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  • Article
    Land and deep-sea mining: the challenges of comparing biodiversity impacts
    (Springer, 2023-03-18) Katona, Steven ; Paulikas, Daina ; Ali, Saleem ; Clarke, Michael ; Ilves, Erika ; Lovejoy, Thomas E. ; Madin, Laurence P. ; Stone, Gregory S.
    The term ‘biodiversity,’ while casually used in practice, is a complicated subject to measure, interpret, contextualize, and compare. Yet the possible advent of deep-sea mining in the mid-2020’s compels us to compare potential impacts of biodiversity loss across ecologically distant realms, a formidable task. Supplying the world’s green infrastructure is expected to lead to shortages of nickel, cobalt and other metals; meanwhile polymetallic nodules sitting atop the abyssal plains of the Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ) of the Pacific Ocean contain billions of tons of nickel, cobalt, copper and manganese, enough to solve the supply issues. Implicit in society’s decision of whether to exploit this resource is a tradeoff of harm to biodiversity in the CCZ’s abyssal seafloor and its overlying water column, versus intensification of harm to rainforests and other terrestrial mining habitats. Here we frame the challenges of comparing biodiversity impacts across such different realms, spanning the gamut from normative to fundamental: ambiguities in definitions, lack of protocol standardization, physical challenges in measurement, difficulties to integrate measures among different taxonomic groups, profound differences between ecologically distant realms, contextual necessity to attribute value to mathematical index results, and constraints of current knowledge about species, ecosystems and system level impacts of biodiversity change. Quantitative biodiversity measures alone cannot rank one system above the other; measures must be supplemented with qualitative judgements of the tangible and intangible values of species and habitats to natural systems and to humans, along with consideration of other threats that they and we face.
  • Article
    Hydroclimate variability in the equatorial western Indian Ocean for the last 250,000 years
    (American Geophysical Union, 2023-01-21) Windler, Grace ; Tierney, Jessica E. ; deMenocal, Peter B.
    Abstract Indian Ocean sea surface temperatures impact precipitation across the basin through coupled ocean-atmosphere responses to changes in climate. To understand the hydroclimate response over the western Indian Ocean and equatorial east Africa to different forcing mechanisms, we present four new proxy reconstructions from core VM19-193 (2.98°N, 51.47°E) that span the last 250 ky. Sub-surface water temperatures (Sub-T; TEX86) show strong precessional (23 ky) variability that is primarily influenced by maximum incoming solar radiation (insolation) during the Northern Hemisphere spring season, likely indicating that local insolation dominates the upper water column at this tropical location over time. Leaf waxes, on the other hand, reflect two different precipitation signals: δ13Cwax (in phase with boreal fall insolation) is likely reflecting vegetation changes in response to local rainfall over east Africa, whereas δDprecip (primarily driven by boreal summer insolation) represents changes in regional circulation associated with the summer monsoon. Glacial-interglacial changes in ocean temperatures support glacial shelf exposure over the Maritime Continent in the eastern Indian Ocean and the subsequent weakening of the Indian Walker Circulation as a mechanism driving 100 ky climate variability across the tropical Indo-Pacific. Additionally, the 100 ky spectral power in δDprecip supports a basin-wide weakening of summer monsoon circulation in response to glacial climates. Overall, the proxy records from VM19-193 indicate that both precession and glacial-interglacial cycles exert control over hydroclimate at this tropical location.
  • Article
    Holocene bidirectional river system along the Kenya Rift and its influence on East African faunal exchange and diversity gradients
    (National Academy of Sciences, 2022-07-12) Dommain, René ; Riedl, Simon ; Olaka, Lydia A. ; de Menocal, Peter B. ; Deino, Alan L. ; Owen, R. Bernhart ; Muiruri, Veronica ; Müller, Johannes ; Potts, Richard ; Strecker, Manfred R.
