Theme A - Climate and Coastal Observations, Analysis, and Prediction Research

The primary goals for this research theme are to understand the remote forcing functions that control fundamental ocean and atmosphere processes and to utilize this knowledge for prediction. For JIMO the basis of interest is primarily the Pacific, although other areas may be studied as a model or to put the Pacific information in context (e.g., Indian, Arctic). These thrust areas include the following:

Ocean observations will utilize many of the in-place observation systems such as the TAO/TRITON array, drifters, floats, and satellite remote sensing to provide information for models on climate prediction at the ENSO to decadal space and time scales. Defining the ocean’s role in governing the climate necessitates the expansion of large-scale, long-term field observation and modeling efforts begun over the past few years in the Pacific to the global system. A networking of these programs in the University California to NOAA research projects is essential to the success of the effort. Deep ocean circulation constitutes another emphasis of this theme area that stresses the fundamental processes governing geochemical pathways. Deep ocean characterization, including deep-water formation and tracking that uses state-of-the-art floats, moorings, as well as unique observations and monitoring techniques, such as chemical or geochemical tracers for signature analysis. In addition, proxy data is used in providing the past climate variability.

Climate prediction and modeling is concerned with the development and evaluation of a wide range of climate models. Of interest are global atmospheric models, regional atmospheric models, global and basin ocean models, land surface models concerned with surface hydrology and fire danger. JIMO goal is to eventually develop coupled atmosphere, ocean and land models that provide greater predictability than is possible with current uncoupled models of these processes. Defining the limits of predictability for these systems requires extensive computational resources and collaborations with NOAA centers that are engaged in similar research efforts.

Coastal ocean assessment and forecasting seeks to measure and define the basic processes in the near shore ocean (eddies, upwelling, currents), and atmosphere (fog, inversions, UV). Research is required to characterize the feedbacks between the coastal ocean and atmosphere and to assess the historical variability. The ultimate goal is to be able to perform short term predictive modeling for such areas as natural hazards (oil spill), navigation and commercial recreation and the recruitment of pelagic stocks. Considerations must be given to mesoscale to small scale processes and temporal scales of hours to decadal. The 70-year, daily SIO pier data and shore stations measurements, in situ moorings, stationary platforms, as well as aircraft and other remote sensing observations will be used to generate the necessary scientific data.

Atmosphere and ocean/atmosphere exchange will continue and strengthen research of mutual interest to SIO and NOAA scientists. These studies include: "teleconnections" and other large-scale meteorological phenomena; air-sea physical and chemical exchange processes; and, global distributions and trends of climate-forcing due to anthropogenic and biogenic atmospheric trace gases and aerosols.

Biogeochemical cycles need to be further defined for their implications for global climate change. These include ocean, atmospheric and terrestrial components of the carbon cycle, oxygen cycle, UV chemistry, and trace metals among others. In addition, proxy data such as ice cores will be used to measure a wide array of paleo-climatologically important physical and chemical parameters such as the CO2 content and isotopic composition of air recovered from bubbles trapped within the ice.