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FY 2003 Operating Plan for PMEL

Strategic Plan Element - Protect, restore and manage the use of coastal and ocean resourses through ecosystem management approaches.

THEME 1: Climate and Ecosystems

GOAL: Determine the relationship of climate and regime shifts on fisheries and endangered marine mammals to improve capabilities of managing fisheries and marine protected species.

Strategy 1: Extend Alaska time-series to increase environmental understanding leading to resource sustainability.

Performance Measure: Add to a growning body of scientific knowledge through scientific knowledge through field research in the Gulf of Alaska and Great Lakes.

Strategy 2: Provide stakeholders (e.g., Fisheries Management Council) via the Web, information and interpretation on the changing physical environment of Steller sea lions.

Milestone (Q4): FOCI: Recover and deploy moored and drifting buoys in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea to document effects of 2002-2003 El Niño on the Gulf of Alaska and to support papers submitted to refereed journals documenting the changing physical environment affecting Steller sea lions. (P. Stabeno)

THEME 2: Coastal Stewardship

GOAL: Enhanced, short term forecasts leading to improved flood control, storm water and land-use manageent in the Great Lakes and coastal environment.

Strategy 1: Develop a suite of model-based hazard mitigation products including an inundation map.

Performance Measure: Enhanced, short term forecasts leading to improved flood control, storm water and land-use management in the Great Lakes and coastal environment.

Milestone (Q2): Complete analysis of tsunami inundation simulations for the Seattle-Duwamish waterfront and deliver to Washington State Emergency Management Division. (F. Gonzalez)

THEME 3: Earth Systems Modeling and Ocean Obervations

GOAL: Improve environmental forecasting systems to predict wind, waves and seiches in coastal and Great Lakes systems.

Strategy 3: Extend time series from cabled (i.e., SOSUS) underwater hydrophone systems.

Performance Measure: Develop and expand technological basis for observation systems and networks, automated data collection devices to provide better, more cost effective measurements.

Milestone (Q3): Provide real-time acoustic information related to seafloor spreading centers, especially volcanic activity associated with the NeMO Seafloor Observatory. (S. Hammond)

Strategic Plan Element - Understand climate variability and change to enhance society's ability to plan and respond.

THEME 1: Improved Intraseasonal to Interannual Forecasting Capability

GOAL 1: Provide national and regional managers with timely and accurate climate information and forecasts to enable them to better plan for the impacts of climate variability and change.

Strategy 1.1: Research to better understand climate variabliity and change.

Performance Measure: Conduct modeling, diagnostic, and field studies to better understand the origins and impacts of major climate anomalies. Improve understanding of atmospheric, oceanic, land surface and cryospheric processes that contribute to climate variability, as measured by peerpreviewed publications from NOAA supported research programs.

Milestone (Q4 ): Provide data for operational forecasting and analyses of the 2002-2003 El Nino and for comparisons with previous events. (M. McPhaden)

GOAL 2: National and International Assessments to Support Policy Decisions

Strategy 2.1: Reducing the uncertainty in the impacts of aerosols and tropospheric ozone.

Performance Measure: Reduce the uncertainty in radiative forcing of various greenhouse gases and aerosols.

Milestone (Q1): Description of the physical, chemical and optical properties of aerosols transported from Asia out over the Pacific Ocean. These measurements are critical parameters for calculating the radiative impact of Asian aerosols on regional and global climate. ( Bates/Levy)

Purpose: Atmospheric aerosol particles are the largest source of uncertainty in current IPCC estimates of climate forcing due to human activities. The purpose of this research is to provide the in-situ data needed to assess the climate impact of aerosol particles transported from Asia out over the Pacific Ocean.

aerosol transport image
April8 Over Eastern
China & Korea
aerosol over mid-Atlantic satellite image
April 22 over the
Eastern United States

Figure 1. Research during the past few years has shown that even short–lived substances such as aerosols and ozone can be transported intercontinentally. This transport is easily seen in satellite images of dust transport. On 7-8 April 2001 strong winds swept across the Taklimakan Desert in western China, the Gobi Desert in eastern Mongolia, and the industrial regions of Eastern Asia lifting dust and pollutants into the troposphere. The aerosols advecting out of Asia were sampled off the Asia coast during ACE-Asia. The aerosol plume was tracked by satellite cross the Pacific Ocean and can be seen here as a haze over the mid-Atlantic United States and Atlantic Ocean on 22 April.