    East Africa is a global biodiversity hotspot and exhibits distinct longitudinal diversity gradients from west to east in freshwater fishes and forest mammals. The assembly of this exceptional biodiversity and the drivers behind diversity gradients remain poorly understood, with diversification often studied at local scales and less attention paid to biotic exchange between Afrotropical regions. Here, we reconstruct a river system that existed for several millennia along the now semiarid Kenya Rift Valley during the humid early Holocene and show how this river system influenced postglacial dispersal of fishes and mammals due to its dual role as a dispersal corridor and barrier. Using geomorphological, geochronological, isotopic, and fossil analyses and a synthesis of radiocarbon dates, we find that the overflow of Kenyan rift lakes between 12 and 8 ka before present formed a bidirectional river system consisting of a “Northern River” connected to the Nile Basin and a “Southern River,” a closed basin. The drainage divide between these rivers represented the only viable terrestrial dispersal corridor across the rift. The degree and duration of past hydrological connectivity between adjacent river basins determined spatial diversity gradients for East African fishes. Our reconstruction explains the isolated distribution of Nilotic fish species in modern Kenyan rift lakes, Guineo-Congolian mammal species in forests east of the Kenya Rift, and recent incipient vertebrate speciation and local endemism in this region. Climate-driven rearrangements of drainage networks unrelated to tectonic activity contributed significantly to the assembly of species diversity and modern faunas in the East African biodiversity hotspot.
  • Article
    Zircon U-Pb age constraints on NW Himalayan exhumation from the Laxmi Basin, Arabian Sea
    (American Geophysical Union, 2021-12-15) Zhou, Peng ; Stockli, Daniel F. ; Ireland, Thomas ; Murray, Richard W. ; Clift, Peter D.
    The Indus Fan, located in the Arabian Sea, contains the bulk of the sediment eroded from the Western Himalaya and Karakoram. Scientific drilling in the Laxmi Basin by the International Ocean Discovery Program recovered a discontinuous erosional record for the Indus River drainage dating back to at least 9.8 Ma, and with a single sample from 15.6 Ma. We dated detrital zircon grains by U-Pb geochronology to reconstruct how erosion patterns changed through time. Long-term increases in detrital zircon U-Pb components of 750–1,200 and 1,500–2,300 Ma record increasing preferential erosion of the Himalaya relative to the Karakoram between 8.3–7.0 and 5.9–5.7 Ma. The average contribution of Karakoram-derived sediment to the Indus Fan fell from 70% of the total at 8.3–7.0 Ma to 35% between 5.9 and 5.7 Ma. An increase in the contribution of 1,500–2,300 Ma zircons starting between 2.5 and 1.6 Ma indicates significant unroofing of the Inner Lesser Himalaya (ILH) by that time. The trend in zircon age spectra is consistent with bulk sediment Nd isotope data. The initial change in spatial erosion patterns at 7.0–5.9 Ma occurred during a time of drying climate in the foreland. The increase in ILH erosion postdated the onset of dry-wet glacial-interglacial cycles suggesting some role for climate control. However, erosion driven by rising topography in response to formation of the ILH thrust duplex, especially during the Pliocene, also played an important role, while the influence of the Nanga Parbat Massif to the total sediment flux was modest.
  • Article
    Orbital- and millennial-scale variability in northwest African dust emissions over the past 67,000 years
    (American Geophysical Union, 2021-12-07) Kinsley, Christopher W. ; Bradtmiller, Louisa I. ; McGee, David ; Galgay, Michael ; Stuut, Jan-Berend W. ; Tjallingii, Rik ; Winckler, Gisela ; deMenocal, Peter B.
