CAFA Publications

Publications from CAFA funded projects. Sort by year, title, or project to view publications.

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An Numerical Model Analysis of the Mean and Seasonal Nitrogen Budget on the Northeast U.S. Shelf.

Project: A high-resolution physical-biological study of the Northeast U.S. shelf: past variability and future change
Year: 2018

Author(s): Zhang. S., C. A. Stock, E. N. Curchitser, and R. Dussin


Project PI: Curchister
DOI: http://DOI:10.1029/2018JC014308

The supply of nitrogen is a primary limiting factor for the productivity of the Northeast United States (NEUS) continental shelf. In this study, a 12-year (1996–2007) retrospective physical-biogeochemical simulation over the Northwest Atlantic was used to analyze the mean and seasonal NEUS shelf nitrogen budget, including the connections between shelf subregions: the Gulf of Maine/Georges Bank (GoM/GB), and the Mid-Atlantic Bight (MAB). The model captures the primary mean and seasonal patterns of shelf circulation, nitrate, and plankton dynamics. Results confirm aspects of previous nitrogen budget analyses, including the dominance of offshore nitrogen influxes into the GoM/GB and the prominent role of riverine influxes and sedimentary denitrification in the MAB. However, detailed spatiotemporal analysis of nitrogen fluxes highlights the importance of dispersed inflows of shallow to intermediate depth waters (0–75 m), which can at times exceed the deep nitrogen influx emphasized in previous studies. A seasonal analysis shows a pronounced shift from the net import of nitrogen to the GoM/GB region during late fall and winter, to the net export of nitrogen from the region in the spring and early summer. The MAB, in contrast, consistently exports nitrogen to offshore waters. The prominence of the 0-75m nitrogen supply has implications for the roles of Labrador Slope Water and Atlantic Temperate Slope Water on the NEUS ecosystems, as Atlantic Temperate Slope Water has greater nitrate concentrations than Labrador Slope Water at depth but often less at the surface. Results suggest the need for further study of shallow to intermediate depth inflows beyond those from the Scotian Shelf, particularly during the fall/winter of net nitrogen inflow.

Impacts of Mesoscale Eddies on the Vertical Nitrate Flux in the Gulf Stream Region

Project: A high-resolution physical-biological study of the Northeast U.S. shelf: past variability and future change
Year: 2018

Author(s): Zhang, S., E.N. Curchitser, D. Kang, C.A. Stock and R. Dussin


Project PI: Curchister
DOI: http:// https://doi.org/10.1002/2017JC013402

The Gulf Stream (GS) region has intense mesoscale variability that can affect the supply of nutrients to the euphotic zone (Zeu). In this study, a recently developed high-resolution coupled physical-biological model is used to conduct a 25-year simulation in the Northwest Atlantic. The Reynolds decomposition method is applied to quantify the nitrate budget and shows that the mesoscale variability is important to the vertical nitrate supply over the GS region. The decomposition, however, cannot isolate eddy effects from those arising from other mesoscale phenomena. This limitation is addressed by analyzing a large sample of eddies detected and tracked from the 25-year simulation. The eddy composite structures indicate that positive nitrate anomalies within Zeu exist in both cyclonic eddies (CEs) and anticyclonic eddies (ACEs) over the GS region, and are even more pronounced in the ACEs. Our analysis further indicates that positive nitrate anomalies mostly originate from enhanced vertical advective flux rather than vertical turbulent diffusion. The eddy-wind interaction-induced Ekman pumping is very likely the mechanism driving the enhanced vertical motions and vertical nitrate transport within ACEs. This study suggests that the ACEs in GS region may play an important role in modulating the oceanic biogeochemical properties by fueling local biomass production through the persistent supply of nitrate.

Preparing ocean governance for species on the move

Project: Climate velocity over the 21st century and its implications for fisheries management in the Northeast U.S.
Year: 2018

Author(s): Pinsky, M.L., Reygondeau, G., Caddell, R., Palacios-Abrantes, J., Spijkers, J. & Cheung, W.W.L.


