National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

www.noaa.gov
Seattle, WA, United States

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is a scientific agency within the United States Department of Commerce focused on the conditions of the oceans and the atmosphere. NOAA warns of dangerous weather, charts seas and skies, guides the use and protection of ocean and coastal resources, and conducts research to improve understanding and stewardship of the environment. In addition to its civilian employees, 12,000 as of 2012, NOAA research and operations are supported by 300 uniformed service members who make up the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps. The current Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere at the Department of Commerce and the agency's administrator is Kathryn D. Sullivan, who was nominated February 28, 2013, and confirmed March 6, 2014. Wikipedia.


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Patent
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Date: 2016-08-27

A system for expressing an ion path in a time-of-flight (TOF) mass spectrometer. The present invention uses two successive curved sectors, with the second one reversed, to form S-shaped configuration such that an output ion beam is parallel to an input ion beam, such that the ions makes two identical but opposed turns, and such that the geometry of the entire system folds into a very compact volume. Geometry of a TOF mass spectrometer system in accordance with embodiments of the present invention further includes straight drift regions positioned before and after the S-shaped configuration and, optionally, a short straight region positioned between the two curved sectors with total length equal to about the length of the central arc of both curved sectors.


Akmaev R.A.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Reviews of Geophysics | Year: 2011

At the turn of the century R. G. Roble advanced an ambitious program of developing an atmospheric general circulation model (GCM) extending from the surface to the exosphere. He outlined several areas of research and application to potentially benefit from what is now commonly called whole atmosphere modeling. The purpose of this article is to introduce this new field to a broader geophysical community and document its progress over the last decade. Vertically extended models are commonly built from existing weather and climate GCM codes incorporating a number of approximations, which may no longer be valid. Promising directions of further model development, potential applications, and challenges are outlined. One application is space weather or day-to-day and seasonal variability in the ionosphere and thermosphere driven by meteorological processes from below. Various modes of connection between the lower and upper atmosphere had been known before, but new and sometimes unexpected observational evidence has emerged over the last decade. Persistent "nonmigrating" wavy structures in plasma and neutral densities and a dramatic response of the equatorial ionosphere to sudden warmings in the polar winter stratosphere are just two examples. Because large-scale meteorological processes are predictable several days in advance, whole atmosphere weather prediction models open an opportunity for developing a real forecast capability for space weather. © 2011 by the American Geophysical Union.


Winton M.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Journal of Climate | Year: 2011

The sensitivity of Northern Hemisphere sea ice cover to global temperature change is examined in a group of climate models and in the satellite-era observations. The models are found to have well-defined, distinguishable sensitivities in climate change experiments. The satellite-era observations show a larger sensitivity-a larger decline per degree of warming-than any of the models. To evaluate the role of natural variability in this discrepancy, the sensitivity probability density function is constructed based upon the observed trends and natural variability of multidecadal ice cover and global temperature trends in a long control run of the GFDL Climate Model, version 2.1 (CM2.1). This comparison shows that the model sensitivities range from about 1 to more than 2 pseudostandard deviations of the variability smaller than observations indicate. The impact of natural Atlantic multidecadal temperature trends (as simulated by the GFDL model) on the sensitivity distribution is examined and found to be minimal. © 2011 American Meteorological Society.


Herring S.C.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society | Year: 2014

Attribution of extreme events is a challenging science and one that is currently undergoing considerable evolution. In this paper, 20 different research groups explored the causes of 16 different events that occurred in 2013. The findings indicate that human-caused climate change greatly increased the risk for the extreme heat waves assessed in this report. How human influence affected other types of events such as droughts, heavy rain events, and storms was less clear, indicating that natural variability likely played a much larger role in these extremes. Multiple groups chose to look at both the Australian heat waves and the California drought, providing an opportunity to compare and contrast the strengths and weaknesses of various methodologies. There was considerable agreement about the role anthropogenic climate change played in the events between the different assessments. This year three analyses were of severe storms and none found an anthropogenic signal. However, attribution assessments of these types of events pose unique challenges due to the often limited observational record. When human-influence for an event is not identified with the scientific tools available to us today, this means that if there is a human contribution, it cannot be distinguished from natural climate variability. © 2014 American Meteorological Society.


