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

What's New Archive

Media Contact Information:

Monica Allen
NOAA Communications & NOAA Research

Lauren Koellermeier
PMEL Education and Outreach Coordinator

map of underwater volano

New Study Will Help Evaluate Hazard Potential of Submarine Eruptions
Week of July 15, 2014

An article just published in Oceanography by PMEL’s Dr. Robert Embley and collaborators at Japan's JAMSTEC, Oregon State University (CIMRS), Washington University, and the University of Texas, Dallas  describes the site of a 2010 submarine eruption of a 200 meter deep seamount in the Mariana arc that was powerful enough to produce an atmospheric plume.  Comparisons of pre- (2002) and post- (2013) eruption bathymetric surveys reveal a new 400m diameter crater.  This new map targeted dives with a JAMSTEC remotely operated vehicle in 2013.  This new information will help evaluate the hazard potential of submarine eruptions. 

For more information please visit the PMEL Earth-Ocean Interactions website.


PMEL and Partners Study Ocean Acidification in Prince William Sound
Week of July 8, 2014

Led by Dr. Jeremy Mathis, PMEL teamed up with the University of Alaska and the Alaska Ocean Observing System this summer and early fall to use new unmanned tools to study how melting glaciers in Alaska’s Prince William Sound may be intensifying ocean acidification in the sound and on the Gulf of Alaska continental shelf.  PMEL engineers outfitted two Carbon Wave Gliders and one underwater Slocum glider with sensors to help better understand the unique processes of glacial melt water and how they change the chemistry of the water column in Prince William Sound.

To read more about this project please visit the NOAA Research News website.

image of PAPA mooring SST

PMEL Researchers Monitor Unusually Warm Surface Water in Northeast Pacific
Week of June 16, 2014

Researchers at PMEL and JISAO are monitoring an area of warm surface water that has been occupying the Northeast Pacific near Ocean Climate Station Papa buoy.  This mass of water, nicknamed “The Blob”, was about 3 degrees Celsius warmer than normal in February and is maintaining its abnormal heat into the summer.  The warm water has implications for the marine ecosystem and could affect the weather in the Pacific Northwest.  Past summers with especially warm water off the coast have tended to be warmer and more humid than usual.

To check out the latest conditions with The Blob, visit the Ocean Climate Station Papa buoy page.

photo of PMEL Sea Sweep

PMEL’s Atmospheric Chemistry Group “Sweeps” the North Atlantic Ocean
Week of June 5, 2014

PMEL’s Dr. Trish Quinn led a group of PMEL and JISAO scientists on a recent cruise in the North Atlantic Ocean to assess how ocean biogeochemistry impacts sea spray particles. Quantifying the size and composition of sea spray particles is critical for parameterizing cloud condensation nuclei in climate models.  The particles are generated using the PMEL developed Sea Sweep device that is deployed over the side of the ship to collect samples. 

The study, which ended on June 5, is part of the Western Atlantic Climate Study II (WACS II) and was conducted using the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute’s R/V Knorr.  For more information please visit PMEL’s Atmospheric Chemistry website.

photo of FOCI mooring

20 years of solitude – EcoFOCI’s M2 mooring logs 7000 days in the Bering Sea
Week of May 19, 2014

PMEL and Alaska Fisheries Science Center’s EcoFOCI program just deployed the M2 mooring in the southeastern Bering Sea for the 20th consecutive year.  The mooring has been providing year-round measurements of temperature, salinity, nitrite, chlorophyll, and currents in this highly productive area since 1994.  These measurements are used in annual report cards and stock assessments provided to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.  Long-term time-series at this site are a critical tool for adapting to climate change and guiding sustainable management of living resources in the Bering Sea.

Visit the EcoFOCI website for more information on their work in the Bering Sea, Gulf of Alaska, and Arctic waters. 

Evidence Found That Ocean Acidification is Dissolving Pteropod Shells off U.S. West Coast
Week of April 30, 2014

PMEL carbon scientists Drs. Nina Bednarsek and Richard Feely were part of a NOAA-led team to find the first evidence that acidity of continental shelf waters off the West Coast dissolving the shells of pteropods.  Their research, published April 30 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, estimates that the percentage of pteropods in this region with dissolving shells due to ocean acidification has doubled since the pre-industrial era and is on track to triple by 2050 when coastal waters become 70 more corrosive due to human-caused ocean acidification.

Read more on the NOAA press release and the PMEL Carbon Group ocean acidification page.


PMEL Contributes to NOAA Arctic Action Plan
Week of April 22, 2014

PMEL scientist and Arctic expert, Dr. James Overland, was one of the program leads on the recently released NOAA Arctic Action Plan.  The plan provides a roadmap to make shared progress in monitoring, understanding, and protecting the vulnerable Arctic region.  PMEL is actively involved in Arctic climate dynamics research by conducting observations and evaluating models of Arctic sea ice to document and predict climate change impacts on Arctic marine ecosystems.

Find out more on the NOAA Arctic theme page and PMEL Arctic research web pages.


EcoFOCI Contributes to New Understanding of Bering Sea Fisheries and Ecosystems
Week of April 15, 2014

The Bering Sea Project, a 6-year multidisciplinary program encompassing the work of more than 100 collaborating scientists, has led to major new understanding of the role of sea ice and changing climate in one of the world’s most commercially viable fisheries. The timing of spring sea ice retreat influences large zooplankton yields, an important prey species, and impacts pollock recruitment in the Bering Sea Fisheries.

Results were presented at the Bering Sea Open Science Meeting and EcoFOCI’s major contributions to the program are published in a series of Headline Articles and Deep Sea Research II special issues.

PMEL Models April 1 Chilean Tsunami Event
Week of April 4, 2014

Immediately following a magnitude 8.2 earthquake off the coast of Chile on April 1, scientists at PMEL began modeling the event using real-time data from DART® moorings that measured the tsunami 30 minutes after the earthquake struck. They accurately predicted wave arrival times and heights for US coastal communities like Hilo, Hawaii, where a tide gauge recorded a 50 cm tsunami wave. 

Please visit the Chile tsunami event page for more information, including tide gauge comparisons with model data for other communities.


Research Shows Carbon Dioxide in the Tropical Pacific Increasing Faster Than Expected
Week of March 26, 2014

Research published recently in Global Biogeochemical Cycles describes how observations in the tropical Pacific now show human activity is contributing to increasing CO2 levels where, previously, natural variability has dominated ocean CO2 patterns.  Lead author, PMEL/JISAO scientist Adrienne Sutton, along with PMEL’s Dr. Richard Feely also conclude that the rates of CO2 and acidity in seawater are just as rapid in the tropical Pacific as in polar regions, which are considered one of the harbingers of ocean acidification.

To read more please visit the NOAA Research news page.  


New Study Examines Links Between Sea Surface Carbon Pool and Sea Spray Aerosol
Week of February 28, 2014

In a paper published recently in Nature Geoscience PMEL Atmospheric Chemistry group, led by Dr. Patricia Quinn, and others show that the organic carbon content of sea spray aerosol (produced by breaking waves on the ocean surface) was similar in all regions sampled, regardless of the presence or absence of plankton blooms.  Previously, all large scale climate models have used chlorophyll-a, a proxy for plankton biomass, to predict the organic carbon content of sea spray aerosol. This study concludes that this method will lead to inaccurate predictions.

For more information on this study please visit the Nature Geoscience website to download the full paper.


Large Atlantic Ocean Survey Completed
Week of February 5, 2014

From August 2013 to February 2014, PMEL scientists and technicians from multiple groups participated in an Atlantic Ocean survey of the A16 line from 63°N near Iceland to 63°S near Chile on the NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown.  In total, 258 full water column stations were sampled over 100 days at sea along the section, making a variety of physical, chemical and biological measurements.  The data collected on this expedition will be compared with earlier data sets from previous decades to detect changes in ocean properties.

You can find more information about this expedition by visiting the A16N and A16S web pages. 


