Ocean

Ocean Ecology

Ocean Ecology conducts research on ocean ecosystems and the interactions between Earth's chemical cycles and life. The laboratory also manages “ocean color” data from NASA satellite sensors. Sediment, dissolved chemicals, and marine microorganisms called phytoplankton affect the colors of sunlight reflected off the ocean, providing a way to monitor ocean ecosystems from orbit.

The staff works to ensure the accuracy of ocean-color data and make it available to users across the world. Scientists use the data to study fundamental issues such as the global distribution of phytoplankton, the storage of carbon in the ocean, and the role of the oceans in climate change. Personnel also participate in research cruises in collaboration with other researchers funded by NASA and assist NASA Headquarters in developing future earth-observing missions.

Field Campaigns

The Aerosol Characterization from Polarimeter and Lidar (ACEPOL) airborne field campaign. The 2017 ACEPOL field campaign is a resource for remote sensing communities as they prepare for the next generation of spaceborne multi-angle polarimeter and lidar missions.

The seventh and final cruise for the project entitled "Impacts of Climate Variability on Primary Production and Carbon Distributions in the Middle Atlantic Bight and Gulf of Maine" (CLiVEC) was carried out on board the R/V Henry Bigelow from August 7-24, 2012. CLiVEC is a joint research project with researchers from Old Dominion University (ODU) and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Instruments

Greater radiometric accuracy, decreased size and costs, plus the need for multidisciplinary research are all technology-forcing challenges to be addressed by the next generation of optical instruments. To develop a commercially successful marine spectroradiometer, the device must also appeal to the majority of investigators working in this field. This requirement led to the development of a so-called smart photodetector or microradiometer, plus its ancillary interface modules.

Organizations:

Development of field radiometers for satellite calibration and validation.

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Space Missions

Aquarius

Aquarius is a focused satellite mission to measure global Sea Surface Salinity (SSS). Scientific progress is limited because conventional in situ SSS sampling is too sparse to give the global view of salinity variability that only a satellite can provide. Aquarius will resolve missing physical processes that link the water cycle, the climate, and the ocean.

+ Visit the Aquarius web site

SeaWiFS

The purpose of the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS; 1997-2010) Project is to provide quantitative data on global ocean bio-optical properties to the Earth science community. Subtle changes in ocean color signify various types and quantities of marine phytoplankton (microscopic marine plants), the knowledge of which has both scientific and practical applications. The SeaWiFS Project will develop and operate a research data system that will process, calibrate, validate, archive and distribute data received from an Earth-orbiting ocean color sensor.