Branch Seminar Series: Paula S. Bontempi

For thirty years, the international ocean research community has made a vast array of discoveries using sustained, global, space-based data that allow estimation of ocean biological and biogeochemical properties. The findings enabled advances in global and regional carbon cycle science, ocean ecology, and helped to define the role of the oceans in Earth’s climate. As our knowledge of the complex relationship between ocean biogeochemistry and global climate expands, new questions have arisen that require ocean color remote sensing data to move beyond chl-a, and provide a wider variety of data products such as particulate organic carbon concentration and particle size distribution. In addition, new, non-ocean color sensors, such as Calipso and Aquarius, may provide these key data and allow estimates of total column atmospheric CO2 concentrations, ocean salinity, and, potentially, surface CO2 concentrations. NASA continues to develop such new observational requirements for its future missions with the goal of achieving a more mechanistic understanding of phytoplankton physiology, habitat health, and carbon fluxes as we move from the laboratory to the global context of Earth’s biosphere.