New Study Links Frequency of Extreme El Niños to Greenhouse Warming
Week of January 21, 2014

For the first time, in a research article published January 19 in Nature Climate ChangePMEL’s Dr. Michael McPhaden and a team of international scientists provide robust and convincing evidence that greenhouse warming will double the chance of extreme El Niño events in the coming decades. The scientists examined 20 climate models and found a doubling of extreme El Niño events, like the one in 1997-98, from present-day through the next 100 years in response to greenhouse warming.

For more information on El Niño, please visit the Tropical Atmosphere Ocean project website.

Image caption: In both present-day climate (a) and future climate (b), convection zones in the western Pacific and the ITCZ latitudes shift from their normal positions (blue clouds) to the equatorial Pacific during an extreme El Niño event (red clouds).


Polar Vortex Carries Cold Weather Into Eastern United States
Week of January 6, 2014

PMEL’s Dr. James Overland explains why the eastern United States is experiencing frigid temperatures in early January 2014 on the Arctic web site's new Polar Vortex page. He describes how in the last five years we have seen the jet stream transform from its typical, nice oval pattern around the North Pole to more of a wavy formation, and this waviness is resulting in colder weather being carried into the eastern US and eastern Asia.

Visit the Arctic web site to read more about the polar vortex and how the connection between the Arctic warming trend and more severe weather in mid-latitudes is an active area of research.

Image caption: Regions of light blue color show the counter-clockwise path of the jet stream for January 6, 2014. The map in white near the bottom center shows the outline of the U.S.

2013 Arctic Report Card Released
Week of December 12, 2013

PMEL’s Dr. James Overland is one of three editors of the 2013 Arctic Report Card, released December 12 at the American Geophysical Union's fall meeting. Authored by 147 scientists from 14 countries, this year's report concluded that while long-term warming and environmental change trends persist in the Arctic, 2013 was not as extreme as 2012. PMEL’s Dr. Patricia Quinn and JISAO’s Dr. Muyin Wang also contributed to the 2013 report.

Please visit the Arctic Report Card website for more updates on Arctic conditions for the atmosphere, sea ice, ocean temperature and salinity, marine ecosystems, terrestrial ecosystems, and terrestrial cryosphere.


PMEL and Partners Deploy First Ocean Acidification Mooring in the Indian Ocean
Week of November 27, 2013

PMEL successfully deployed the first carbon dioxide flux and ocean acidification mooring in the Northern Indian Ocean on November 23.  The Bay of Bengal Ocean Acidification (BOBOA) mooring will help us understand the large intraseasonal, seasonal and interannual biogeochemical variations in the Bay of Bengal, and how the marine ecosystem in the Bay is changing over time.

This mooring is part of the Research Moored Array for African-Asian-Australian Monsoon Analysis and Prediction (RAMA) made possible through a close partnership with NOAA and Bay of Bengal partners.  Read more and see live data on the BOBOA Carbon website.


PMEL Participates in Large Atlantic Ocean Survey
Week of November 13, 2013

A two-month long oceanographic expedition, led by PMEL’s Dr. John Bullister and AOML's Dr. Molly Baringer, along the A16N line in the Atlantic Ocean was recently completed on NOAA ship Ronald H. Brown.  About 50 scientists, from 6 countries made a variety of physical, chemical and biological measurements in the water column and atmosphere.

The data will be compared with historical data collected 10 and 20 years earlier in this region to look for changes in ocean properties and as a reference data set for future studies.  More information, including blogs by participating teachers and students can be found online here.   


KEO Mooring Survives Three Typhoons in One Month
Week of October 30, 2013

The tropical cyclone Pabuk passed NOAA’s Kuroshio Extension Observatory (KEO) mooring on September 26, 2013, followed by Wipha on October 15th, and Francisco on October 26th. Measurements collected during Typhoon Pabuk will be compared with observations made during Typhoon Choi-Wan, which passed KEO on September 19, 2009.  Both Choi-Wan and Pabuk were transitioning to extratropical storms as they passed KEO, like Hurricane Sandy when it made landfall.

Wipha and Francisco passed north of KEO. Analysis of data from KEO during the passage of typhoons will contribute to better understanding and prediction of tropical cyclones worldwide.

2013 North Pole Web Cam Recovered
Week of October 21, 2013

The 2013 North Pole web cams were recovered on September 20, marking the end of another successful season monitoring Arctic conditions.  The web cams are part of the North Pole Environmental Observatory, tracking snow cover, weather conditions, and formation/refreeze of melt ponds.  The above YouTube video above is a time lapse of images for the period from April - September 2013. 

For more information please visit the 2013 North Pole web cam website


PMEL Participates in IPCC 5th Assessment Report
Week of September 30, 2013

PMEL scientists Drs. Christopher Sabine and Gregory Johnson participated in the final government approval meeting for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group I Fifth Assessment Report's Summary for Policymakers (SPM) in Stockholm, Sweden during the week of September 23. Delegates and scientists from 110 countries agreed that warming of the climate system is unequivocal and that it is extremely likely (95% confidence) that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.

The final draft of the full Physical Science Basis report to which PMEL’s Drs. James Overland and Richard Feely also contributed will be out soon.


PMEL Deploys Latest Tsunami Detection System
Week of September 23, 2013

PMEL engineers deployed a Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunamis (DART®) 4th generation monitoring system off the coast of Oregon last week.  This system is an enhanced version of the DART®-ETD (Easy to Deploy) technology developed at NOAA-PMEL that incorporates advancements in sensors, software and power management to detect and measure near-field tsunami with unprecedented resolution. An improved pressure sensor will be able to detect and measure a tsunami closer to the earthquake source providing valuable information to warning centers even faster.

Please visit the DART® website for more information on this technology.

PMEL Provides Expertise for Development of Ocean pH Sensor
Week of September 9, 2013

On Monday, September 9, the launch of the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPrize was announced. XPrize partnered with NOAA and PMEL to help design the XPrize, a $2M competition for the development of two pH sensors to improve our understanding of ocean acidification and the effects of CO2 emissions on ocean health. 

PMEL scientists Drs. Christopher Sabine and Richard Feely will act as members of the Prize Council and as central advisors for the 2-year competition period. Visit the XPrize website for competition entry details and additional information.


Papa Mooring Central to Ocean Observatories Initiative Global Node
Week of August 21, 2013

Since it began maintaining a mooring station at the Papa site in the Gulf of Alaska in 2007, PMEL’s Ocean Climate Station program has been providing climate and weather observations.  In July 2013, Papa became central to the National Science Foundation’s Ocean Observatories Initiative global node with the addition of two more moorings, a nearby profiling mooring, and three gliders at the site.

Visit the Ocean Climate Station Papa website for more information.


PMEL Contributes to 2012 State of the Climate Report
Week of August 12, 2013

The American Meteorological Society released its 2012 State of the Climate report in August that provides annual updates on global climate indicators compiled by 384 scientists from 52 countries.  PMEL scientists contributed to 6 articles including updates on the global carbon cycle, ocean heat content, ocean acidification, and Arctic air conditions.  

For more information please see the NOAA press release and access the PMEL articles from the publication database.


PMEL Leads West Coast Ocean Acidification Cruise
Week of August 1, 2013

Scientists from PMEL left for a month-long research cruise in the beginning of August to better understand how the marine ecosystem is responding to changing ocean chemistry along the U.S. West Coast. Scientists aboard the NOAA Ship Fairweather will study the chemistry and biology of the marine ecosystem along 16 transect lines and, for the first time, assess impacts of changing ocean acidification upon this ecosystem in the open ocean.

Please visit the NOAA Ocean Acidification program website for more information, including a cruise blog that will be updated during the month long science expedition.