Efforts: The Aerosol Characterization Experiments (ACE) are designed to increase our understanding of how atmospheric aerosol particles affect the Earth’s climate system by scattering and absorbing light and by acting as cloud forming nuclei. These experiments improve the ability of models to predict the influences of natural and anthropogenic aerosols on the Earth’s radiation balance. ACE-Asia was the fourth in a series of ACE projects organized by the International Global Atmospheric Chemistry Program (A Core Project of the International Geosphere Biosphere Program). ACE-Asia took place during March/April 2001 off the coast of China, Japan and Korea. The U.S. contribution to ACE-Asia was sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Office of Naval Research. The major NOAA effort was the measurement program aboard RV Ronald H. Brown.

atmospheric aerosol particles image Figure 2. Atmospheric aerosol particles can affect the Earth’s radiation budget directly by absorbing and scattering solar radiation. Additionally, aerosol particles can act as cloud condensation nuclei and thereby determine the initial cloud droplet number concentration, albedo, precipitation formation and lifetime of warm clouds.

Customers: The ACE-Asia data sets are being used to evaluate numerical models that extrapolate aerosol properties and processes from local to regional scales and to assess the regional direct radiative forcing by aerosols. The data sets also are being used to test and refine satellite (MISR) retrieval algorithms. The results from ACE-Asia will be an important contribution to the CCRI/USGCRP 2005/6 assessments.

Significance: The ACE-Asia region includes many types of aerosol particles of widely varying composition and size derived from one of the largest aerosol source regions on Earth. These particles include those emitted by human activities and industrial sources, as well as wind-blown dust. Results from ACE-Asia have improved our understanding of the chemical, physical and optical properties of the aerosols advecting out of Asia and how these atmospheric aerosol particles influence the chemical and radiative properties of the Earth’s atmosphere. Initial results from the ACE-Asia field experiment will appear in the Journal of Geophysical Research - Atmospheres in mid-2003.

Success: 1) The dust we can observe by satellite, transported half way around the globe, is not just dust, it is dust mixed with pollution. Air pollution changes dust aerosols in many ways, adding black carbon, toxic materials, and acidic gases to the mineral particles. Atmospheric chemistry and its impact on air quality and climate change are truly global issues. 2) We can not measure dust in one region and assume that dust everywhere around the Earth has the same impact on climate. The dust that is transported from East Asia to the Pacific does not absorb as much light as the dark aerosol from South Asia or some previous measurements of dust from the Sahara Desert. There are dramatic regional differences in the chemical and optical properties of aerosols.

absorption by aerosols image Figure 3. Light absorption by aerosols is highly variable regionally. Unpolluted Asian dust (measured here at 6 km altitude) absorbs very little light. Asian pollution (over both the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans) is much more absorptive (blacker) than North American pollution over the Western Atlantic Ocean. This absorption warms layers of the air affecting not only Earth’s radiation balance but also atmospheric dynamics and the hydrological cycle.

Next Steps: NOAA will conduct similar measurements aboard Ronald H. Brown in the outflow from North America during July/August 2004. Our goals will be to measure the chemical, physical, and optical properties of aerosols advecting off the East Coast of the United States and Canada, to develop a quantitative understanding of the processes controlling these distributions, and to assess their radiative impacts on the climate system.

Strategy 2.3: Reducing the uncertainty in oceanic and terrestrial carbon budgets.

Performance Measure: Obtain better estimates of the amplitude of terrestrial and oceanic carbon sources and sinks. Reduce the uncertainty in climate projections.

Milestone (Q4): Establishment of four carbon dioxide mooring sites in the equatorial Pacific and instrumentation of two NOAA ships with surface ocean pCO2 systems, thus extending the time series of surface ocean pCO2 data to document the impact of the current El Niño event and enable comparisons of the air-sea exchange of carbon dioxide with past El Niños. Begin research on the timing of the changes in carbon dioxide sources to the atmosphere, which by the end of 2004 will reduce the uncertainity of CO2 flux variations in the equatorial Pacific to within +/- 0.3 Gt carbon per year. (R. Feely)

GOAL 3: Improved Climate Observations, Monitoring, and Data Management. Build the climate observing system required to suppor the research, modelling, and decision support activities for the Climate Change Research Initiative.

Strategy 3.2: Ocean observations.

Performance Measure: Improve the quality of obersvations. Reduce the uncertainty of climate change evaluations, past, present, and future. Reduce the errors in the estimation of climate trends and variations over the U.S.

Milestone (Q4): ARGO delayed-mode salinity correction system: improve and update historical climatology, continue implementation with national and international partners, and publish methodology in a refereed scientific journal. (G. Johnson)

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