National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

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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.


Ross W.N.,New York Medical College | Ross W.N.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Nature Reviews Neuroscience | Year: 2012

All cells use changes in intracellular calcium concentration ([Ca 2+]) to regulate cell signalling events. In neurons, with their elaborate dendritic and axonal arborizations, there are clear examples of both localized and widespread Ca2+ signals. [Ca2+] changes that are generated by Ca2+ entry through voltage-and ligand-gated channels are the best characterized. In addition, the release of Ca2+ from intracellular stores can result in increased [Ca2+]; the signals that trigger this release have been less well-studied, in part because they are not usually associated with specific changes in membrane potential. However, recent experiments have revealed dramatic widespread Ca2+ waves and localized spark-like events, particularly in dendrites. Here we review emerging data on the nature of these signals and their functions. © 2012 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.


Kossin J.P.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Nature | Year: 2017

The North Atlantic ocean/atmosphere environment exhibits pronounced interdecadal variability that is known to strongly modulate Atlantic hurricane activity. Variability in sea surface temperature (SST) is correlated with hurricane variability through its relationship with the genesis and thermodynamic potential intensity of hurricanes. Another key factor that governs the genesis and intensity of hurricanes is ambient environmental vertical wind shear (VWS). Warmer SSTs generally correlate with more frequent genesis and greater potential intensity, while VWS inhibits genesis and prevents any hurricanes that do form from reaching their potential intensity. When averaged over the main hurricane-development region in the Atlantic, SST and VWS co-vary inversely, so that the two factors act in concert to either enhance or inhibit basin-wide hurricane activity. Here I show, however, that conditions conducive to greater basin-wide Atlantic hurricane activity occur together with conditions for more probable weakening of hurricanes near the United States coast. Thus, the VWS and SST form a protective barrier along the United States coast during periods of heightened basin-wide hurricane activity. Conversely, during the most-recent period of basin-wide quiescence, hurricanes (and particularly major hurricanes) near the United States coast, although substantially less frequent, exhibited much greater variability in their rate of intensification, and were much more likely to intensify rapidly. Such heightened variability poses greater challenges to operational forecasting and, consequently, greater coastal risk during hurricane events. © 2017 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature.


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.


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: 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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