Melt Ponds Widespread in Arctic Sea Ice
Week of July 16, 2013

PMEL and JISAO scientists are tracking Arctic sea ice conditions with animations of images from web cams deployed in springtime at the North Pole by the North Pole Environmental Observatory.  Images received on July 15 (seen left) reveal widespread ponds in the sea ice.  Although some melt pond formation was observed as early as June 7 on the far horizon, cloudy conditions seen in the animations may have contributed to the late widespread melt pond formation that is only now clearly visible.

For historical sea ice conditions observed by the web cams, see the sea ice transition website.


Scientists Hear Iceberg Break Apart in Southern Ocean
Week of June 20, 2013

A newly released report at Oceanography details the work of scientists and engineers with PMEL’s Cooperative Institute for Marine Resources Studies (CIMRS) to analyze the sound of iceberg A52 breaking apart in the Southern Ocean using underwater hydrophones. The authors concluded that sounds measured are significantly greater than anthropogenic noises and should therefore be considered as a major contributor to the overall ocean noise budget.

For more information on PMEL’s Acoustic program please visit their website.

Left: Satellite image showing a large fracture forming in iceberg A53a credit:


PMEL Delivers Instruments for Cabled Observatory Program
Week of May 30, 2013

PMEL engineers and JISAO and CIMRS scientists delivered several instruments to the University of Washington during the month of May that will be plugged in to the Regional Scale Nodes cabled observatory at Axial Seamount later this summer.  Building on the success of PMEL’s NeMO seafloor observatory PMEL, 5 bottom pressure recording and tilt recorders and 3 time series vent fluid samplers for chemistry and microbiology built at PMEL will be part of the Ocean Observatory Initiative (OOI) cabled observatory program funded by the National Science Foundation.

The instruments will be plugged into the cabled observatory this summer using the ship R/V Thomson and the ROPOS Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV).


PMEL Participating in NASA Project with New Mooring Technology
Week of May 15, 2013

PMEL’s Dr. Billy Kessler is currently participating in NASA’s Salinity Processes in the Upper Ocean Regional Study (SPURS) in the Atlantic Ocean. SPURS addresses the role of the ocean in the global water cycle. PMEL engineers have contributed to this study by developing and deploying two Prawler (Profiler + Crawler) equipped moorings. The Prawler device, which is attached to the mooring line, uses wave-powered energy to crawl up the line, taking temperature/salinity measurements along the way. 

You can read more about how the Prawler works and view the data in near real time on PMEL’s Engineering Development Division website


PMEL Scientist Receives 2013 Georg Wüst Prize
Week of April 29, 2013

NOAA/PMEL Oceanographer Gregory C. Johnson received the 2013 Georg Wüst Prize for outstanding achievement in marine science from the German Society for Marine Research in an 8 April ceremony at the European Geosciences Union's General Assembly in Vienna, Austria. This biennial prize is sponsored by Springer Verlag's Ocean Dynamics.  Immediately prior to the award, Dr. Johnson gave a keynote science lecture entitled "Warming, Contraction, and Freshening of Antarctic Bottom Water since the 1990s, with a Potential Ice-Sheet Melt Feedback".

Johnson leads the PMEL's Argo Ocean Floats program.


New Research Predicts a Nearly Ice Free Summer Arctic Before 2050
April 16, 2013

Dr. James Overland of PMEL and Dr. Muyin Wang of JISAO recently published a paper in Geophysical Research Letters looking at three methods of predicting when the Arctic will be nearly ice free in the summer.  They predict a nearly ice free summer arctic before 2050, sooner than many previously thought.

Learn more from the NOAA press release and visit the NOAA Arctic web page


Scientists From the PMEL EcoFOCI Project Cruise the Gulf of Alaska
Week of April 8, 2013

This April, PMEL and JISAO (University of Washington) scientists with EcoFOCI embark on a month-long research cruise in the Gulf of Alaska on the NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson. Scientists will be studying hydrography, nutrients, chlorophyll, and primary production, as well as sampling zooplankton and larval fish abundance as part of the multi-year Gulf of Alaska Integrated Ecosystem Research Program.

You can follow along with scientists and technicians as they work in the Gulf of Alaska on the JISAO blog.


UW-PMEL Study Examines Freshening of Antarctic Bottom Water
Week of March 27, 2013

University of Washington Ph.D. student Sarah Purkey along with PMEL’s Dr. Gregory Johnson have analyzed full-depth, ship-based measurements taken along repeat oceanographic sections around the Southern Ocean from the 1980s-2000s.  Their new study, which appears online in the Journal of Climate, quantifies freshening of Antarctic Bottom Water, strongest adjacent to where ice sheets have been melting in recent decades.

For more information on this study please visit the Journal of Climate website.


New Study Shows Some Coastlines Face Double Whammy From Tsunamis
Week of March 4, 2013

In a paper published February 27 at the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, scientists from PMEL and JISAO with others explain why, in some cases, tsunami inundation far exceeds what one expects.  Lessons learned from tsunamis, such as the one observed in northern Japan in 2011 will help scientists better identify locations that are “tsunami magnets”, and thus help save lives in the future.

For more information please visit the NOAA Center of Tsunami Research website


New Study Shows Strong El Niño Signal With Satellites
Week of February 7, 2013

PMEL’s Dr. Ed Harrison and JISAO’s Dr. Andy Chiodi co-authored a paper published online on February 7 in the Journal of Climate that finds a new way to identify which El Niño events will have the biggest impact on U.S. winter weather. They examined an indicator known as outgoing long-wave radiation (OLR) and found that El Niño events with drops in OLR were most likely to be associated with winter weather.

For more information please read the NOAA press release.


PMEL Participates in Utah Air Quality Study
Week of January 23, 2013

PMEL’s Atmospheric Chemistry group will be in Utah from January 24 through February participating in the second year of the Utah Air Quality Study to determine what is causing high levels of ozone during winter in the oil and gas production fields in Utah.  PMEL’s role is to measure properties of atmospheric particles and snow, including chemical composition, to assess their role in ozone production. 

To find out more information about this study please visit the Atmospheric Chemistry web site.


PIRATA Array Monitors Tropical Atlantic Ocean
Week of January 9, 2013

PMEL technicians departed the week of January 7 for a 7-week cruise on the NOAA Ship Ronald H.Brown in the Northeast Atlantic to service moorings in the Prediction and Research Moored Array in the Atlantic (PIRATA).  PMEL will be deploying 5 moorings at 4 PIRATA sites. 

The PIRATA array was established in 1997 in partnership with France and Brazil and studies ocean-atmosphere interactions in the tropical Atlantic.  Visit the PIRATA web page for more information.


Argo Float Makes One Millionth Profile
Week of December 11, 2012

The worldwide Argo float array of over 3,000 devices made its one-millionth profile in the beginning of December.  Measuring temperature and salinity in the first 3,000 feet of the ocean, the Argo float array helps scientists better understand changes in ocean heat content and salinity. 

PMEL currently has 476 active Argo floats mostly in the Pacific Ocean, making up 13% of the worldwide array.  You can find out more about PMEL’s Argo floats and where they are located on their website.

2012 Arctic Report Card Breaks Records
Week of December 5, 2012

The Arctic region continued to break records in 2012 - among them, the loss of summer sea ice, late spring snow cover, and melting of the Greenland ice sheet - as the region settles into a new state. This was true even though air temperatures in the Arctic were unremarkable relative to the last decade.

Major findings include record lows in snow and Arctic sea ice extent, record setting glacier and Greenland ice sheet melt, and greening of the tundra, with varied impacts on marine and terrestrial ecosystems.


Publication Documents First Evidence of Ocean Acidification Affecting Marine Organisms
Week of November 26, 2012

In a study published November 25 online in Nature Geoscience, PMEL's Dr. Nina Bednarsek and co-authors describes the first evidence of anthropogenic carbon dioxide dissolving the shells of marine snails, known as pteropods, in the Southern Ocean.   These findings, discovered during a 2008 science cruise, are some of the first documenting the impacts of ocean acidification on marine organisms in their natural environment.