    Reconstructions of aeolian dust flux to West African margin sediments can be used to explore changing atmospheric circulation and hydroclimate over North Africa on millennial to orbital timescales. Here, we extend West African margin dust flux records back to 37 ka in a transect of sites from 19° to 27°N, and back to 67 ka at Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Hole 658C, in order to explore the interplay of orbital and high-latitude forcings on North African climate and make quantitative estimates of dust flux during the core of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). The ODP 658C record shows a Green Sahara interval from 60 to 50 ka during a time of high Northern Hemisphere summer insolation, with dust fluxes similar to levels during the early Holocene African Humid Period, and an abrupt peak in flux during Heinrich event 5a (H5a). Dust fluxes increase from 50 to 35 ka while the high-latitude Northern Hemisphere cools, with peaks in dust flux associated with North Atlantic cool events. From 35 ka through the LGM dust deposition decreases in all cores, and little response is observed to low-latitude insolation changes. Dust fluxes at sites from 21° to 27°N were near late Holocene levels during the LGM time slice, suggesting a more muted LGM response than observed from mid-latitude dust sources. Records along the northwest African margin suggest important differences in wind responses during different stadials, with maximum dust flux anomalies centered south of 20°N during H1 and north of 20°N during the Younger Dryas.
  • Other
    The ocean twilight zone’s role in climate change
    (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2022-02) Buesseler, Ken O. ; Jin, Di ; Kourantidou, Melina ; Levin, David S. ; Ramakrishna, Kilaparti ; Renaud, Philip
    The ocean twilight zone (more formally known as the mesopelagic zone) plays a fundamental role in global climate. It is the mid-ocean region roughly 100 to 1000 meters below the surface, encompassing a half-mile deep belt of water that spans more than two-thirds of our planet. The top of the ocean twilight zone only receives 1% of incident sunlight and the bottom level is void of sunlight. Life in the ocean twilight zone helps to transport billions of metric tons (gigatonnes) of carbon annually from the upper ocean into the deep sea, due in part to processes known as the biological carbon pump. Once carbon moves below roughly 1000 meters depth in the ocean, it can remain out of the atmosphere for centuries to millennia. Without the benefits of the biological carbon pump, the atmospheric CO 2 concentration would increase by approximately 200 ppm 1 which would significantly amplify the negative effects of climate change that the world is currently trying to curtail and reverse. Unfortunately, existing scientific knowledge about this vast zone of the ocean, such as how chemical elements flow through its living systems and the physical environment, is extremely limited, jeopardizing the efforts to improve climate predictions and to inform fisheries management and ocean policy development.
  • Article
    Twilight zone observation network: a distributed observation network for sustained, real-time interrogation of the ocean’s twilight zone
    (Marine Technology Society, 2021-05-01) Thorrold, Simon R. ; Adams, Allan ; Bucklin, Ann ; Buesseler, Ken O. ; Fischer, Godi ; Govindarajan, Annette F. ; Hoagland, Porter ; Di, Jin ; Lavery, Andone C. ; Llopez, Joel ; Madin, Laurence P. ; Omand, Melissa M. ; Renaud, Philip ; Sosik, Heidi M. ; Wiebe, Peter ; Yoerger, Dana R. ; Zhang, Weifeng G.
    The ocean's twilight zone (TZ) is a vast, globe-spanning region of the ocean. Home to myriad fishes and invertebrates, mid-water fishes alone may constitute 10 times more biomass than all current ocean wild-caught fisheries combined. Life in the TZ supports ocean food webs and plays a critical role in carbon capture and sequestration. Yet the ecological roles that mesopelagic animals play in the ocean remain enigmatic. This knowledge gap has stymied efforts to determine the effects that extraction of mesopelagic biomass by industrial fisheries, or alterations due to climate shifts, may have on ecosystem services provided by the open ocean. We propose to develop a scalable, distributed observation network to provide sustained interrogation of the TZ in the northwest Atlantic. The network will leverage a “tool-chest” of emerging and enabling technologies including autonomous, unmanned surface and underwater vehicles and swarms of low-cost “smart” floats. Connectivity among in-water assets will allow rapid assimilation of data streams to inform adaptive sampling efforts. The TZ observation network will demonstrate a bold new step towards the goal of continuously observing vast regions of the deep ocean, significantly improving TZ biomass estimates and understanding of the TZ's role in supporting ocean food webs and sequestering carbon.
  • Article
    Trace metal evidence for deglacial ventilation of the abyssal Pacific and Southern Oceans
    (American Geophysical Union, 2021-08-17) Pavia, Frank ; Wang, Shouyi ; Middleton, Jennifer L. ; Murray, Richard W. ; Anderson, Robert F.
