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          The cycling of carbon on the U.S. east coast continental shelf and upper slope has been studied for 30 years in a number of multidisciplinary oceanographic research programs. The results of these programs provided the basis for a research initiative that is funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Earth Science Enterprise Earth Observing System Interdisciplinary Science (IDS) Program. The overall goal of this IDS program is the development of carbon budgets for the Mid-Atlantic Bight (MAB) and South Atlantic Bight (SAB) along the eastern U.S. coast. The primary research questions being addressed are focused on understanding how carbon is introduced into the eastern U.S. continental shelf environment, how it is transformed and transported while resident on the shelf, and its ultimate fate. The IDS research team consists of CCPO scientists, EILEEN HOFMANN and MARJORIE FRIEDRICHS; Chuck McClain, Sergio Signorini, and Antonio Mannino from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; John Wilkin, Katja Fennel, Sybil Seitzinger, and Dale Haidvogel from Rutgers University; Ray Najjar and David Pollard from Pennsylvania State University; Cindy Lee from Stony Brook University; Jay O'Reilly from the NOAA/NMFS Narragansett Laboratory; and Jim Yoder from the University of Rhode Island. The first meeting of the IDS team was held at CCPO on 24-26 May 2004.

          To address the project research questions, the IDS team is developing and implementing circulation, biogeochemistry, and carbon cycling models for the MAB and SAB. Data assimilation is an integral part of the model development. The goal is to provide fully coupled ecosystem-carbon-circulation models for the MAB and SAB. Along with the modeling activities, there is an extensive analysis effort focused on historical in situ and satellite-derived data sets, as well as satellite data that are now being acquired, such as ocean color measurements. The project also includes a limited field measurement effort that is designed to provide observations that are critical to the models, such as dissolved organic carbon fluxes from Chesapeake Bay onto the adjacent continental shelf.

          The first IDS team meeting was spent discussing food web and carbon processes representative of the MAB and SAB to be included in the Rutgers/UCLA Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS), which is the modeling framework being used in this project. Other discussions were focused on determining needed data products and approaches for calculating primary production from simulated and satellite-derived chlorophyll fields. Initial efforts in this research program are directed at reprocessing the available ocean color data sets for the MAB and SAB so that space and time distributions of chlorophyll, particulate organic carbon, and primary production can be produced. These data products will be used with the coupled ecosystem-circulation models and will be compared with particulate organic carbon, dissolved organic carbon, and chlorophyll data sets that are available for the MAB and SAB. The IDS team members returned home with a daunting list of tasks to complete before the next meeting in October. However, the general feeling was that we are well started on an exciting and interesting research project.

CCPO Circulation, Vol. 11, No. 2, p. 4, Summer 2004.

Last updated 08/19/2005.
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