PMEL's Dr. Richard Feely is a co-author. For more information on ocean acidification please visit the PMEL Carbon website


PMEL Tsunami Scientists Model Recent Tsunami Event
Week of November 14, 2012

Scientists at NOAA’s Center for Tsunami Research at PMEL modeled the most recent tsunami event at the end of October.  On October 27 a 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of British Columbia and sent measurable tsunami waves across the Pacific Ocean.  Tsunami wave size and arrival times were accurately predicted for many U.S. coastline communities thanks in part to PMEL’s tsunami forecast model and tsunami detection buoys (DART®).  Scientists will use this data to help further refine their models to assist with future tsunami events.

Please visit the tsunami event page to see model comparisons with actual tide gage data.

PMEL Helps Reconstruct the Historical Climate of the Arctic
Week of October 24, 2012

JISAO scientist, Dr. Kevin Wood, along with NOAA and the U.S. National Archives are teaming with Old Weather and thousands of citizen volunteers to transcribe climate data from historical ship logbooks into modern digital formats that can be used to extend modern global climate data sets to earlier times in order to better understand the climate of today.

Visit the new Arctic Rediscovery website which includes a gallery of photos revealing fascinating details of life on historical ships in the Bering Sea/Arctic, related student projects, and other resources.


PMEL Led Study Describes Changing Arctic Winds
Week of October 10, 2012

A study led by PMEL's Dr James Overland, published in the October 10 issue of Geophysical Research Letters, shows how changes in summer Arctic wind patterns contribute not only to unprecedented loss of Arctic sea ice, but could also bring about shifts in North American and European weather.

Dr. Overland and others shows a change in the summer Arctic wind pattern over the past six years when compared to patterns for the previous 20 years.  For more information see the NOAA press release.

PMEL Participates in Atlantic Ocean NASA Study
Week of September 24, 2012

PMEL engineers have successfully deployed two moorings in the Atlantic Ocean as part of NASA’s multi-year Salinity Processes in the Upper Ocean Regional Study (SPURS).  The moorings are the first to a PMEL invented device, called a prawler that crawls up and down the mooring line measuring temperature and salinity along the way.  The prawler, about the size of a paint can, will measure the upper 1,600 feet of the ocean and uses wave energy to crawl back to the top to begin another profile.

For more information see the YouTube video above and read the ‘Prawling’ around in the Atlantic news story.

Scientists Return to West Mata Underwater Volcano Range
Week of September 9, 2012

PMEL’s Dr. Bob Embley and JISAO’s Dr. Joe Resing will lead an expedition back to the NE Lau Basin near Fiji to map hydrothermal sites and re-visit the explosive West Mata volcano.  Discovered in 2008, the West Mata volcano is the deepest active underwater volcano ever caught on film (watch how it was discovered in the YouTube video above). 

You can follow along with the expedition on NOAA’s Ocean Explorer website from September 9-26, which includes daily logs and a live feed from the seafloor.

First Study to Estimate Total Tsunami Energy Published
Week of August 22, 2012

In papers published in the Journal of Geophysical Research – Oceans and Pure and Applied Geophysics, scientists from NOAA’s Center for Tsunami Research at PMEL and the University of Washington estimated, for the first time, the total energy of the 2011 Japan tsunami from measurements made in real time during the tsunami propagation. 

When using the new energy estimate in tsunami computer models, the model results matched actual tsunami flood levels along the coast of Japan with much higher accuracy than models run without the energy estimate. These results will help scientists to further improve the tsunami forecast system. Read more


PMEL Carbon Group Surveys U.S. West Coast
Week of July 27, 2012

The Carbon Group in partnership with PMEL engineers will be sailing, gliding and diving their way along the West Coast from July to September to continue time series measurements of carbon dioxide and ocean acidification conditions along the coast.

By using data from ships, buoys, surface and subsurface gliders, PMEL and partners hope to demonstrate how all these observation systems can work together to help paint a more accurate picture of ocean acidification off the U.S. West Coast.   Explore more at the Carbon Group website.


NOAA Science Camp Celebrates 10 Years
Week of July 6, 2012

PMEL and University of Washington scientists will help campers turn into oceanographers at the 10th annual NOAA Science Camp in Seattle, Washington the weeks of July 9th and 16th.  Middle school campers will get to experience what it is like to be an oceanographer by using instruments to measure physical properties of the water and atmosphere as well as getting the chance to see a working buoy in the water and learn how PMEL uses buoys to gather data around the world.

For more information please visit the Washington Sea Grant Science Camp website.


NOAA Vents Scientists Discover Precursors to Undersea Eruption
Week of June 19, 2012

Recently published papers on Axial Seamount in the journal Nature Geoscience present, for the first time, precursory signals recorded by seafloor instruments before an undersea volcanic eruption.  NOAA and Oregon State University scientists Dr. Bill Chadwick and Dr. Bob Dziak suggest that such signals could be used to issue both long-term and short-term forecasts of future eruptions at the site.

For more information please visit the NOAA Vents Program website.


PMEL Contributes to New Bering Sea Research
June 6, 2012

Bering Sea marine mammals, birds, and fish are shifting where they eat, bear their young, and make their homes in response to changes in sea ice extent and duration. These patterns of change are documented in a special issue of the journal of Deep Sea Research II now available online with many authors from PMEL’s Ecosystem & Fisheries-Oceanography Coordinated Investigations program.

You can read more on the NOAA press release.


PMEL Deploys Adopt a Drifter Buoy for Local High School
Week of May 22, 2012

PMEL scientists with the Fisheries Oceanographyprogram helped deploy a drifter adopted by Ballard High School's Oceanography class as part of NOAA’s Adopt a Drifter program.  The drifter was lowered off the side of the NOAA ship Oscar Dysonin the Bering Sea and will travel with the ocean currents while students track its path and predict where it might go next.

For more information, please visit NOAA’s Adopt a Drifter program website.


PMEL to Participate in Seattle NOAA Open House
Week of May 7, 2012

Come explore, celebrate, learn and discover all that NOAA does in Seattle at an Open House on Friday June 8 as part of the 2012 Science Festival with the Pacific Science Center.  Join us for guided tours, lectures, and films plus meet with real NOAA scientists and engineers to ask them those hard questions about what is happening to our planet.

For more information please visit the Science Festival calendar page.  Hope to see you all there!


New Study Shows Direct Link Between Ocean Acidity Oyster Larvae Mortality
Week of April 12, 2012

PMEL’s Dr. Richard Feely is one of the authors on a recently released article in Limnology and Oceanography providing the first concrete evidence in North America that carbon dioxide being taken up by the oceans is killing oyster larvae.  Scientists found that when oyster larvae were exposed to deep, more corrosive waters they did not survive to adulthood. 

For more information on ocean acidification and the research being done at PMEL please visit the Carbon Group web page.


Scientists Quantify Large Decrease in Antarctic Bottom Water
Week of March 20, 2012

PMEL scientists have found a large reduction in the amount of the coldest deep ocean water, called Antarctic Bottom Water, all around the Southern Ocean over the past few decades.  Sarah Purkey, a University of Washington graduate student, and PMEL’s Dr. Gregory Johnson present these findings in Journal of Climate article now available online.

Changes in this water mass contribute to sea level rise and Earth’s heat uptake. Read more in the NOAA press release.


Nature Article Features PMEL Tsunami Research
Week of March 7, 2012

Lessons learned from the March 11, 2011 Tohoku tsunami are highlighted in a recent Nature article nearly a year after the devastating earthquake and tsunami that killed over 18,000 people.   This tsunami highlighted the need for a more accurate warning system for those shorelines closest the earthquake.  Scientists at PMEL are working with international colleagues to develop a system that will be able to predict the severity of coastal flooding faster in order to issue accurate and timely warnings. 

Please visit the NOAA Center for Tsunami Research website for more information.