    The deep ocean has long been recognized as the reservoir that stores the carbon dioxide (CO2) removed from the atmosphere during Pleistocene glacial periods. The removal of glacial atmospheric CO2 into the ocean is likely modulated by an increase in the degree of utilization of macronutrients at the sea surface and enhanced storage of respired CO2 in the deep ocean, known as enhanced efficiency of the biological pump. Enhanced biological pump efficiency during glacial periods is most easily documented in the deep ocean using proxies for oxygen concentrations, which are directly linked to respiratory CO2 levels. We document the enhanced storage of respired CO2 during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) in the Pacific Southern Ocean and deepest Equatorial Pacific using records of deglacial authigenic manganese, which form as relict peaks during increases in bottom water oxygen (BWO) concentration. These peaks are found at depths and regions where other oxygenation histories have been ambiguous, due to diagenetic alteration of authigenic uranium, another proxy for BWO. Our results require that the entirety of the abyssal Pacific below approximately 1,000 m was enriched in respired CO2 and depleted in oxygen during the LGM. The presence of authigenic Mn enrichment in the deep Equatorial Pacific for each of the last five deglaciations suggests that the storage of respired CO2 in the deep ocean is a ubiquitous feature of late-Pleistocene ice ages.
  • Article
    Deep North Atlantic last glacial maximum salinity reconstruction
    (American Geophysical Union, 2021-04-24) Homola, Kira ; Spivack, Arthur J. ; Murray, Richard W. ; Pockalny, Robert ; D'Hondt, Steven ; Robinson, Rebecca
    We reconstruct deep water-mass salinities and spatial distributions in the western North Atlantic during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM, 19–26 ka), a period when atmospheric CO2 was significantly lower than it is today. A reversal in the LGM Atlantic meridional bottom water salinity gradient has been hypothesized for several LGM water-mass reconstructions. Such a reversal has the potential to influence climate, ocean circulation, and atmospheric CO2 by increasing the thermal energy and carbon storage capacity of the deep ocean. To test this hypothesis, we reconstructed LGM bottom water salinity based on sedimentary porewater chloride profiles in a north-south transect of piston cores collected from the deep western North Atlantic. LGM bottom water salinity in the deep western North Atlantic determined by the density-based method is 3.41–3.99 ± 0.15% higher than modern values at these sites. This increase is consistent with: (a) the 3.6% global average salinity change expected from eustatic sea level rise, (b) a northward expansion of southern sourced deep water, (c) shoaling of northern sourced deep water, and (d) a reversal of the Atlantic's north-south deep water salinity gradient during the LGM.
  • Article
    Marine sedimentary records of chemical weathering evolution in the western Himalaya since 17 Ma
    (Geological Society of America, 2021-03-24) Zhou, Peng ; Ireland, Thomas ; Murray, Richard W. ; Clift, Peter D.
    The Indus Fan derives sediment from the western Himalaya and Karakoram. Sediment from International Ocean Discovery Program drill sites in the eastern part of the fan coupled with data from an industrial well near the river mouth allow the weathering history of the region since ca. 16 Ma to be reconstructed. Clay minerals, bulk sediment geochemistry, and magnetic susceptibility were used to constrain degrees of chemical alteration. Diffuse reflectance spectroscopy was used to measure the abundance of moisture-sensitive minerals hematite and goethite. Indus Fan sediment is more weathered than Bengal Fan material, probably reflecting slow transport, despite the drier climate, which slows chemical weathering rates. Some chemical weathering proxies, such as K/Si or kaolinite/(illite + chlorite), show no temporal evolution, but illite crystallinity and the chemical index of alteration do have statistically measurable decreases over long time periods. Using these proxies, we suggest that sediment alteration was moderate and then increased from 13 to 11 Ma, remained high until 9 Ma, and then reduced from that time until 6 Ma in the context of reduced physical erosion during a time of increasing aridity as tracked by hematite/goethite values. The poorly defined reducing trend in weathering intensity is not clearly linked to global cooling and at least partly reflects regional climate change. Since 6 Ma, weathering has been weak but variable since a final reduction in alteration state after 3.5 Ma that correlates with the onset of Northern Hemispheric glaciation. Reduced or stable chemical weathering at a time of falling sedimentation rates is not consistent with models for Cenozoic global climate change that invoke greater Himalayan weathering fluxes drawing down atmospheric CO2 but are in accord with the idea of greater surface reactivity to weathering.
