What's New Archive
Glacial silt photographed from R/V Rachel Carson in Glacier Bay National Park, 2022. The natural addition of glacial silt colors coastal waters and is a potential analog for ocean alkalinity enhancement, a CDR technique, as it increases the alkalinity in the marine environment. Increasing ocean alkalinity shifts natural air-sea CO2 exchanges in favor of enhanced ocean storage. Photo Credit: Marina May (University of Washington / NOAA).
Climate change already affects every part of the globe, with potentially dire consequences for many ecosystems and human communities. Reducing human-caused emissions of greenhouse gasses, including carbon dioxide, is the most important strategy for addressing the impacts of climate change, and the most feasible given current technology. Alongside emissions reductions, the IPCC recommends that climate interventions like carbon dioxide removal (CDR) will be needed to meet climate targets and begin to stabilize Earth’s climate system.
CDR refers to a portfolio of techniques that are used to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and lock them away permanently in secure reservoirs, such as the ocean, forests, soils and geologic formations. While negative emissions technologies such as carbon removal techniques are still in the early stages of development in most cases, the body of research and interest around these techniques is growing fast.
Today, NOAA released a report outlining its Carbon Dioxide Removal Strategy which identified and explored 11 removal techniques. The report does not endorse any one technique but rather outlines the relative strengths and weaknesses of each technique and describes NOAA’s potential research contributions. The effort was led by NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory and involved contributions from across the agency, including more than 60 technical experts, 33 primary authors, and a 10-member executive advisory board.
“After two years of working with our partners in other agencies, private industry, NGOs, and the public, it’s exciting to showcase new ways NOAA’s mission can support the new blue economy.” says Jessica Cross, Carbon Dioxide Removal Co-Lead at NOAA’s Ocean Acidification Program and lead author of the strategy.
NOAA is well-positioned to lead in the analysis of impact, effectiveness, feasibility, and risk of many CDR techniques to understand the climate benefits and economic potential of carbon management. NOAA’s existing and innovative assets, such as long-term observations, models, ecosystem assessments, and spatial planning tools can inform evidence-based decisions. Those decisions, in turn, could be used by many in the carbon removal sector, including state and local governments, private sector entities and non-profit organizations, as well as other federal agencies.
To support these efforts, the NOAA Ocean Acidification Program, on behalf of that National Oceanographic and Partnership Program, announced a $24 million funding opportunity for proposals focused on Marine Carbon Dioxide Removal (mCDR) to support informed decisions regarding a potential scaled negative carbon ocean industry. Announcement of the awards will be in late summer 2023.
NOAA PMEL, in partnership with academic institutions, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and startup companies are modeling and measuring the effectiveness of electrodialysis-based ocean alkalinity enhancement for ocean acidification mitigation and atmospheric carbon dioxide removal. This work is supported by NOAA’s Ocean Acidification Program, ClimateWorks Foundation and Department of Energy’s Water Power and Technology Office.
Join NOAA, this Wednesday, June 7 from 4:45-5:30 pm ET for a free, virtual panel at Capitol Hill Ocean Week to hear about the finalized strategy, NOAA’s Climate Ready Nation targets, climate intervention programs and from NOAA’s partners in CDR research.
April 21 - May 8 - NOAA PMEL oceanographers and colleagues continue leading an annual effort to collect key data in understanding the Bering Sea. This important research cruise provides key insights to monitor events such as sea-ice loss and the cold pool in the region and how these are impacting the Arctic ecosystem. This year’s cruise started out a bit different!
For the first time since 2012, the ice extent in the Bering Sea is impacting the survey and researchers had to alter their cruise plan as the ice is at and around several of the mooring and sampling sites. While not thick ice, lead scientist and NOAA oceanographer Phyllis Stabeno was surprised. “I did not expect to see ice this late on the shelf,” she said. In this region, ice arrives in the Bering Sea in the fall and typically melts and recedes in spring, - limiting when research vessels can be in the area.
