What's New Archive
PMEL and Alaska Fisheries Science Center scientists have observed and sampled a large coccolithophore bloom, viewable even from space, in the Eastern Bering Sea during a recent October EcoFOCI research cruise. This phytoplankton bloom is caused by the coccolithophore, Emiliania huxleyi, a one-celled marine algae with calcite plating, and has persisted for nearly three months, starting in July 2014. Blooms of this size and duration have not been seen for over a decade in the Bering Sea.
The satellite image from September 26 shows the aquamarine bloom with the white circles indicating sampling stations occupied by NOAA’s research vessel Oscar Dyson during the cruise. For more information please visit the EcoFOCI cruise website.
Scientists from PMEL and JISAO took off on NOAA’s Hurricane Hunter P3 aircraft on October 2 from Seattle, Washington heading to Fairbanks, Alaska to take part in 5 flight missions to measure heat flux coming from the Arctic Ocean. This is the second year in a row scientists have flown above Arctic waters. Data gathered from both years to test the hypothesis that increased summer heat storage in the newly sea-ice free ocean regions in the Arctic lead to surface heat fluxes in autumn that are large enough to have impacts on atmospheric temperature, humidity, wind and cloud distributions.
This project has been jointly funded by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and NOAA, and includes both aircraft and ship operations. To learn more about NOAA's research in the Arctic, visit http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/.
Plots of data transmitted by the KEO mooring. See website for larger image.
On September 8-9, tropical cyclone Fengshen passed over the NOAA/PMEL mooring at the Kuroshio Extension Observatory (KEO) located off the coast of Japan. The buoy functioned exactly as planned throughout the storm, capturing a complete data record and sending the data back to shore once per hour to allow scientists to monitor the events in near real-time. Wind gusts reached 83 miles per hour and the sea surface temperature dropped by 3 degrees Celsius in just a few hours due to the enhanced mixing of surface waters with cooler waters below.
Researchers at PMEL are working with partners at NOAA's Environmental Modeling Center to use this data in real-time to verify and improve the accuracy of forecasts and storm prediction models. You can read more about the tropical cyclone and the KEO mooring on PMEL's Ocean Climate Stations website.
You can now explore PMEL data on a new Google Earth plugin interface on the PMEL website. The global data display covers observational data collected by PMEL projects from 2008-2014. The user can explore by PMEL research project, theme or survey type. Each data point or line or also clickable to provide more information as well as a source to obtain the actual data. The new data globe contains over 5,500 place marks of buoys and sample stations and over 1,000 tracks from Argo floats, gliders, and ships.
To find out our more about how to navigate the display please visit the About the Global Display page and explore!
Cruises for the U.S. Global Ocean Carbon and Repeat Hydrography Program. Click for larger image.
Six scientists from PMEL are co-authors on a recently published report describing the 2nd decadal ocean survey to be completed as part of the US Repeat Hydrography CO2/Tracer Program. Beginning in 2003, scientists from OAR’s PMEL and AOML contributed to hydrographic surveys at 2,142 stations that cover full ocean depth in all ocean basins with physical and chemical measurements. For the first time, scientists can now compare two decades of measurements to track changes in ocean warming, circulation, acidity, oxygen concentrations and other properties.
Starting on August 10, scientists and engineers from PMEL and the Joint Institute for the Study of Atmosphere and Ocean will be leading a mission on the NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown using the remotely operated vehicle Jason II to conduct time-series observations and sampling at the New Millenium Observatory (NeMO) at Axial Seamount off the Oregon coast, the site of a long-term seafloor observatory (since 1998!).
A new microbial incubator, developed and built by PMEL engineers, will be deployed on Jason to conduct microbial growth experiments on the seafloor. Also included on this mission are the recovery of heat-energy extraction test instruments deployed in 2013 and collection of large-volume samples for the study of viruses in hydrothermal fluids. Please visit PMEL's Earth-Ocean Interactions website for more information on NeMO.
A new study led by PMEL's Dr. Jeremy Mathis, published online July 29 in Progress in Oceanography, shows that many of Alaska's economically valuable marine fisheries are located in waters already experiencing ocean acidification. The economy and livelihood of communities in southeast and southwest Alaska are expected to be particularly vulnerable to ocean acidification and have underlying factors making these communities more susceptible. Studies show that red king crab and tanner crab, two important Alaskan fisheries, grow more slowly and don’t survive as well in more acidic waters. Alaska’s coastal waters are particularly vulnerable to ocean acidification because of cold water that can absorb more carbon dioxide, and unique ocean circulation patterns which bring naturally acidic deep ocean waters to the surface.
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.
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.
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.