Current Research Highlights

From the TASK II Atmospheric Chemistry Project:
The marine ecosystem has very little effect on sea spray aerosol (SSA). While SSA is a major component of the aerosol mass over the ocean it is generally a minor component of the total aerosol number. SSA therefore has a strong effect on aerosol light scattering over the ocean but a minor effect on the cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) population. Although small SSA (<180 nm dry diameter) are comprised of organic compounds, their ability to act as CCN is very similar to sea salt. Consequently SSA in climate models can be treated as NaCl.

Previous Research Highlights

A major study coauthored by JISAO’s Sarah Doherty in 2016 quantified the global impact of black carbon on the climate. The surprising result is that black carbon appears to be the second most important anthropogenic cause of global warming. This recent work featuring data from a remote location should provide additional insights into this under-recognized, but very important constituent of the atmosphere.

Much of the skill in seasonal weather prediction relies on proper specification of the state of El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in the tropical Pacific. This has been accomplished in large part during the past couple of decades through the deployment of an array of moored buoys. New methods are becoming available to collect the observations necessary to adequately monitor air-sea exchanges in the tropics. In particular, NOAA and JISAO scientists are leading a new project to determine the feasibility of using autonomous sailing vessels developed by Saildrone, Inc. for this purpose. These small but rugged wind-powered craft are being outfitted with a full suite of sensors to estimate the winds and exchanges of heat and carbon dioxide. This technology promises to provide considerable cost savings that are so important in these times of shrinking budgets, and this project is carrying out the testing required before it becomes operational.

Types of Research

  1. Atmospheric research including Arctic circulation and climate variability
  2. Air-sea interaction
  3. Carbon cycle
  4. Aerosol
  5. Land-surface hydrology

Affiliated Programs

  1. NOAA/PMEL Carbon Program
  2. NOAA/PMEL Atmospheric Chemistry Group
  3. Office of the Washington State Climatologist

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