Oceanography Special Issue Highlights Over 20 Years of Research
Week of February 24, 2012

The NOAA Vents Program is proud to be a large part of a recently published special issue of Oceanography and supplement that focuses on over 20 years of research on mid ocean spreading centers and underwater volcanic activity.  The RIDGE and Ridge 2000 programs are summarized in the special issue and features articles from many PMEL scientists including our University of Washington and Oregon State University partners.

For more information on ongoing research in the NOAA Vents Program please visit their website.


PMEL Participates in Collaborative Utah Air Pollution Study
Week of February 7, 2012

PMEL’s Atmospheric Chemistry group is currently taking part study to try and understand why ozone levels occasionally soar above health-based standards in the winter in rural Utah.  PMEL’s role is to measure properties of atmospheric particles and snow, including chemical composition, to assess their role in ozone production.

Other participants include NOAA’s Earth Systems Research Laboratory, the EPA, Utah Department of Environmental Quality, Utah State University and others.


Argo Floats Provide Accurate Ocean Heating Baseline Data
Week of January 23, 2012

Using Argo float data, scientists including PMEL’s Dr. Greg Johnson and JIMAR’s Dr. John Lyman, published a paper in Nature Geoscience that concludes the Earth has been accumulating heat continuously, mostly in the ocean, between 2001 and 2010. The paper describes how the heat balance measured at the top of the atmosphere is consistent with observed ocean warming, implying that there is probably no ‘missing energy’ in the system as had been suspected.

Visit PMEL’s Argo Float program website for more information.

The Discovery of the West Mata Volcano
Week of January 4, 2012

Ever wonder how scientists discover underwater eruptions in some of the deepest depths of our ocean? Watch the latest YouTube video above to learn how PMEL and University of Washington scientists discovered one of the most explosive underwater eruptions caught on camera.

The West Mata volcano is located in the South Pacific and scientists hope to return to the volcano this year to capture more activity on film.  Follow the Vents program online for more information.

2011 Arctic Report Card Released
Week of December 15, 2011

Released in the beginning of December the 2011 Arctic Report Card concludes that there are now a sufficient number of years of observational data to indicate a shift in the Arctic Ocean system since 2006.  Persistent warming and record-setting changes are occurring throughout the Arctic environment with resultant impacts on Arctic ecosystems.

PMEL’s Drs. James Overland and Sue Moore contributed to the report that was prepared by an international team of 121 scientists from 14 different countries.


PMEL Scientists Publish in Nature
Week of December 1, 2011

Published December 1 in Nature, PMEL scientists Drs. Trish Quinn and Tim Bates explain why it’s time to retire a 25-year-old hypothesis that suggested phytoplankton might play a large role in regulating climate change.  They analyzed observations and computer simulations from the past two decades and concluded that the role of phytoplankton emissions is much smaller than originally thought.

You can read more about the Nature paper on the OAR news site. Drs. Quinn and Bates are principal investigators for PMEL's Atmospheric Chemistry program.


PMEL Contributes to Carbon Cycle Science Plan
Week of November 17, 2011

PMEL’s Dr. Chris Sabine is one of four co-leads on a new Carbon Cycle Science Plan just released.  Sabine and other U.S. Scientists have developed a new, integrated, ten-year science plan to better understand the details of the Earth’s carbon cycle and the people’s role in it. The plan extends the focus to new questions including the emphasis that humans are an integral part of the global carbon cycle.

Please visit the PMEL Carbon Program website for more information including a link to the full plan.


NOAA Vents Paper on Cover of Nature Geoscience
Week of November 7, 2011

The November issue of Nature Geoscience features the erupting West Mata volcano on its cover, discovered by NOAA Vents and university partner scientists 2.5 years ago. The paper included is the first published about this recently discovered active underwater eruption and describes the never before seen active boninite lava that contains information about the early stages of subduction in the northeastern Lau Basin.

For more information on the West Mata volcano please visit the NOAA Vents Program website


Dr. Chris Sabine Named New PMEL Director
Week of October 18, 2011

Oceanographer Dr. Chris Sabine has been chosen as the next director of PMEL and will start on November 20. Dr. Sabine has been at PMEL since 1999 concentrating his research on the global carbon cycle and ocean acidification. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas A&M University with a major in marine science and a doctorate in oceanography from the University of Hawaii-Manoa. He will be the lab's 3rd director since PMEL's creation in 1974.

Please join PMEL in congratulating Dr. Sabine and welcome him to his new position. You can read more about Dr. Sabine in the NOAA press release.


PMEL Wave Gliders Measure Carbon off U.S. West Coast
Week of September 14, 2011

Last month PMEL's carbon and engineering groups deployed two autonomous wave powered research vessels to study ocean acidification along the Washington and Oregon coasts. These seven foot long vessels automatically measure surface water and atmospheric carbon dioxide, pH, temperature and salinity along a path determined by PMEL scientists who guide the vessels from the laboratory via satellite. This maiden voyage for these vessels is coordinated with traditional sampling approaches to ensure that these new technologies make the same high-quality measurements that are PMEL’s hallmark.

Learn more about the carbon wave gliders


Scientists Participate in International DYNAMO Project
Week of August 31, 2011

Scientists from PMEL's Atmospheric Chemistry group, led by Drs. Tim Bates and Trish Quinn, will participate in the shipboard portion of the Dynamics of the Madden-Julian Oscillation (DYNAMO) project that will study the Indian Ocean to help understand global climate and weather systems from the end of August through December.

Shipboard observations of aerosol, physical, chemical, optical, and cloud-nucleating properties in the coupled cloud-aerosol-precipitation system will be made to improve the understanding of the effects of aerosol particles on clouds and radiation transfer over the equatorial Indian Ocean.


Scientists Find Eruption at Undersea Volcano
Week of August 17, 2011

NOAA Vents Program with PMEL, Oregon State University, and University of Washington helped discover a new lava flow at Axial Seamount, supporting a forecast made by the scientists that an eruption would occur before 2014. Measurements show that the eruption occurred on April 6, 2011. 

This is the first successful eruption forecast for a submarine volcano, and confirms that Axial Seamount is an excellent location for state-of-the-art studies of active submarine volcanic processes and how they impact ocean physical, chemical, and biological environments.  For more information on this event please read the OSU press release.


Carbon Group Embarks on Ocean Acidification Study
Week of August 2, 2011

In support of NOAA’s new Ocean Acidification Program, scientists from PMEL's carbon group will begin a 22-day cruise on August 11 along the Pacific west coast to survey ocean acidification (OA) conditions and study the relationship between OA and the seasonal development of hypoxic conditions on the continental shelf. Funded by the NOAA Ocean Acidification and Global Carbon Cycle Programs, the cruise will sample at approximately 96 stations offshore from Washington to California. In conjunction with the cruise, repeat glider transects will be conducted and testing of new wave gliders will also occur to provide a large-scale picture of OA along the U.S. west coast.


NOAA Science Camp in its 9th Year
Week of July 18, 2011

PMEL and University of Washington scientists will help campers turn into oceanographers at the 9th annual NOAA Science Camp in Seattle, Washington the weeks of July 18th and 25th.  Middle school campers will get to experience what it is like to be an oceanographer by using instruments to measure physical properties of the water and atmosphere as well as getting the chance to see a working buoy in the water and learn how PMEL uses buoys to gather data around the world.

NOAA Science Camp is sponsored by Washington Sea Grant.  Check out their web page for a video and more information.

Remotely Operated Aircraft Measure Arctic Soot
Week of June 21, 2011

Scientists and engineers at PMEL recently returned from an expedition in the Arctic where they launched two small, new, remotely-operated, unmanned aircraft to measure black soot. The soot is produced by burning diesel fuel, agricultural fires, forest fires, and wood-burning stoves, and is transported by winds to the Arctic, where it darkens the surface of snow and ice, enhancing melting and solar warming.

Visit the Atmospheric Chemistry page for more information and watch the YouTube video above.


