 instrument development activities with the group at MBARI , directed by Francisco Chavez, to provide a suite of chemical and biological sensors deployed on the 155W and 170W TAO morring array in the equatorial Pacific in November of 1996. The work leverages on developmental efforts carried out by MBARI (with support from NOAA, NASA, and PMEL) over the past several years. The primary objectives of this project are: (1) to determine the relationships between physical forcing, primary production and the exchange of carbon dioxide between ocean and atmosphere; (2) to determine the biological and chemical responses to climatic and ocean variability in the equatorial Pacific; (3) to determine the spatial, seasonal and interannual variability in primary production, carbon dioxide, and nutrient distributions; and (4) to determine the spatial, seasonal and interannual variability of sea surface pigment distributions to groundtruth sattelite measurements of ocean color.


CFC Tracer and Large-Scale Ocean Circulation Program

Plans for FY 97

  • Develop improved techniques for the long-term storage of dissolved CFC samples.
  • Improve analytical techniques for measuring CFCs in the atmosphere and ocean.
  • Determine the solubilities of CFCs and carbon tetrachloride in seawater.
  • Continue the program to monitor annual variability of dense water formation and ventilation process in the Greenland-Iceland-Norwegian Seas, using CFCs and helium/tritium as tracers.
  • Take the lead on the initial synthesis of the CFC data collected as part of the WOCE Hydrographic Progam Pacific One-Time Survey, in colloboration with other investigators.
  • Continue interactions with modelers and utilize the CFC results to help evaluate and improve the ability of numerical models to realistically simulate oceanic ventilation processes as well as carbon uptake and transport.

Monitoring Transport of Ocean Currents

Plans for FY 97

  • Reconfigure the West Palm Beach cable measurements when it becomes an out-of-service cable.
  • Continue Colaboration on cable voltages with Japan and Taiwan.
  • Make plans for colaboration with a group in the Canary Island for measuring voltages of the Canary Current .

Fisheries-Oceanography Coordinated Investigation

Plans for FY 97

  • Conduct spring, summer, and fall research cruises to the North Pacific, Gulf of Alaska, and Bering Sea supporting physical and biophysical research for FOCI, Arctic Research Initiative, and GLOBEC.
  • Refine biophysical models for Shelikof Strait and eastern Bering Sea shelf.
  • Forecast recruitment of 1997 walleye pollock year class for Shelikof Strait.
  • Produce a recruitment studies summary report contrasting the affects of slope and shelf habitat on survival of walleye pollock in the eastern Bering Sea.
  • Provide access and analysis capabilites to Bering Sea data through the World Wide Web.
  • Develop a web-based theme page for communication between PIs and other researchers interested in Bering Sea and North Pacific research.
  • Synthesize knowledge of the physical environment of the Bering Sea shelf.

Ocean Environment Research Program

Plans for FY 97

  • Expand continuous plume monitoring program from north Cleft to south Cleft and Axial Volcano on the Juan de Fuca Ridge.
  • Continue on ridge-crest processes and monitoring to determine flow changes affecting plume detachment from its source, effects of rift walls of circulation and plume dispersion and maintain moorings at N/S Cleft and Axial.
  • Build and deploy an array of new instruments to measure seafloor spreading, as part of RIDGE Observatory.
  • Analyze and publish results from CoAxial and Gorda Ridge expeditions.
  • Continue to develop and use high-performance numerical models to look at the effects of hydrothermal discharge on the benthic ocean.
  • Construct and ballast additional RAFOS floats for future volcanic event responses.
  • Begin interpretation of FY 96 hydrothermal gas chemistry results in collaboration with U.S. and Japanese colleagues.
  • Continue to broaden understanding of the interplay of chemical and geological processes with the volcanic and microbiology environments.
  • Maintain SOSUS and autonomous hydrophone arrays/analysis.
  • Begin development of real-time data link to autonomous hydrophones.
  • Organize and lead expedition on NOAA Ship Ron Brown to map deformation of the Gorda Plate.

Tsunami Project

Plans for FY 97

  • Maintain Tsunami Project network of observational stations.
  • Deploy real-time tsunami deep ocean measurement system in Gulf of Alaska.
  • Establish near-real-time system for the collection and archiving of Hawaii coastal sea level data.
  • Develop June 10, 1996, field observations database.
  • Implement and test tsunami numerical models for Pacific Disaster Center.
  • Convene meeting of Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Federal/State Working Group.
About Us | Research | Publications | Data | Infrastructure | Theme Pages | Education
US Department of Commerce | NOAA | OAR | PMEL
Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory
NOAA /R/PMEL
7600 Sand Point Way NE
Seattle, WA 98115
  Phone: (206) 526-6239
Fax: (206) 526-6815
Contacts
Privacy Policy | Disclaimer | Accessibility Statement
oar.pmel.webmaster@noaa.gov
Watch PMEL's YouTube Channel