Project PI: Pinsky
DOI: http://doi.org/10.1126/science.aat2360

The ocean is a critical source of nutrition for billions of people, with potential to yield further food, profits, and employment in the future (1). But fisheries face a serious new challenge as climate change drives the ocean to conditions not experienced historically. Local, national, regional, and international fisheries are substantially underprepared for geographic shifts in marine animals driven by climate change over the coming decades. Fish and other animals have already shifted into new territory at a rate averaging 70 km per decade (2), and these shifts are expected to continue or accelerate (3). We show here that many species will likely shift across national and other political boundaries in the coming decades, creating the potential for conflict over newly shared resources.

Projecting shifts in thermal habitat for 686 species on the North American continental shelf

Project: Climate velocity over the 21st century and its implications for fisheries management in the Northeast U.S.
Year: 2018

Author(s): Morley, J. W., Selden, R. L., Latour, R. J., Frölicher, T. L., Seagraves, R. J., & Pinsky, M. L. (


Project PI: Pinsky
DOI: http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0196127

Recent shifts in the geographic distribution of marine species have been linked to shifts in preferred thermal habitats. These shifts in distribution have already posed challenges for living marine resource management, and there is a strong need for projections of how species might be impacted by future changes in ocean temperatures during the 21st century. We modeled thermal habitat for 686 marine species in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans using long-term ecological survey data from the North American continental shelves. These habitat models were coupled to output from sixteen general circulation models that were run under high (RCP 8.5) and low (RCP 2.6) future greenhouse gas emission scenarios over the 21st century to produce 32 possible future outcomes for each species. The models generally agreed on the magnitude and direction of future shifts for some species (448 or 429 under RCP 8.5 and RCP 2.6, respectively), but strongly disagreed for other species (116 or 120 respectively). This allowed us to identify species with more or less robust predictions. Future shifts in species distributions were generally poleward and followed the coastline, but also varied among regions and species. Species from the U.S. and Canadian west coast including the Gulf of Alaska had the highest projected magnitude shifts in distribution, and many species shifted more than 1000 km under the high greenhouse gas emissions scenario. Following a strong mitigation scenario consistent with the Paris Agreement would likely produce substantially smaller shifts and less disruption to marine management efforts. Our projections offer an important tool for identifying species, fisheries, and management efforts that are particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts.

Shifting Perceptions Of Rapid Temperature Changes’ Effects On Marine Fisheries, 1945-2017

Project: Predicting social impacts of climate change in fisheries
Year: 2019

Author(s): McClenachan L, M Marra, N Record, J Grabowski, B Neal, SB Scyphers.


Project PI: Scyphers
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/faf.12400

Climate-driven warming has both social and ecological effects on marine fisheries. While recent changes due to anthropogenic global warming have been documented, similar basin-wide changes have occurred in the past due to natural temperature fluctuations. Here, we document the effects of rapidly changing water temperatures along the United States’ east coast using observations from fisheries newspapers during a warming phase (1945–1951) and subsequent cooling phase (1952–1960) of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, which we compared to similar recent observations of warming waters (1998–2017). Historical warming and cooling events affected the abundance of species targeted by fishing, the prevalence of novel and invasive species, and physical access to targeted species. Fishing communities viewed historical cooling waters twice as negatively as they did warming waters (72% vs. 35% of observations). Colder waters were associated with a decrease in fishing opportunity due to storminess, while warming waters were associated with the potential for new fisheries. In contrast, recent warming waters were viewed as strongly negative by fishing communities (72% of observations), associated with disease, reductions in abundances of target species, and shifts in distributions across jurisdictional lines. This increasing perception that warming negatively affects local fisheries may be due to an overall reduction of opportunity in fisheries over the past half century, an awareness of the relative severity of warming today, larger changes in American culture, or a combination of these factors. Negative perceptions of recent warming waters’ effects on fisheries suggest that fishing communities are currently finding the prospect of climate adaptation difficult.

Challenges To Natural And Human Communities From Surprising Ocean Temperatures

Project: Climate velocity over the 21st century and its implications for fisheries management in the Northeast U.S.
Year: 2019

Author(s): Pershing, A. J., N. R. Record, B. S. Franklin, B. T. Kennedy, L. McClenachan, K. E. Mills, J. D. Scott, A. C. Thomas, and N. H. Wolff.