New RAMA Site Marks 65% Completion of Array
Week of June 8, 2011

PMEL staff are aboard two international vessels to recover and deploy moorings in the Indian Ocean as part of the Research Moored Array for African-Asian-Australian Monsoon Analysis and Prediction (RAMA) project.  RAMA was initiated in 2004 to collect key oceanographic and meteorological data from the poorly observed Indian Ocean. 

The establishment of one new site this month will mark the occupation of 30 sites, with a total of 46 sites planned for the entire array.  For more information, please visit the RAMA web site.


NOAA Updates Arctic Future Website
Week of May 24, 2011

NOAA has updated the Arctic Future website to reflect recent observations and add results in the Arctic Council 2011 Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic assessment.  Other topics include: satellites show the Arctic losing summer sea ice for the past 30 years, an increased linkage between the Arctic and mid-latitudes, and glacier melt contributing to sea level rise.

Read more at NOAA’s Arctic Future website.


PMEL Scientists Set Sail to Gulf of Alaska
Week of May 9, 2011

Scientists from PMEL’s Ecosystems & Fisheries-Oceanography Coordinated Investigations (EcoFOCI) group set sail on April 30 for the first major cruise of Gulf of Alaska Integrated Ecosystem Research Program (GOA-IERP).  Led by PMEL's Dr. Nancy Kachel, EcoFOCI and GOA-IERP will look at oceanographic and climate influences, and relationships between trophic levels in a changing ecosystem and will include zooplankton sampling, hydrographic measurements, water and iron sampling.

For more information on this expedition please visit the EcoFOCI cruise website.


PMEL Scientists Fly Over Arctic to Help Understand Black Carbon
Week of April 12, 2011

PMEL scientists, Dr. Tim Bates and Dr. Patricia Quinn, will lead the US component of the Coordinated Investigation of Climate-Cryosphere Interactions (CICCI) project based out of Svalbard, Norway during the month of April.  PMEL will fly two Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) equipped with sensors to measure aerosol properties to help understand the processes controlling the distribution of black carbon in the Arctic atmosphere.

Stay up to date with the mission by following the blog and visit PMEL’s Atmospheric Chemistry page and the CICCI project page for more information


PMEL Scientists Hear Japan Earthquake
Week of April 4, 2011

Using data from two hydrophones, Dr. Bob Dziak and his acoustics team at PMEL and Oregon State University captured the sounds of the March 11 Mw 9.0 earthquake that shook Japan and sent a tsunami wave across the Pacific Ocean.  The hydrophones recorded the seismic and acoustic arrivals of the earthquake, known as P- and T-waves respectively.

To listen and learn more about P- and T-waves, please visit the Vents Acoustic Program web page.


PMEL Scientists Model Japan Tsunami
Week of March 16, 2011

Research models developed at PMEL’s NOAA Center for Tsunami Research and installed at NOAA Tsunami Warning Centers accurately predicted the wave arrival time within 15 minutes for Hawaii, Alaska, and the U.S. West Coast during the Honshu tsunami event on March 11.  The 9.0 magnitude earthquake was detected by a Deep-Ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunamis (DART®) 3 minutes after the earthquake and the tsunami was measured 25 minutes later.

For more information on this tsunami event, including colorful maps, wave height information for U.S. beaches, and a YouTube animation please visit the Honshu Event Page.

PMEL Launches YouTube Channel
Week of February 28, 2011

PMEL recently launched its own YouTube channel where you will find our stories and research come to life with videos, photos, and animations often narrated by the scientists that do the research. On the PMEL YouTube channel you can learn how a tsunami forecast is generated, listen to the sounds of the Arctic, watch an animation on the latest buoy technology, plus much more.

Check out and watch NOAA stories come to life.


Carbon Group Launches New Website
Week of February 14, 2011

PMEL’s carbon group has launched a completely revised and enhanced website.  The new site describes the wealth of activities the carbon group performs from ocean acidification research to using wave gliders to conduct important field work. You can also access the Carbon Groups extensive data set using a Google Earth interactive tool.

Take a minute and explore the new website at


Recent Press Highlights Changes in Arctic Atmosphere Circulation
Week of January 27, 2011

In recent press, notably the New York Times, Arctic atmosphere circulation has been a hot topic.  PMEL's Dr. Jim Overland explains that the Polar Vortex, a ring of winds circling the North Pole and providing a fence keeping cold air north, has broken down for the second year in a row. This breakdown allows cold air to spill south, affecting the U.S. East Coast and other regions.

For more information on the Arctic atmosphere please visit the 2010 Arctic Report Card page and for the latest research on the Arctic visit the Arctic Future web site.


PMEL Director Retires after 40 Years of Service to NOAA
Week of December 30, 2010

After 40 years of service to NOAA, Dr. Eddie Bernard will retire at the end of 2010.  His career began in 1970 in the NOAA Corps and in 1982, he became the director of PMEL.  A noted expert on tsunamis, Dr. Bernard received his PhD in Oceanography from Texas A&M University.  During his time as director of PMEL, Dr. Bernard has received numerous honors and awards including two Department of Commerce Gold Medals, three Presidential Meritorious Awards, and a Service to America Medal.

PMEL wishes Dr. Bernard well in his retirement and thanks him for his exceptional leadership. You can visit the About the Director page for more information on Dr. Bernard’s NOAA career.


New Ocean Climate Station Deployed Near South Africa
Week of December 14, 2010

To better understand the effects of the ocean on global climate and weather, scientists from PMEL deployed an Ocean Climate Station mooring on the edge of the warm Agulhas Return Current (ARC) southeast of South Africa.  This mooring will provide critical data on how this powerful current warms the atmosphere and how it affects the local metrology and climate.

The ARC mooring is part the PMEL Ocean Climate Station program, a contribution to the global network of time series reference sites.


Dr. Feely Receives Heinz Environmental Award
Week of November 8, 2010

Dr. Richard Feely, a senior scientist at PMEL, will be honored with the Heinz Environmental Award at a ceremony in Washington D.C. on November 15.  The 16th Heinz awards focused on Global Change, and Dr. Feely is credited with playing a leading role in examining the acidification of oceans and shifting public policy to address this growing issue.

Please join PMEL is congratulating Dr. Feely on this well deserved honor.  You can find out more about the important work Dr. Feely and the carbon group are doing on the Ocean Acidification web site.

Return to Previous Arctic Conditions Unlikely
Week of October 21, 2010

Released October 21: The 2010 Arctic Report Card highlights record temperatures across Canadian Arctic and Greenland, a reduced summer sea ice cover; record snow cover decreases and links to some Northern Hemisphere weather to support the conclusion that a return to previous Arctic conditions is unlikely. 

PMEL scientist Dr. James Overland, co-editor of the Arctic Report Card, describes how the Arctic climate is impacting mid-latitude weather, as seen in Winter 2009-2010, in the Atmosphere section of the report.

Please visit the 2010 Arctic Report Card web site for the full report.


PMEL Scientists Help Celebrate 50 Years of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission
Week of October 14, 2010

In a special issue of Oceanography out now, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) celebrates 50 years of outstanding service to the community through international cooperation and coordination of ocean research.  PMEL’s Dr. Michael McPhaden discusses the success of the Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere (TOGA) program and Dr. Chris Sabine discusses International Carbon Coordination and Roger Revelle’s legacy in the IOC.

To read these articles and more, see the Oceanography web site.

Map of local rates of sea level rise due to ocean heating below 4000m (colors and black numbers) for deep ocean basins. Also included is the rate from 1000-4000m warming (magenta) for the Southern Ocean (south of magenta line).

Scientists Find 20 Years of Deep Water Warming Leading to Sea Level Rise
Week of September 20, 2010

Released September 20:  Scientists at the University of Washington and PMEL analyzing measurements taken in the deep ocean around the globe published their results in the Journal of Climate.  They find a warming trend that contributes to sea level rise, especially around Antarctica.  Previous studies have shown that the upper ocean is warming, but this study determines how much additional heat the deep ocean is storing from warming observed all the way to the ocean floor.