  • Article
    The contribution of water radiolysis to marine sedimentary life
    (Nature Research, 2021-02-26) Sauvage, Justine ; Flinders, Ashton F. ; Spivack, Arthur J. ; Pockalny, Robert ; Dunlea, Ann G. ; Anderson, Chloe H. ; Smith, David C. ; Murray, Richard W. ; D'Hondt, Steven
    Water radiolysis continuously produces H2 and oxidized chemicals in wet sediment and rock. Radiolytic H2 has been identified as the primary electron donor (food) for microorganisms in continental aquifers kilometers below Earth’s surface. Radiolytic products may also be significant for sustaining life in subseafloor sediment and subsurface environments of other planets. However, the extent to which most subsurface ecosystems rely on radiolytic products has been poorly constrained, due to incomplete understanding of radiolytic chemical yields in natural environments. Here we show that all common marine sediment types catalyse radiolytic H2 production, amplifying yields by up to 27X relative to pure water. In electron equivalents, the global rate of radiolytic H2 production in marine sediment appears to be 1-2% of the global organic flux to the seafloor. However, most organic matter is consumed at or near the seafloor, whereas radiolytic H2 is produced at all sediment depths. Comparison of radiolytic H2 consumption rates to organic oxidation rates suggests that water radiolysis is the principal source of biologically accessible energy for microbial communities in marine sediment older than a few million years. Where water permeates similarly catalytic material on other worlds, life may also be sustained by water radiolysis.
  • Article
    Pacific-wide pH snapshots reveal that high coral cover correlates with low, but variable pH
    (Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, 2020-03-08) Manzello, Derek P. ; Enochs, Ian C. ; Carlton, Renée ; Bruckner, Andrew ; Kolodziej, Graham ; Dempsey, Alexandra ; Renaud, Philip
    Ocean acidification (OA) is impairing the construction of coral reefs while simultaneously accelerating their breakdown. The metabolism of different reef organism assemblages alters seawater pH in different ways, possibly buffering or exacerbating OA impacts. In spite of this, field data relating benthic community structure and seawater pH are sparse. We collected pH time-series data snapshots at 10 m depth from 28 different reefs (n = 13 lagoon, n = 15 fore reef) across 22 Pacific islands, spanning 31° latitude and 90° longitude. Coincident with all deployments, we measured percent cover of the benthic community. On fore reefs, high coral cover (CC) negatively correlated with mean and minimum pH, but positively correlated with pH variability. Conversely, pH minima were positively correlated to coverage of coralline and turf algae. Benthic cover did not correlate with pH in lagoonal reefs. From 0% to 100% CC, mean pH and aragonite saturation state (Ωarag) declined −0.081 and −0.51, respectively, while declines in minimum values were greater (Δmin pH = −0.164, Δmin Ωarag = −0.96). Based upon previously published relationships, the mean pH decline from 0% to 100% CC would depress coral calcification 7.7%–18.0% and increase biologically-mediated dissolution 13.5%–27.9%, with pH minima depressing dark coral calcification 14.4%–35.2% and increasing biologically-mediated dissolution 31.0%–62.2%. This spatially expansive dataset provides evidence that coral reefs with the highest coral cover may experience the lowest and most extreme pH values with OA.
  • Article
    Relationship between individual chamber and whole shell Mg/Ca ratios in Trilobatus sacculifer and implications for individual foraminifera palaeoceanographic reconstructions
    (Nature Research, 2021-01-11) Rustic, Gerald T. ; Polissar, Pratigya J. ; Ravelo, Ana Christina ; de Menocal, Peter B.