2012 was a record breaking year. The melt season of 2012 started out at a sluggish pace. Around mid-April, sea ice extent was close to the 1979–2000 average for that time of year (the maximum ice extent typically occurring in March). However, soon after that the decline began to accelerate rapidly.
Stabeno took this as a unique and unexpected opportunity to safely sample around the ice edge. Most vessels are not made to break ice - but they can go near this melting ice region. As the ice continues to melt, the science team will resume their planned research.
This spring mooring cruise brings together scientists from NOAA’s PMEL and Alaska Fisheries Science Center, the University of Washington, US Fish and Wildlife, and the University of Alaska. While aboard the NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson, the scientists will service a biophysical mooring array. They will also collect water samples of conductivity (salinity), temperature, depth (CTD) profiles, zooplankton, ichthyoplankton, nutrients and chlorophyll samples. As well as conduct collaborative research including on harmful algal blooms, omics, and zooplankton machine learning. Results from these observations and experiments will help describe important ecosystem linkages among climate, plankton, fishes, birds and mammals.
EcoFOCI will be field testing and using several innovations this spring. Innovations and technologies such as these aim to enhance shipboard and mooring research with advanced and increased data collection. These include the deployment of a modified ‘high-latitude’, more robust surface mooring at M2 and a shallow-water glider. This is the 29th consecutive year the M2 mooring will be deployed. In 2022 a combination of the pandemic, sea ice, and a storm provided researchers a new perspective from NOAA’s longest operating biophysical mooring site in the US Arctic. Learn more about that in a NOAA Story Map (https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/1b413464b13c4aa381b48ecd5c89ed50).
This is the first of five NOAA EcoFOCI program research cruises planned between April and October in the Alaska region.
Learn more about mooring arrays and the EcoFOCI spring cruise on NOAA Fisheries 2022 blog.
PMEL has released “The Ocean: Earth’s CO2 Sponge,” the latest video in the PMEL at Work short video series. The PMEL at Work series highlights ongoing research activities and projects supporting NOAA’s mission to understand changes in the global ocean and its impact on climate, weather and ecosystems.
In this video, Adrienne Sutton of PMEL’s Ocean Carbon Program, and Sophie Chu, formerly of the NOAA Cooperative Institute for Climate, Ocean, and Ecosystem Studies (CICOES) at the University of Washington, highlight the exchange of carbon between the ocean and atmosphere and the ocean’s role in absorbing human carbon emissions, as well as how the ocean is impacted, and effects on marine ecosystems, climate and weather. They give a brief overview of the evolution of data collection practices—from the placement of CO2 instruments on cargo ships and research vessels starting in the 1960s, to sensors being deployed on buoys in the 1990s, to today’s innovative use of uncrewed surface vehicles (USVs). USVs have proved to be particularly effective at filling observational gaps in rough conditions, such as those of the Southern Ocean , and providing new insights into the role storms play in air-sea carbon exchange.
The Ocean Carbon Group at PMEL works to advance our scientific understanding of the ocean carbon cycle and how it is changing over time. They do so by observing the evolving state of the ocean carbon chemistry with high-quality measurements on ships and autonomous platforms, studying the processes controlling the role of the ocean in the global carbon cycle, and investigating how rising atmospheric carbon dioxide and climate change affect the chemistry of the oceans and its marine ecosystems.
Check out this new video on NOAA PMEL’s YouTube Channel and more work by PMEL scientists and engineers on the PMEL at Work playlist.
Ocean Station Papa is a long term surface mooring that monitors ocean-atmosphere interactions, carbon uptake, and ocean acidification in the Gulf of Alaska. As part of the global network of OceanSITES reference stations, measurements from the mooring are used to improve satellite products and forecast models as well our understanding of air-sea interactions, and their role within the climate system.
NOAA PMEL oceanographers and colleagues lead an effort to establish first-of-its-kind standards for calculating and reporting trends in ocean acidification observations
For the first time, an international research team compiled a set of best practices to assess and report ocean acidification trends. Standardized procedures for measuring ocean carbon chemistry are already largely established, but a common set of best practices for trend analysis are missing. These best practices will facilitate ocean acidification comparison of trends across different regions. They also allow the research community to establish enduring accurate records of change that communicate the current status of ocean acidification to the public.