The high-quality data used in this study were taken during PMEL Repeat Hydrography and other cruises occupied from 1980 through 2010.

Ice Profiler (front) and Zooplankton Profiler (back) mounted with floats prior to deployment in the Chukchi Sea. Credit: NOAA

PMEL Scientists to Monitor Ecosystem Changes in Chukchi Sea
Week of September 1, 2010

EcoFOCI is heading far north to the Chukchi Sea (August 16-September 20) to deploy moorings that will over-winter under the ice to monitor ecosystem changes for the first time in the region.  At three different sites in the Chukchi Sea, EcoFOCI will deploy subsurface moorings that will measure ice thickness, currents, zooplankton, light, nitrate and other important indicators of ecosystem health.

EcoFOCI has an interest in obtaining ice-thickness measurements that will improve the understanding of ice cover, including its thickness, persistence and transport.

Sea surface temperature anomaly during the peak of the 2009-10 El Niño, the strongest Central Pacific El Niño observed to date. Image produced by Physical Oceanography Distributed Active Archive Centre (PO.DAAC) of NASA JPL.

El Niño Intensity Increasing in the Central Equatorial Pacific
Week of August 25, 2010

In an article recently published in Geophysical Research Letters, Tong Lee of the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasedena and Mike McPhaden of PMEL analyzed 30 years of NOAA satellite sea surface temperature data and found that the intensity of El Niño events in the central equatorial Pacific has almost doubled in the past three decades, with the strongest warming in 2009-10. 

These “central Pacific” (CP) El Niño’s exhibit maximum warming in the central equatorial Pacific in contrast to the classical El Niños, which have maximum warming in the eastern equatorial Pacific.

AGU President Dr. Mike McPhaden (left) with an attendee given a travel grant by AGU to attend the meeting.

PMEL Scientist Presides Over First Meeting as AGU President
Week of August 9, 2010

PMEL senior scientist, Dr. Mike McPhaden is presiding over his first American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting as AGU President. 2010 The Meeting of the Americas is being held in Iguassu Falls, Brazil during the week of August 9. Dr. McPhaden will lead a Town Hall meeting on "Communicating the Science of Climate Change".

Dr. McPhaden was elected President-elect of the AGU in 2008 and took over as President for a 2-year term beginning in 2010. He is the director of the Tropical Atmosphere Ocean project at PMEL.

Stacy Maenner from PMEL's Carbon Group helps install a CO2 sensor on top of the Seattle Space Needle.

Carbon Dioxide Sensor Measures Emissions from the Seattle Space Needle
Week of July 13, 2010

In an effort to promote the public’s understanding of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) in an urban setting, scientists from PMEL's Carbon Group partnered with the Pacific Science Center (PSC) and Seattle’s Space Needle to install an atmospheric CO2 sensor on top of the Space Needle. Measurements are made every 5 minutes and streams the information to PMEL where the data are processed in real time, posted to the web and sent to a monitoring station at the PSC.

The web site and PSC display allow the public to examine the latest data showing the patterns of CO2 variations in Seattle on time scales ranging from minutes to months.

Scientists view a live feed from the Okeanos Explorer and the seafloor in the Exploration Command Center in Seattle, WA

Scientists Explore the Deep Sea in Real-Time from Seattle
Week of June 29, 2010

Scientists from PMEL and NOAA’s Office of Exploration and Research are exploring the deep sea around Indonesia from an Exploration Command Center in Seattle, Washington.  The NOAA ship Okeanos Explorer has satellite-enabled telepresence that allow scientists to stay on shore and be an integral part of the research as it happens across the Pacific Ocean in Indonesian waters. 

You can follow the Okeanos Explorer on its first international operational mission and stay up to date with daily mission logs at the Ocean Explorer web site.


Ocean Station Papa Being Deployed in Gulf of Alaska
Week of June 8, 2010

Two scientists from PMEL's Ocean Climate Station program are aboard the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Tully to recover and redeploy a fresh mooring at Station Papa. The mooring's measurements of surface water pH; air-sea exchanges of CO2, heat, and moisture; wind stress; and the water's physical conditions provide in-situ reference data for evaluating model and remotely-sensed products. The mooring is anchored in 13,845 feet of water in the Gulf of Alaska.

To learn more about Ocean Station Papa and download its data visit the website.

Credit: University of Washington

PMEL Scientists Investigate the Icy Bering Sea
Week of May 26, 2010

Five scientists from PMEL's Fisheries Oceanography program are on board the University of Washington R/V Thompson from May 9 to June 14 as part of the fourth in a series of annual spring cruises through the NSF-BEST and NPRB-BSIERP programs. PMEL is handling hydrography, water sampling, nutrient and O2 analysis, and ice sampling.

To follow this expedition as it travels the Bering Sea please visit the EcoFOCI web site.

Credit: NOAA

PMEL Scientists Describe Warming in the Ocean
Week of May 19, 2010

In a study published May 19 in Nature, PMEL and University of Hawaii scientist Dr. John Lyman (pictured left above) describes how the upper layer of the world's ocean has warmed steadily since 1993. Data from Argo floats, deployed by PMEL's Dr. Greg Johnson (pictured right above) and others help greatly reduce the uncertainties in estimates of ocean heat content over the past several years.

For more information read the NOAA press release and visit PMEL's Argo program site.

Credit: Ben Allsup - Teledyne Webb Research

Scientists "Glide" Over Underwater Volcano
Week of May 12, 2010

Scientists and engineers from PMEL's Vents Program successfully flew an ocean glider for exploring for underwater volcanic plumes and eruptions in the South Pacific on May 8. Over the two day mission, the glider travelled about 50km and was "flown" by engineers located 5000 miles away in Washington and Oregon.

You can read more about this glider mission, including an update on the active underwater volcano, West Mata, on the Lau Eruptions blog.


Oceanography Special Issue on Mountains in the Sea
Week of May 4, 2010

The March 2010 (Vol. 23, No. 1) special issue of Oceanography focuses on seamounts, submerged isolated mountains in the sea. Seamounts are of volcanic origin, with some presently forming. PMEL scientist Bill Lavelle is guest editor and the issue also features the Axial Seamount and Northwest Rota-1 Seamount, discovered by the PMEL Vents Program.

You can read the current issue featuring many PMEL authors along with our partners at Oregon State University and University of Washington on the Oceanography web site.


Spring Mooring Cruise Underway in the Bering Sea
Week of April 27, 2010

Scientists from PMEL's Fisheries Oceanography program are cruising the Bering Sea from April 23-May 3 for the first mooring cruise of the spring season. Aboard the NOAA research ship Oscar Dyson, they are in Alaskan waters to retrieve and redeploy moorings, collect CTD (conductivity-temperature-depth) and other data.

You can follow the cruise and see pictures from the Bering Sea on the Research Mooring Cruise to the Bering Sea web page.


Michael McPhaden Awarded 2010 Fridtjof Nansen Medal
Week of April 12, 2010

PMEL would like to congratulate Dr. Michael McPhaden for being awarded the European Geosciences Union 2010 Fridtjof Nansen Medal. This prestigious award in ocean sciences was given to Dr. McPhaden for his leadership in developing ocean observing systems for climate research and forecasting and for fundamental contributions to our understanding of the ocean’s role in climate.

Please visit the Global Tropical Moored Buoy Array web page for more information on Dr. McPhaden’s research for which he received this medal.


Underwater Volcano Still Active After 7 Years
Week of March 22, 2010

NOAA Vents scientists led by Dr. Bill Chadwick have confirmed that NW Rota in the Mariana Arc is still erupting and has been active on each visit since 2003. The team has documented major changes in the landscape of the volcano including a large landslide that occurred during the past year. During the expedition, scientists will be filming high definition footage of the eruption, collecting samples, and deploying and recovering instruments.