    Precisely targeted measurements of trace elements using laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICPMS) reveal inter-chamber heterogeneities in specimens of the planktic foraminifer Trilobatus (Globigerinoides) sacculifer. We find that Mg/Ca ratios in the final growth chamber are generally lower compared to previous growth chambers, but final chamber Mg/Ca is elevated in one of thirteen sample intervals. Differences in distributions of Mg/Ca values from separate growth chambers are observed, occurring most often at lower Mg/Ca values, suggesting that single-chamber measurements may not be reflective of the specimen’s integrated Mg/Ca. We compared LA-ICPMS Mg/Ca values to paired, same-individual Mg/Ca measured via inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES) to assess their correspondence. Paired LA-ICPMS and ICP-OES Mg/Ca show a maximum correlation coefficient of R = 0.92 (p < 0.05) achieved by applying a weighted average of the last and penultimate growth chambers. Population distributions of paired Mg/Ca values are identical under this weighting. These findings demonstrate that multi-chamber LA-ICPMS measurements can approximate entire specimen Mg/Ca, and is thus representative of the integrated conditions experienced during the specimen’s lifespan. This correspondence between LA-ICPMS and ICP-OES data links these methods and demonstrates that both generate Mg/Ca values suitable for individual foraminifera palaeoceanographic reconstructions.
  • Article
    Evaluating knowledge to support climate action: A framework for sustained assessment. report of an independent advisory committee on applied climate assessment.
    (American Meteorological Society, 2019-05-21) Moss, Richard H. ; Avery, Susan K. ; Baja, Kristin ; Burkett, Maxine ; Chischilly, Ann Marie ; Dell, Janet ; Fleming, P. A. ; Geil, Kerrie L. ; Jacobs, Katharine L. ; Jones, Alan H. ; Knowlton, Kim ; Koh, Jay ; Lemos, Maria Carmen ; Melillo, Jerry M. ; Pandya, Rajul ; Richmond, Terese ; Scarlett, Lynn ; Snyder, Jared ; Stults, Melissa ; Waple, Anne ; Whitehead, Jessica ; Zarrilli, Daniel ; Ayyub, Bilal M. ; Fox, James ; Ganguly, Auroop ; Joppa, Lucas ; Julius, Susan ; Kirshen, Paul ; Kreutter, Rebecca ; McGovern, Amy ; Meyer, Ryan ; Neumann, James ; Solecki, William ; Smith, Joel ; Tissot, Philippe ; Yohe, Gary ; Zimmerman, Rae
    As states, cities, tribes, and private interests cope with climate damages and seek to increase preparedness and resilience, they will need to navigate myriad choices and options available to them. Making these choices in ways that identify pathways for climate action that support their development objectives will require constructive public dialogue, community participation, and flexible and ongoing access to science- and experience-based knowledge. In 2016, a Federal Advisory Committee (FAC) was convened to recommend how to conduct a sustained National Climate Assessment (NCA) to increase the relevance and usability of assessments for informing action. The FAC was disbanded in 2017, but members and additional experts reconvened to complete the report that is presented here. A key recommendation is establishing a new nonfederal “climate assessment consortium” to increase the role of state/local/tribal government and civil society in assessments. The expanded process would 1) focus on applied problems faced by practitioners, 2) organize sustained partnerships for collaborative learning across similar projects and case studies to identify effective tested practices, and 3) assess and improve knowledge-based methods for project implementation. Specific recommendations include evaluating climate models and data using user-defined metrics; improving benefit–cost assessment and supporting decision-making under uncertainty; and accelerating application of tools and methods such as citizen science, artificial intelligence, indicators, and geospatial analysis. The recommendations are the result of broad consultation and present an ambitious agenda for federal agencies, state/local/tribal jurisdictions, universities and the research sector, professional associations, nongovernmental and community-based organizations, and private-sector firms.
