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The North Atlantic Aerosols and Marine Ecosystems Study (NAAMES) was a 5-year study employing ship, aircraft, float and drifter, and satellite observations across the annual plankton cycle to resolve these important processes in the North Atlantic Ocean. +View the New ASDC NAAMES ArcGIS StoryMap Feature
Drifters that Float and Floats that Sink
A snapshot of scientific floats in the North Atlantic Ocean.
Credit: Biogeochemical Argo.
Each year the world's largest phytoplankton bloom in the North Atlantic goes through distinct phases. In Fall, the plankton are declining after the summer climax. And there are many factors, such as sunlight, water depth, available nutrients and carbon, that control it. Understanding those processes enables more accurate forecasting of this bloom, and others, for ocean management and assessing ecosystem change.
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Credit: Welch Mechanical Designs
This drawing shows the layout of the three remote sensing instruments mounted in the 55-inch, downward-facing, portal of the NASA Wallops Flight Facility C-130. The forward direction of flight is indicated by the white arrow. The 55-inch portal is a unique attribute of this C-130 flying laboratory, which enables NAAMES to characterize the ocean and atmosphere with unprecedented resolution via these state-of-the-art sensors: the NASA LaRC High-Spectral Resolution Lidar (HSRL), the NASA GSFC GEO-CAPE Airborne Simulator (GCAS), and the NASA GISS Research Scanning Polarimeter (RSP).
The NAAMES study area in the North Atlantic captures both the seasonal variability as well as the meridional gradient of phytoplankton productivity as shown in the figure above, where the ship cruise track in red is superimposed over a map of the ocean chlorophyll concentration. It is this wide range in both temporal and spatial ecosystem variability that makes the North Atlantic an ideal place to study how changes in ocean ecosystems affect the annual phytoplankton cycle as well as the sea-air exchange of aerosols and trace gases that may influence clouds and climate.
The North Atlantic Aerosols and Marine Ecosystems Study (NAAMES) is a five year investigation to resolve key processes controlling ocean system function, their influences on atmospheric aerosols and clouds and their implications for climate.
Observations obtained during four, targeted ship and aircraft measurement campaigns, combined with the continuous satellite and in situ ocean sensor records, will enable improved predictive capabilities of Earth system processes and will inform ocean management and assessment of ecosystem change.