Ocean acidification occurs when the ocean absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, causing a fundamental chemical change. The global rise in ocean acidity is fueled by human-emitted greenhouse gases. The global ocean has absorbed approximately 620 billion tons of carbon dioxide (~25%) from emissions released into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels. Impacts from ocean acidification will vary by region. In order to implement adaptation and mitigation strategies, managers need an accurate and comparable understanding of how ocean acidification progresses globally, regionally and locally. This requires standardized procedures at all levels of data collection, dissemination, and analysis.
Newly published work in Frontiers in Marine Science describes these best practices developed from input from the ocean carbon science community and established best practices already adopted for atmospheric greenhouse gases. Just as NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratories’ (ESRL) researchers played an active role in establishing standards for assessing trends in atmospheric CO2, PMEL researchers are now doing the same for ocean carbonate records.
These best practices offer a consistent analysis method people can implement on surface ocean carbon datasets to better understand ocean acidification trends and compare across regions. It will be essential to revisit, share and update these best practices as more ocean carbon measurements are available, particularly from new autonomous observing technologies.
Accompanying these best practices is free, publicly-available software for calculating trends on PMEL’s GitHub.
Dr. Meghan Cronin of NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory has been named a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society. Fellows make outstanding contributions to the atmospheric or related oceanic or hydrologic sciences or their applications during a substantial period of years. New fellows account for no more than two-tenths of 1 percent of all AMS Members each year.
Dr. Cronin leads the Ocean Climate Stations (OCS) Project using autonomous platforms, including moored buoys and uncrewed surface vehicles (USV), to make meteorological and oceanic measurements to help validate numerical model and satellite products and improve our understanding of air-sea interactions and their role within the climate system. OCS has led multiple saildrone USV missions to the tropical Pacific and maintains longterm surface moorings at Station Papa in the NE Pacific and at the Kuroshio Extension Observatory (KEO) in the NW Pacific, both of which are part of the global network of OceanSITES reference stations.
With over 90 peer-reviewed publications and an h-index of 34, Dr. Cronin currently serves on several international panels and committees including the Global Climate Observing System/Global Ocean Observing System’s Ocean Observations Panel for Climate (OOPC), the second Cooperative Study of Kuroshio and its Adjacent Regions (CSK-2) steering group and OceanSITES Executive Committee and Steering Team. An affiliate professor at the University of Washington’s School of Oceanography, she particularly enjoys mentoring undergraduate summer interns, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and Early Career Ocean Professionals around the world.
Dr. Cronin co-chairs the Observing Air-Sea Interactions Strategy (OASIS), a UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development programme that is developing a practical, integrated approach to observing air-sea interactions through capacity development, leveraged multi-disciplinary and international activities, and advancement of understanding. For those at AMS Annual Meeting, join Meghan at the NOAA Booth (#201) on Tuesday, January 10 at 2:45 pm Mountain Time to hear more.
Learn more about Meghan on NOAA Research’s Scientist Profiles and her research.
A typhoon, smoke from wildfires and increasing rain are not what most imagine when thinking of the Arctic. Yet these are some of the climate-driven events included in NOAA’s 2022 Arctic Report Card, which provides a detailed picture of how warming is reshaping the once reliably frozen, snow-covered region which is heating up faster than any other part of the world.
This year’s Arctic Report Card also features the most comprehensive chapter in the annual report’s 17-year history about how these dramatic environmental changes are felt by Arctic Indigenous people, and how their communities are addressing the changes. Additionally, a chapter on precipitation has been added reflecting an improvement in available data and showing the dramatic increase in precipitation across the Arctic in recent decades.
Surface Air Temperature
PMEL Arctic researcher's Dr. James Overland and Dr. Muyin Wang contributed to sections on surface air temperature. Arctic annual air temperatures from October 2021 to September 2022 were the sixth warmest dating back to 1900, continuing a decades-long trend in which Arctic air temperatures have warmed faster than the global average. The Arctic's seven warmest years since 1900 have been the last seven years.