  • Article
    Unanticipated benefit of an outreach program
    (The Oceanography Society, 2018-09-15) Yoder, James
    The National Science Foundation supported six projects that comprised the Climate Change Education Partnership, including the National Net-work for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation (NNOCCI) for which the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is the science partner. The New England Aquarium leads NNOCCI, and the network also includes informal science educators, social and cognitive scientists, and evaluators. The partners work together to improve public awareness of climate change and its impact on the ocean (Spitzer, 2014; Fraser et al., 2015; Anderson, 2016).
  • Working Paper
    Improving communication of climate change science to public audiences : early career ocean scientists and science interpreters engage with social scientists
    ( 2018-03-27) Yoder, James
    This manuscript describes a qualitative study based on the results of interviews with early career scientists (graduate students and postdocs) who participated as “science fellows” along with science interpreters for training led by social scientists as to how to discuss ocean and climate change issues with general audiences. Based on the interviews, the science fellows were generally enthusiastic and effective participants in the program, and the training gave them more confidence for discussing the effects of climate change on the ocean. In addition, and of equal importance, the science fellows generally believed that the training helped them organize their written and oral presentations of their own science for their professional colleagues and is a lasting benefit to their career development.
  • Article
    Designing the climate observing system of the future
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2018-01-23) Weatherhead, Elizabeth C. ; Wielicki, Bruce A. ; Ramaswamy, Venkatachalam ; Abbott, Mark ; Ackerman, Thomas P. ; Atlas, Robert ; Brasseur, Guy ; Bruhwiler, Lori ; Busalacchi, Antonio J. ; Butler, James H. ; Clack, Christopher T. M. ; Cooke, Roger ; Cucurull, Lidia ; Davis, Sean M. ; English, Jason M. ; Fahey, David W. ; Fine, Steven S. ; Lazo, Jeffrey K. ; Liang, Shunlin ; Loeb, Norman G. ; Rignot, Eric ; Soden, Brian ; Stanitski, Diane ; Stephens, Graeme ; Tapley, Byron D. ; Thompson, Anne M. ; Trenberth, Kevin E. ; Wuebbles, Donald
    Climate observations are needed to address a large range of important societal issues including sea level rise, droughts, floods, extreme heat events, food security, and freshwater availability in the coming decades. Past, targeted investments in specific climate questions have resulted in tremendous improvements in issues important to human health, security, and infrastructure. However, the current climate observing system was not planned in a comprehensive, focused manner required to adequately address the full range of climate needs. A potential approach to planning the observing system of the future is presented in this article. First, this article proposes that priority be given to the most critical needs as identified within the World Climate Research Program as Grand Challenges. These currently include seven important topics: melting ice and global consequences; clouds, circulation and climate sensitivity; carbon feedbacks in the climate system; understanding and predicting weather and climate extremes; water for the food baskets of the world; regional sea-level change and coastal impacts; and near-term climate prediction. For each Grand Challenge, observations are needed for long-term monitoring, process studies and forecasting capabilities. Second, objective evaluations of proposed observing systems, including satellites, ground-based and in situ observations as well as potentially new, unidentified observational approaches, can quantify the ability to address these climate priorities. And third, investments in effective climate observations will be economically important as they will offer a magnified return on investment that justifies a far greater development of observations to serve society's needs.
  • Article
    A moving target : matching graduate education with available careers for ocean scientists
    (The Oceanography Society, 2016-03) Briscoe, Melbourne G. ; Glickson, Deborah A. ; Roberts, Susan ; Spinrad, Richard W. ; Yoder, James A.
    The objective of this paper is to look at past assessments and available data to examine the match (or mismatch) between university curricula and programs available to graduate students in the ocean sciences and the career possibilities available to those students. We conclude there is a need for fundamental change in how we educate graduate students in the ocean sciences. The change should accommodate the interests of students as well as the needs of a changing society; the change should not be constrained by the traditions or resource challenges of the graduate institutions themselves. The limited data we have been able to obtain from schools and employers are consistent with this view: desirable careers for ocean scientists are moving rapidly toward interdisciplinary, collaborative, societally relevant activities, away from traditional academic-research/professorial jobs, but the training available to the students is not keeping pace. We offer some suggestions to mitigate the mismatch. Most importantly, although anecdotes and “gut feelings” abound, the quantitative data backing our conclusions and suggestions are very sparse and barely compelling; we urge better data collection to support curricular revision, perhaps with the involvement of professional societies.