Murphy D.M.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Nature Geoscience | Year: 2013

Aerosols both scatter and absorb incoming solar radiation, with consequences for the energy balance of the atmosphere. Unlike greenhouse gases, atmospheric aerosols are distributed non-uniformly around the Earth. Therefore, regional shifts in aerosol abundance could alter radiative forcing of the climate. Here, I use multi-angle imaging spectroradiometer (MISR) satellite data and the Atmospheric and Environmental Research radiative transfer model to assess the radiative effect of the spatial redistribution of aerosols over the past decade. Unexpectedly, the radiative transfer model shows that the movement of aerosols from high latitudes towards the Equator, as might happen if pollution shifts from Europe to southeast Asia, has little effect on clear-sky radiative forcing. Shorter slant paths and smaller upscatter fractions near the Equator compensate for more total sunlight there. Overall, there has been an almost exact cancellation in the clear-sky radiative forcing from aerosol increases and decreases in different parts of the world, whereas MISR should have been able to easily detect a change of 0.1 W m-2 per decade due to changing patterns. Long-term changes in global mean aerosol optical depth or indirect aerosol forcing of clouds are difficult to measure from satellites. However, the satellite data show that the regional redistribution of aerosols had little direct net effect on global average clear-sky radiative forcing from 2000 to 2012. © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.


Waples R.S.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society | Year: 2013

Effective population size (Ne) controls both the rate of random genetic drift and the effectiveness of selection and migration, but it is difficult to estimate in nature. In particular, for species with overlapping generations, it is easier to estimate the effective number of breeders in one reproductive cycle (Nb) than Ne per generation. We empirically evaluated the relationship between life history and ratios of Ne, Nb and adult census size (N) using a recently developed model (agene) and published vital rates for 63 iteroparous animals and plants. Nb/Ne varied a surprising sixfold across species and, contrary to expectations, Nb was larger than Ne in over half the species. Up to two-thirds of the variance in Nb/Ne and up to half the variance in Ne/N was explained by just two life-history traits (age at maturity and adult lifespan) that have long interested both ecologists and evolutionary biologists. These results provide novel insights into, and demonstrate a close general linkage between, demographic and evolutionary processes across diverse taxa. For the first time, our results also make it possible to interpret rapidly accumulating estimates of Nb in the context of the rich body of evolutionary theory based on Ne per generation.


McPhaden M.J.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Geophysical Research Letters | Year: 2012

This paper documents changes in the relationship between warm water volume (WWV), which is an index for upper ocean heat content, and El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) SST anomalies during the period 1980-2010. Upper ocean heat content represents a major source of predictability for ENSO, with WWV integrated along the equator leading ENSO SST anomalies by 2-3 seasons during the 1980s and 1990s. For the first decade of the 21st century however, WWV variations decreased and lead time was reduced to only one season, mainly due to the diminished persistence of WWV anomalies early in the calendar year. These changes are linked to a shift towards more central Pacific (CP) versus eastern Pacific (EP) El Niños in the past decade. The results are consistent with a reduced impact of thermocline feedbacks on ENSO SST development and potentially imply reduced seasonal time scale predictability during periods dominated by CP El Niños.


Held I.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Science | Year: 2014

Despite the complexity of Earth's climate system, the influence of human activities on climate can be identified and predicted.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: BIOLOGICAL OCEANOGRAPHY | Award Amount: 510.92K | Year: 2016

Predicting how marine chemistry and biology will respond to global change is a pressing issue for society. This project will develop new modeling techniques for predicting such changes using ideas derived from physics in the subdiscipline of thermodynamics that concerns how energy moves in a system. Recent advancements in the thermodynamics of systems that change over time indicate that systems will internally organize so as to maximize the flow and dissipation of energy. For example, the temperature difference that develops between the ocean and atmosphere over the summer drives the formation of hurricanes (the organized structures) whose presence hastens the dissipation of the temperature difference. This project utilizes this fundamental property but extends it to microbial communities, such as bacteria and phytoplankton, which form the base of the ocean food web and strongly influence ocean chemistry. Based on information on how biology utilizes solar and chemical energy to construct itself from carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and other elements in the environment, the model can predict how metabolic functions, such as photosynthesis or nitrogen fixation from the atmosphere, are expressed over time and space within the ocean. These predictions can be compared to existing oceanographic observations, including newly developed techniques that rely on DNA and RNA sequencing to determine metabolic function of the microbial community. This project will support one postdoctoral scholar in this new interface between ocean biogeochemistry modeling, thermodynamics and molecular observations. The project will also support summer internships as part of the Woods Hole Partnership Education Program, a consortium of institutions committed to increasing student diversity in Woods Hole, as well as support two independent undergraduate research projects per year as part of the Semester in Environmental Science Program at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL). A workshop will be held in year 2 of the project to broaden exposure of thermodynamic approaches in marine biogeochemistry and explore its place in the broader context of recent advances in metabolic modeling and theory. Ocean model code developed during the project will be open source and publicly disseminated.