Project PI: Mills
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1901084116

The community of species, human institutions, and human activities at a given location have been shaped by historical conditions (both mean and variability) at that location. Anthropogenic climate change is now adding strong trends on top of existing natural variability. These trends elevate the frequency of “surprises”—conditions that are unexpected based on recent history. Here, we show that the frequency of surprising ocean temperatures has increased even faster than expected based on recent temperature trends. Using a simple model of human adaptation, we show that these surprises will increasingly challenge natural modes of adaptation that rely on historical experience. We also show that warming rates are likely to shift natural communities toward generalist species, reducing their productivity and diversity. Our work demonstrates increasing benefits for individuals and institutions from betting that trends will continue, but this strategy represents a radical shift that will be difficult for many to make.

Decadal Changes In The Productivity Of New England Fish Populations

Project: Robust harvest strategies for responding to climate‐induced changes in fish productivity
Year: 2019

Author(s): Tableau, A., J.S. Collie, R. Bell, and C. Minto


Project PI: Collie
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1139/cjfas-2018-0255

The Northwest Atlantic continental shelf is a large ecosystem undergoing rapid environmental changes, which are expected to modify the productivity of natural marine resources. Current management of most fished species assumes stationary production relationships or time-invariant recruitment rates. With linear state-space models, we examined the evidence of dynamic productivity for 25 stocks of the Northeast US shelf. We expanded the suite of options available within the state-space approach to produce robust estimates. Fifteen of the stocks exhibited time-varying productivity or changes in their maximum reproductive rate. Few productivity time series are related across the whole region, though adjacent stocks of the same species exhibited similar trends. Some links to region-wide environmental variables were observed. We demonstrate that fish recruitment can often be better predicted over a short-term horizon by accounting for dynamic productivity, which could be valuable for fisheries management. Improving predictions by incorporating environmental covariates or covariance among the stocks must be considered case by case and with caution, as their relationships may change over time.

Future Ocean Observations To Connect Climate, Fisheries And Marine Ecosystems, Frontiers In Marine Science

Project: From physics to fisheries: A social-ecological management strategy evaluation for the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem
Year: 2019

Author(s): J. Schmidt, S. Bograd, H. Arrizabalaga, et al.


Project PI: Jacox
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2019.00550

Advances in ocean observing technologies and modeling provide the capacity to revolutionize the management of living marine resources. While traditional fisheries management approaches like single-species stock assessments are still common, a global effort is underway to adopt ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM) approaches. These approaches consider changes in the physical environment and interactions between ecosystem elements, including human uses, holistically. For example, integrated ecosystem assessments aim to synthesize a suite of observations (physical, biological, socioeconomic) and modeling platforms [ocean circulation models, ecological models, short-term forecasts, management strategy evaluations (MSEs)] to assess the current status and recent and future trends of ecosystem components. This information provides guidance for better management strategies. A common thread in EBFM approaches is the need for high-quality observations of ocean conditions, at scales that resolve critical physical-biological processes and are timely for management needs. Here we explore options for a future observing system that meets the needs of EBFM by (i) identifying observing needs for different user groups, (ii) reviewing relevant datasets and existing technologies, (iii) showcasing regional case studies, and (iv) recommending observational approaches required to implement EBFM. We recommend linking ocean observing within the context of Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) and other regional ocean observing efforts with fisheries observations, new forecasting methods, and capacity development, in a comprehensive ocean observing framework.

Observational Needs Supporting Marine Ecosystem Modeling And Forecasting: From The Global Ocean To Regional And Coastal Systems

Project: From physics to fisheries: A social-ecological management strategy evaluation for the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem
Year: 2019

Author(s): Capotondi, A, MG Jacox, et al


Project PI: Jacox
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2019.00623