Winter temperatures in the Eurasian Arctic and Arctic Ocean were above normal, while winter temperatures over most of North America were below-normal.
An extensive region of low pressure in the eastern Arctic supported warm Eurasian and Arctic Ocean winter temperatures, while low pressure across the Alaska Arctic and northern Canada sustained warm summer temperatures over the Beaufort Sea and Canadian Archipelago.
About the Report Card
The report card is compiled by 147 experts from 11 nations and includes three sections: Vital Signs, Indicators and Frostbites. Vital Signs provide annual updates on key topics. Indicators explore topics that are periodically updated, and Frostbites report on new and emerging issues.
View the visual highlights or recorded AGU Press Conference.
Modified from the original NOAA Press Release.
The Pivotal Recovery Story Map (ESRI) recounts the events in 2021 of how NOAA scientists raced against nature to save their most valuable scientific instruments in the Bering Sea. This interactive online map highlights the recovery efforts, the unique data collected and the implications it has for management.
In the fall of 2021, a combination of sea ice, hurricane-force winds, and a pandemic set the stage for what would become a momentous recovery effort for scientific moorings in the southeastern Bering Sea. These scientific moorings provide an overview of changing ocean conditions as part of a 30 year time series. Scientists deploy these moorings on an annual basis to ensure continuous measurements during ice and ice-free seasons.
NOAA scientists are at the forefront of detecting regional and global climate change and its impacts on Alaska’s marine ecosystems. With a generation of ocean observing, NOAA EcoFOCI, or the Ecosystems and Fisheries Oceanography Coordinated Investigations Program, continues to study and share how oceanographic and biological changes affect marine ecosystems such as the Cold Pool and impact of sea ice loss.
This Story Map was developed by Lindsey Neuwirth, a 2022 NOAA College Supported Intern at Stony Brook University.
To view the story map, please see this version on the ESRI website"Pivotal Recovery for Science''. Note that most story maps are large, single-page multimedia presentations. When using a mobile device, we recommend viewing over WiFi.
The Argo Program was developed in 1999 and today supports a global array of almost 4,000 robotic profiling floats that measure the temperature and salinity of the upper 2,000 meters (1.2 miles) of the ocean. Argo floats are now being tested to dive down to a depth of 6,000 meters (3.7 miles) and have additional sensors on them to collect information about the biology and the chemistry (oxygen, pH, nitrate, suspended particles, and downwelling irradiance) of the global ocean. Credit: Nina Buzby (University of Washington)
PMEL’s Global Observations of Biogeochemistry and Ocean Physics research group is looking for high school teachers and classrooms in the greater Puget Sound region to join our new outreach program, Adopt-A-Float. PMEL researchers are using autonomous robots called Argo profiling floats that measure physical, chemical, and biological variables in the ocean to understand the impacts of climate and ecosystem changes.
PMEL deploys about 60 floats each year and classrooms can engage with a dedicated float as it collects crucial data across the ocean.
Each classroom involved in the PMEL Adopt-A-Float Program will get to adopt a float that is about to be deployed in the ocean. Classes will get to:
- Name the float
- Create an associated image or logo to be placed on the float prior to deployment
- Learn how to view the float data online
- Develop hypotheses on what that float might “see” once deployed
- Have in-person or virtual classroom visits with scientists
- Access teaching/demo materials, including lesson plans on how to view and download data from your adopted float
- Tour PMEL
To get started or learn more about the Adopt A Float outreach program, contact the team via email at email@example.com
The 6+ miles-wide asteroid that struck Earth 66 million years ago wiping out nearly all the dinosaurs and roughly three-quarters of the planet’s plant and animal species also triggered a megatsunami with mile-high waves that new research confirms its global impact.
A new study, published today in the journal AGU Advances, presents the first global simulation of the Chicxulub asteroid impact tsunami. An international group of researchers from academic institutions and government agencies, including NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Lab and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Lab combined numerical modeling and analysis of geological records to recreate global impact of the tsunami generated by the impact.