This project builds upon the Darwin Project, a trait and selection based modeling approach for describing marine plankton communities and biogeochemical cycles. The approach relies on local competition to select from a diverse population and determines the functional characteristics of microorganisms that mediate biogeochemical cycles. The project will combine this selection-based modeling approach with a distributed metabolic network perspective previously developed to facilitate calculating reaction thermodynamics. This will provide mechanistic and quantitative description of key metabolic functions and allow the new model to be directly mappable to omics-based observations. The project will utilize new modeling design criteria based on the maximum entropy production (MEP) conjecture to determine allocation of metabolic machinery and its expression, such as metabolic switching between nitrogen fixation and ammonium uptake. Model testing will rely on existing oceanographic surveys and observations. Once validated, the coupled model will be used to investigate losses of functional biodiversity, generalist versus specialists, temporal planktonic strategies as well as losses in community complementarity on ecosystem biogeochemistry. A significant output from the project will be a predicted global biogeography map of metabolic function and expression (such as nitrogen fixation and ammonium oxidation) that can be tested with, and used to interpret, directed omics observations.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: LONG TERM ECOLOGICAL RESEARCH | Award Amount: 1.13M | Year: 2016

The Plum Island Ecosystems (PIE) LTER (Long Term Ecological Research) site is developing a predictive understanding of the response of a linked watershed-marsh-estuarine system in northeastern Massachusetts to rapid environmental change. Over the last 30 years, surface sea water temperatures in the adjacent Gulf of Maine have risen at 3 times the global average, rates of sea-level rise have accelerated, and precipitation has increased. Coupled with these changes in climate and sea level are substantial changes within the rapidly urbanizing watersheds that influence water, sediment, and nutrient delivery to the marsh and estuary. In PIE IV the research focus is on: Dynamics of coastal ecosystems in a region of rapid climate change, sea-level rise, and human impacts. This work will advance our understanding of how the structure and function of coastal ecosystems will be altered over the next several decades and beyond. Because of their position at the land-sea interface, coastal ecosystems are particularly threatened by human activities in watersheds and to sea-level rise. PIE research will address both fundamental ecological questions as well as provide critical information on how to manage these systems. For example, it will help us understand how species changes in a complex interaction network result in changes to the abundance of key species, food web structure, and energy flow. PIE research will also improve our understanding of the importance of the coastal zone to regional and global carbon and nitrogen budgets and advance our ability to model biogeochemistry at the ecosystem scale in a spatially explicit framework. Finally, it will provide a greater mechanistic understanding of biogeomorphic feedbacks that will be essential in future conservation efforts. The investigators will continue their award winning Schoolyard program, Salt Marsh Science, which serves over 1,000 students in grades 5-12 in ten schools each year. In collaboration with the Gulf of Maine Institute PIE LTER is developing a new initiative with local Middlesex Community College. By providing flexible paid internships with academic credit, PIE will be able to reach students from economically and ethnically diverse backgrounds who might not otherwise consider STEM careers. Outreach is important to PIE scientists. Activities include scientific collaborations outside PIE and with local, state and federal agencies, involvement in the Marine Biological Laboratory science journalism program, and partnership with Mass Coastal Zone Management in conducting marsh elevation surveys. PIE scientists currently serve on panels or advisory groups for US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and many state and local agencies. All data collected by the PIE LTER are centralized and made available to the public through a web site http://pie-lter.ecosystems.mbl.edu/.


Researchers at PIE will test how internal feedbacks within the marsh-estuary ecosystem influence the response of geomorphology, biogeochemistry, and food webs to three major drivers: climate, sea-level rise, and human alteration of the watershed. They anticipate large changes in the geomorphology of the marsh and estuary over the next several decades. They hypothesize that major feedbacks are exerted through sediment dynamics, changes in hydrology, alterations of carbon and nitrogen cycles, species interactions, and species introduction or loss due to warming. Positive biogeomorphic feedbacks within the marsh ecosystem will likely contribute to marsh persistence while sea level rises, but they hypothesize that PIE is moving from a predominantly high-elevation marsh to a lower elevation marsh, with less overall wetland, more open water, and more marsh edge. These changes will greatly impact estuarine biogeochemistry, primary production, and community dynamics. PIE IV will address three questions: Q1) How will the geomorphic configuration of the marsh and estuary be altered by changes in the watershed, sea-level rise, climate change, and feedbacks internal to the coastal system?; Q2) How will changing climate, watershed inputs, and marsh geomorphology interact to alter marsh and estuarine primary production, organic matter storage, and nutrient cycling?; and Q3) How will key consumer dynamics and estuarine food webs be reshaped by changing environmental drivers, marsh-estuarine geomorphology and biogeochemistry? Cross-system comparisons with other LTERs along gradients of temperature, species composition, tidal range, and sediment supply will further our understanding of long-term change in coastal ecosystems.

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