Many coastal areas host rich marine ecosystems and are also centers of economic activities, including fishing, shipping and recreation. Due to the socioeconomic and ecological importance of these areas, predicting relevant indicators of the ecosystem state on sub-seasonal to interannual timescales is gaining increasing attention. Depending on the application, forecasts may be sought for variables and indicators spanning physics (e.g., sea level, temperature, currents), chemistry (e.g., nutrients, oxygen, pH), and biology (from viruses to top predators). Many components of the marine ecosystem are known to be influenced by leading modes of climate variability, which provide a physical basis for predictability. However, prediction capabilities remain limited by the lack of a clear understanding of the physical and biological processes involved, as well as by insufficient observations for forecast initialization and verification. The situation is further complicated by the influence of climate change on ocean conditions along coastal areas, including sea level rise, increased stratification, and shoaling of oxygen minimum zones. Observations are thus vital to all aspects of marine forecasting: statistical and/or dynamical model development, forecast initialization, and forecast validation, each of which has different observational requirements, which may be also specific to the study region. Here, we use examples from United States (U.S.) coastal applications to identify and describe the key requirements for an observational network that is needed to facilitate improved process understanding, as well as for sustaining operational ecosystem forecasting. We also describe new holistic observational approaches, e.g., approaches based on acoustics, inspired by Tara Oceans or by landscape ecology, which have the potential to support and expand ecosystem modeling and forecasting activities by bridging global and local observations.

Biogeochemical Drivers Of Changing Hypoxia In The California Current Ecosystem

Project: From physics to fisheries: A social-ecological management strategy evaluation for the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem
Year: 2019

Author(s): Dussin, R, EN Curchitser, CA Stock, N Van Ooostende


Project PI: Jacox
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dsr2.2019.05.013

Recent observations have revealed significant fluctuations in near-shore hypoxia in the California Current Ecosystem (CCE). These fluctuations have been linked to changes in the biogeochemical properties (e.g. oxygen and nutrient contents) of the oceanic source waters of the California Current upwelling, and projections suggest the potential for decreased oxygen and increased nutrients in the source water under climate change. We examine both the separate and combined influences of these projected changes through a sequence of perturbation experiments using a regional coupled ocean dynamics/biogeochemistry (BGC) model of the CCE. The direct effect of a projected 5% decline in source water oxygen is to expand the hypoxic area by 12.5% in winter to 22.5% in summer. This exceeds the impact of a +0.5% nitrate enrichment of source waters, which expands the hypoxic area by 6.5% to 12% via stimulation of nearshore Net Primary Productivity (NPP), increased organic matter export, and subsequent enhanced remineralization and dissolved oxygen (DO) consumption at depth. The combined effect of these perturbations consistently surpasses the sum of the individual impacts, leading to 20% to 32% more hypoxic area. The combined biogeochemical impact greatly exceeds the response resulting from a 10% strengthening in upwelling-favorable winds (+1% in hypoxic area) or the decreased oxygen solubility associated with a 2◦C ocean warming (+3%). These results emphasize the importance of improved constraints on dynamic biogeochemical changes projected along the boundaries of shelf ecosystems. While such changes are often viewed as secondary impacts of climate change relative to local warming or stratification changes, they may prove dominant drivers of coastal ecosystem change.



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A look back at 2014: NOAA Climate Program Office articulates roadmap for future progress in climate science

  • 12 January 2015
A look back at 2014: NOAA Climate Program Office articulates roadmap for future progress in climate science

In 2014, NOAA’s Climate Program Office, led by Director Wayne Higgins, went through the process of rearticulating its mission, vision, and unique value through the development of the CPO Strategic Plan. The office also made major progress on an Implementation Plan that provides a roadmap to achieving important outcomes in climate science.

These accomplishments were just one of the highlights of a productive year for NOAA CPO, which continued to make advances in climate observation, research, modeling, and decision support activities for society. We also moved forward with global observations, advanced modeling and prediction capabilities, coastal resilience, drought monitoring and decision-support services, and so many other activities that will help people, businesses and ecosystems thrive in the face of climate and its impacts.

 

Observing the Climate System

NOAA joins with Princeton and other institutions in six-year study to help public better understand Southern Ocean

Princeton University, NOAA and eight other partner institutions now seek to make the Southern Ocean better known scientifically and publicly through a $21 million program that will create a biogeochemical and physical portrait of the ocean using hundreds of robotic floats deployed around Antarctica and an expanded computational capacity. The Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modeling program, or SOCCOM, is a six-year initiative headquartered at Princeton and funded by the National Science Foundation’s Division of Polar Programs, with additional support from the NOAA and NASA. The U.S. Argo program will play a major role in the project.