  • Working Paper
    A modern coastal ocean observing system using data from advanced satellite and in situ sensors – an example
    (NSF/Ocean Research Coordination Network, 2015-06-01) Yoder, James A. ; Davis, Curtiss O. ; Dierssen, Heidi M. ; Muller-Karger, Frank E. ; Mahadevan, Amala ; Pearlman, Jay ; Sosik, Heidi M.
    This report is intended to illustrate and provide recommendations for how ocean observing systems of the next decade could focus on coastal environments using combined satellite and in situ measurements. Until recently, space-based observations have had surface footprints typically spanning hundreds of meters to kilometers. These provide excellent synoptic views for a wide variety of ocean characteristics. In situ observations are instead generally point or linear measurements. The interrelation between space-based and in-situ observations can be challenging. Both are necessary and as sensors and platforms evolve during the next decade, the trend to facilitate interfacing space and in-situ observations must continue and be expanded. In this report, we use coastal observation and analyses to illustrate an observing system concept that combines in situ and satellite observing technologies with numerical models to quantify subseasonal time scale transport of freshwater and its constituents from terrestrial water storage bodies across and along continental shelves, as well as the impacts on some key biological/biogeochemical properties of coastal waters.
  • Article
    Regional to global assessments of phytoplankton dynamics from the SeaWiFS mission
    (Elsevier, 2013-04-20) Siegel, David A. ; Behrenfeld, Michael J. ; Maritorena, S. ; McClain, Charles R. ; Antoine, David ; Bailey, S. W. ; Bontempi, P. S. ; Boss, Emmanuel S. ; Dierssen, Heidi M. ; Doney, Scott C. ; Eplee, R. E. ; Evans, R. H. ; Feldman, G. C. ; Fields, Erik ; Franz, Bryan A. ; Kuring, N. A. ; Mengelt, C. ; Nelson, Norman B. ; Patt, F. S. ; Robinson, W. D. ; Sarmiento, Jorge L. ; Swan, C. M. ; Werdell, P. J. ; Westberry, Toby K. ; Wilding, J. G. ; Yoder, James A.
    Photosynthetic production of organic matter by microscopic oceanic phytoplankton fuels ocean ecosystems and contributes roughly half of the Earth's net primary production. For 13 years, the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) mission provided the first consistent, synoptic observations of global ocean ecosystems. Changes in the surface chlorophyll concentration, the primary biological property retrieved from SeaWiFS, have traditionally been used as a metric for phytoplankton abundance and its distribution largely reflects patterns in vertical nutrient transport. On regional to global scales, chlorophyll concentrations covary with sea surface temperature (SST) because SST changes reflect light and nutrient conditions. However, the ocean may be too complex to be well characterized using a single index such as the chlorophyll concentration. A semi-analytical bio-optical algorithm is used to help interpret regional to global SeaWiFS chlorophyll observations from using three independent, well-validated ocean color data products; the chlorophyll a concentration, absorption by CDM and particulate backscattering. First, we show that observed long-term, global-scale trends in standard chlorophyll retrievals are likely compromised by coincident changes in CDM. Second, we partition the chlorophyll signal into a component due to phytoplankton biomass changes and a component caused by physiological adjustments in intracellular chlorophyll concentrations to changes in mixed layer light levels. We show that biomass changes dominate chlorophyll signals for the high latitude seas and where persistent vertical upwelling is known to occur, while physiological processes dominate chlorophyll variability over much of the tropical and subtropical oceans. The SeaWiFS data set demonstrates complexity in the interpretation of changes in regional to global phytoplankton distributions and illustrates limitations for the assessment of phytoplankton dynamics using chlorophyll retrievals alone.