Simulation of the megatsunami triggered by the asteroid has provided unlikely verifications for numerical models and improves our understanding of the geology of this period.
Numerical analysis of the event used three different models to reproduce tsunami generation and propagation. A large computer program that models details of complex fluid flows, called a hydrocode, simulated the first 10 minutes of the tsunami generation, and two NOAA-developed models were then used to simulate the tsunami propagation around the global ocean. Additionally, the research team reviewed the geological record at more than 100 sites worldwide and found evidence that supports the models’ predictions of the tsunami’s path and power – a remarkable verification of the model for the megatsunami event of 66 million years ago.
“This tsunami was strong enough to disturb and erode sediments in ocean basins halfway around the globe, leaving either a gap in the sedimentary records or a jumble of older sediments,” said lead author Molly Range, who conducted the modeling study for a master’s thesis at the University of Michigan.
The study authors calculated that the initial energy in the tsunami was up to 30,000 times larger than the energy in the December 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake tsunami, which killed more than 230,000 people and is one of the largest tsunamis in the modern record.
“Our study is the first estimate of the global impact of the tsunami generated by the Chicxulub asteroid,” said Vasily Titov, co-author of the study. ”The models estimate that virtually all world coastlines experienced catastrophic flooding from that tsunami.”
Depending on the geometries of the coast and the advancing waves, most coastal regions would be inundated and eroded to some extent.
The team’s simulations show that in some deep-water basins of the North Atlantic, the Pacific and in some adjacent areas, underwater current speeds likely exceeded 20 centimeters per second (typically less than 1 cm per second for an earthquake-generated tsunami), a velocity that is strong enough to erode fine-grained sediments on the seafloor.
In contrast, the South Atlantic, the North Pacific, the Indian Ocean and the region that is today the Mediterranean were largely shielded from the strongest effects of the tsunami, according to the team’s simulation. In those places, the modeled current speeds were likely less than the 20 cm/sec threshold.
“We found corroboration in the geological record for the predicted areas of maximal impact in the open ocean,” said Brian Arbic, co-author and physical oceanographer at University of Michigan . “The geological evidence definitely strengthens the paper.”
For the current study, the researchers did not attempt to estimate the extent of coastal flooding caused by the tsunami. A follow-up study is planned to model the extent of coastal inundation worldwide by PMEL’s Vasily Titov.
Any modern documented tsunamis pale in comparison with this global catastrophic event, about 30,000 times smaller than this megatsunami. This study helps to assess and quantify the risk of future large asteroid impacts. In addition, the ability to reproduce mega-events like this is an important validation for the models to be able to forecast global impacts of more conventional tsunamis that humanity has to deal with.
Read the full University of Michigan Press Release for more details.
NOAA Renews Partnership with Indonesian Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysical Agency to Enhance Climate Research
On July 29, 2022, representatives from NOAA and the Indonesian Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysical Agency (BMKG; Badan Meteorologi, Klimatologi, dan Geofisika) signed an updated Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that extends the partnership agreement between NOAA and BMKG for five more years. This renewed MOU marks 17 years of successful long-term partnership that was first established in 2005 and later formalized with the signing of the first MOU in 2012.
This bilateral partnership leverages mutually beneficial resources that strengthen our combined capabilities in ocean and atmospheric observations for improved weather and climate prediction. Some of the highlights of this partnership include delivery of improved information for regional climate decision support services, PhD opportunities in the US for Indonesian students, training and capacity building opportunities for Indonesian scientists at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center (CPC) International Climate Desk, jointly conducted RAMA related field work on Indonesian research vessels in the Eastern Indian Ocean, and annual BMKG-NOAA Partnership Science Workshops.
PMEL provides all the equipment, instrumentation, technical capacity building, and data services for moorings deployed in RAMA. PMEL also provides support for PhD students, participates in the annual partnership workshops, and participates on the annual joint BMKG-NOAA RAMA cruises aboard the Indonesian research vessels to deploy up to five RAMA moorings per year.