Deep Argo floats deployed in Pacific

In mid-June, the Research Vessel Tangaroa, operated by New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, set off from Wellington, New Zealand, for the Deep Argo Development cruise. The primary objectives of the cruise were (1) to deploy two prototype Deep Argo (6,000 meter plus) floats and (2) undertake deep (~5500m) CTD casts for sensor testing and development.  In addition, 6 SOLO2 Argo (2,000 meter) floats were deployed in transit, finally, to make a "virtual field trip" for school uptake. The SOLO2 floats and the Deep Argo floats were provided by Scripps Institution of Oceanography as part of NOAA’s Argo Program.

Advancing our Understanding of the Climate System

Developing the Next-Generation CFS

NOAA’s Climate program Office continued to move forward with advancing modeling and prediction capabilities. Along with the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), the office co-organized a topical collection of papers presented at a 2012 workshop held to evaluate progress in Climate Forecast System version 2 (CFSv2) performance.  CFSv2 is a couple global climate model used to simulate intraseasonal-to-interannual climate variability. CPO sponsored research significantly contributed to the development of CFSv2. This collection of papers should provide insight for the development of the next generation CFS.

Researchers offer new insights into predicting future droughts in California

A report from the NOAA Drought Task Force, organized by the Modeling, Analysis, and Predictions, and projections (MAPP) Program of NOAA’s Climate Program Office, contributed to a growing field of science-climate attribution--where teams of scientists aim to identify the sources of observed climate and weather patterns. According to the study, natural oceanic and atmospheric patterns are the primary drivers behind California's ongoing drought. Further studies on these oceanic conditions and their effect on California's climate may lead to advances in drought early warning that can help water managers and major industries better prepare for lengthy dry spells in the future.

Understanding aerosol processes using measurements collected from field campaigns

A paper published in the Journal for Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics quantified the performance of the Weather Research and Forecasting regional model with chemistry (WRF-Chem) in simulating the spatial and temporal variations in aerosol mass, composition, and size over California using the extensive meteorological, trace gas, and aerosol measurements collected during the California Nexus of Air Quality and Climate Experiment (CalNex) and the Carbonaceous Aerosol and Radiative Effects Study (CARES) conducted during May and June of 2010. The scientists concluded that the combined CalNex and CARES data sets are an ideal test bed that can be used to evaluate aerosol models in great detail and develop improved treatments for aerosol processes.

Informing Society

President signs NIDIS Reauthorization Act

NOAA’s Climate Program Office played major roles in flagship climate programs, including the reauthorization of the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS). On March 6, President Barack Obama signed the National Integrated Drought Information System Reauthorization Act into law in order to ensure that the federal government can provide timely, effective drought warning forecasts and vital support to communities that are vulnerable to drought. States, cities, towns, farmers, and businesses rely on tools and data from the National Integrated Drought Information System to make informed decisions about water use, crop planting, wildfire response, and other critical areas.  

CPO Supports Major Assessment Reports Released in 2014

CPO’s funded scientists, projects, and program managers contributed to several major assessment reports released over the past year. Among these, the Arctic Research Program in the NOAA Climate Program Office supported the 2014 Arctic Report Card. The latest update confirmed that Arctic air temperatures continue to rise at more than twice the rate of the planet as a whole. Earlier in the year, NOAA and the American Meteorological Society released the 2013 State of the Climate report. The report, a 24-year tradition encompassing the work of 425 authors from 57 countries, uses dozens of climate indicators to track patterns, changes, and trends of the global climate system. Scientific research funded by CPO was also foundational to advancing the 2014 Third National Climate Assessment Report and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports.

Climate.gov wins two Webby Awards and a People’s Voice Award

With 12,000 entries from all 50 US states and 60 plus countries and two millions votes in the Webby People’s Voice Awards, the 18th Annual Webby Awards was the biggest yet. NOAA Climate.gov was selected by the International Academy of the Digital Arts & Sciences to receive two Webby Awards in the "Government" and "Green" categories.  The cross-agency team of world-class scientists, data visualizers, web developers, and science writers also garnered a People's Voice Award in the "Green" category (placing second overall in the "Government" category).

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