You can follow Dr. Chadwick and his team on this exciting cruise, which runs from March 16-30, on the NW Rota 2010 blog.


NOAA Launches Arctic Future Website
Week of March 16, 2010

On March 16, 2010 PMEL launched a new web site to help those interested in the Arctic learn more about the longer-reaching impacts of the loss of Arctic summer sea ice with a new website, Changes in the Arctic are not only affecting sea ice but models show that they can impact weather in the mid-latitudes as well, where a large part of the population lives.

For more information on the Arctic please visit NOAA's Arctic theme page.


Magnitude 8.8 earthquake sends tsunami waves across the Pacific Ocean
Week of March 1, 2010

On February 27, 2010 a magnitude 8.8 earthquake off the coast of Chile sent tsunami waves across the Pacific Ocean. Tsunami scientists at NOAA's Center for Tsunami Research (NCTR) modeled this event in real-time to help determine when the waves would arrive and the impact they may have on various coastal communities including Hawaii and the U.S. West Coast.

Please visit NCTR's Chile tsunami page for a tsunami animation and more information on this event.


Study Reveals a Decadal Decline in Oceanic Dissolved Oxygen
Week of February 16, 2010

In an article to be published in the scientific journal Deep-Sea Research I, PMEL scientists Sunke Schmidtko and Gregory Johnson, together with international co-authors, describe ocean oxygen minima expansions and their biological impacts.  Through their global analysis of recent and historical oceanographic data, the authors find that tropical oxygen-poor zones expanded significantly in area around the globe in the 1990s-2000s compared with the 1960s-1970s.

For more information on recent sustained oceanographic measurements visit PMEL's Repeat Hydrography web site.


PMEL Researches "Wind to Whales" in the Bering Sea
Week of February 1, 2010

In a study published January 30 in Geophysical Research Letters, a multi-disciplinary team of researchers that included PMEL’s Phyllis Stabeno and Dave Mellinger described integrated biophysical data “from wind to whales” in the Southeast Bering Sea.  Distinct patterns in production, zooplankton biovolume and the occurrence of zooplankton predators such as fin and right whales were related to discrete features in the annual physical cycle.

For more information on the EcoFOCI Program, please visit their website.


Oceanography Magazine Focuses on Ocean Acidification
Week of January 14, 2010

A special issue of Oceanography, in print now, focuses on ocean acidification and the future of ocean biogeochemistry in a high carbon dioxide world.  The issue combines the work from many experts in the field including PMEL scientists Drs. Richard Feely and Simone Alin.

For more information on PMEL’s ocean acidification program please see their web site.


5th Anniversary of Indian Ocean Tsunami Marks Significant Progress
Week of December 23, 2009

December 26th, 2009 marks five years since the worst tsunami in history killed over 230,000 people. PMEL and the NOAA Center for Tsunami Research's (NCTR) decades of tsunami research helped the United States accelerate the completion of the tsunami warning system which now includes a network of tsunami detection buoys and improved forecasting abilities.

Visit the NCTR web page for more information on the progress made since 2004.


Deep Sea Volcanic Eruption Caught on Video
Week of December 17, 2009

Discovered by PMEL and University of Washington scientists in May 2009, West Mata volcano is the deepest erupting submarine volcano ever witnessed at 4000 feet below sea level.  High definition footage of the volcano was released on December 17 that includes violent eruptions spewing lava and rocks into the sea.  This volcano also marks the first time scientists have witnessed pillow lava forming new Earth right before their eyes.

To see video and images of this volcano please visit the PMEL Vents program page


PMEL Scientists to Speak at International Climate Change Conference
Week of December 1, 2009

Drs. James Overland and Richard Feely will help represent the United States and NOAA at the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15) in Copenhagen, Denmark that begins on December 7.  Dr. Overland will discuss global warming in the Arctic and Dr. Feely will talk about ocean acidification and its impacts on the marine ecosystem. 

Please visit PMEL’s Arctic and ocean acidification web pages for more information on these topics and follow the COP15 online


New Global Carbon Budget Published
Week of November 17, 2009

In a study published today in Nature Geoscience, PMEL scientist Dr. Richard Feely and a team of international scientists determined that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are outpacing the ability of the sinks to soak up the excess CO2. The team created a global CO2 budget from 1959 to 2008 and during that time, an average of 43% of each year's CO2 emissions remained in the atmosphere.

For more information on PMEL's carbon program please visit their web site.


El Niño to Influence Winter Weather
Week of November 3, 2009

An El Niño in the equatorial Pacific is expected to play a dominant role in the winter weather for the U.S. Temperatures are expected to be warmer than average across most of the western and central U.S. with cooler than average temperatures in the Southeast and mid-Atlantic states.

For more information on how PMEL helps detect El Niños please visit the NOAA El Niño web site.


2009 Arctic Report Card Released
Week of October 22, 2009

The NOAA supported Arctic Report Card for 2009 was released on October 22nd. PMEL scientist Dr. James Overland and University of Washington scientist Dr. Muyin Wang contributed to the report that states that warming of the Arctic continues to be widespread, and in some cases, dramatic.

To read more about the atmosphere, sea ice, biology and other topics in the Arctic please visit the 2009 Arctic Report Card web site.


Scientists Win Outstanding Paper Award
Week of October 14, 2009

PMEL scientists Drs. Richard Feely and Chris Sabine received a 2009 Outstanding Paper Award from NOAA Research. Published in the journal, Science, Feely and Sabine's study shows that the combined effect of ocean acidification with other natural processes can accelerate the impacts of reduced pH on marine resources in our coastal regions.

For more information on PMEL's ocean acidification program please visit their web site.


Tsunami Scientists Forecast Samoa Tsunami
Week of October 6, 2009

Scientists from the NOAA Center for Tsunami Research at PMEL saw their forecasting system work first hand while visiting the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Honolulu, Hawaii last week during the deadly tsunami that hit Samoa on September 29.

For more information on this event including links to media coverage please visit the 2009 Samoa Tsunami Event page.


NOAA Vents Program Celebrates 25 Years
Week of September 29, 2009

The NOAA Vents program at PMEL celebrates its 25th anniversary this month, marking a quarter century of research, discoveries, and technological innovations in some of the oceans most interesting depths.

To learn more about these discoveries and current research, please visit the Vents Program web site.


The People of Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory
Week of September 21, 2009

For the first time in PMEL's over 40 year history, a group wide photo was taken with employees from Seattle, Washington and Newport, Oregon. With over 200 scientists, engineers, and computer and administrative support personnel, PMEL conducts preeminent research and invents cutting edge technologies.

For more information about PMEL please see the About Us tab at the top of this page and discover our research programs on the Research tab.


PMEL Participates in Pacific Arctic Cruise
Week of September 7, 2009

PMEL is coordinating the NOAA effort on the Russian-American Long-Term Census of the Arctic (RUSALCA) cruise. The 40 day cruise left on September 1 and is being conducted to observe physical and biological environmental changes in the Northern Bering and Chukchi Seas.

For more information please visit the RUSALCA web site on the Arctic theme page.



Scientists Forecast Indian Ocean Tsunami
Week of August 31, 2009

On August 10, 2009, PMEL tsunami scientists used a new forecast system and DART buoy data to determine that the tsunami from a 7.7 magnitude Indian Ocean earthquake tsunami would be non-destructive when it reached coastlines.

The new forecast system and DART buoy, both designed and invented at PMEL, were unavailable during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. These developments along with a tsunami warning system for Indian Ocean nations prevented unnecessary evacuations and panic. For more information on this tsunami please visit the NOAA Center for Tsunami Research Event Page.


About Us | Research | Publications | Data | Infrastructure | Theme Pages | Education
US Department of Commerce | NOAA | OAR | PMEL
Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory
7600 Sand Point Way NE
Seattle, WA 98115
  Phone: (206) 526-6239
Fax: (206) 526-6815
Privacy Policy | Disclaimer | Accessibility Statement
Watch PMEL's YouTube Channel