Scientific Basis for NASA OBB
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Scientific Basis for NASA OBB Mission Planning. Societal Relevance. Science Questions. Observational Requirements. Observational Strategies. Satellite Missions. Emerging Scientific Questions for NASA OBB Program.

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Scientific Basis for NASA OBBMission Planning

Societal Relevance

Science Questions

Observational Requirements

Observational Strategies

Satellite Missions


Emerging Scientific Questions for NASA OBB Program

  • How are ocean ecosystems and the biodiversity they support influenced by climate or environmental variability and change, and how will these changes occur over time?

  • How do carbon and other elements transition between ocean pools and pass through the Earth System, and how do these biogeochemical fluxes impact the ocean and Earth’s climate over time?

  • How (and why) is the diversity and geographical distribution ofcoastal marine habitats changing, and what are theimplications for the well-being of human society?

  • How do hazardsand pollutants impact the hydrography and biology of the coastal zone? How do they affectus,and can wemitigatetheir effects?


Ecosystems & Diversity, Carbon & Biogeochemistry,Habitats & Hazards

  • Relevance:

    • Changes in ocean ecosystem structure, function & distribution on synoptic to climatic time scales

    • Impacts on higher trophic levels (e.g., fish, reptiles, birds, mammals)

  • Science:

    • Ocean biogeography

    • Quantify productivity &its transfer to higher trophic levels

    • Identifying plankton functional groups

  • Benefits to society:

    • Assessing ecosystem health, services

    • Understanding nutrient and carbon sinks/sources

    • Improving human welfare


Ecosystems & diversity, Carbon & Biogeochemistry,Habitats & Hazards

  • Relevance:

    • Impacts and feedbacks of climate changes on biogeochemistry

    • Impacts of humans

  • Science:

    • Ocean carbon pools & fluxes

    • Primary producer biomass

    • Understanding climate controls and the role

    • of ocean biogeochemistry

  • Benefits to society:

    • Assessing/verifying ocean carbon credit trading, mitigation strategies

    • Helping manage climate and adapting to

    • change


Ecosystems & diversity, Carbon & Biogeochemistry,Habitats & Hazards

  • Relevance:

    • Growing human population density and dependence on ocean resources

    • Changing coastal environments

  • Science:

    • Classification of regional marine habitats and coastal landscapes

    • Measuring impacts of land use

    • Understanding climate impacts & controls

    • Sustainable fisheries and coastal ecosystems

    • Assessing red tides and coral reef health

  • Benefits to society:

    • Basis for ecosystem-based management

    • Improving human health, recreation, and commerce


Ecosystems & diversity, Carbon & Biogeochemistry,Habitats & Hazards

  • Relevance:

    • Significant risk to human life and property

    • Protection of natural environments

  • Science:

    • - Acute Hazards:

      • Tsunamis & hurricanes

      • Oil Spills

      • Harmful algal blooms

    • - Chronic Hazards:

      • Ocean warming and sea level rise

      • Ocean acidification

      • Eutrophication

  • Benefits to society:

    • Forecasting of hazards

    • Disaster preparedness/security

    • Mitigation tools


Ecosystems & Diversity, Carbon & Biogeochemistry,Habitats & Hazards

  • Observational requirements:

    • Accurately determine ecosystem biomass

      • Accurate detection of long-term changes

      • Atmospheric correction…

      • Calibration / validation…

      • Separate optically active components

      • CDOM from Chl…

      • Global coverage sampling all biomes

    • Assess biodiversity

      • Phytoplankton functional groups

      • Special phytoplankton species

      • Particle size spectrum

    • Measure ocean productivity

      • NPP rate determinations

      • Physiological status of phytoplankton community

      • Grazing & secondary production

    • Understand the oceanographic setting

      • MLD, incident and in situ light levels, SST, SSS, sea level, vector winds, …


Ecosystems & diversity, Carbon & Biogeochemistry,Habitats & Hazards

  • Observational requirements:

    • Accurate assessment of ocean BGC constituents

      • Accurate detection of long-term changes

      • Atmospheric correction…

      • Calibration / validation...

      • Separate optically active components

      • CDOM from Chl…

      • Measure particle biomass

    • Assess ocean productivity & carbon fluxes

      • Net primary production

      • New & secondary production

      • Physiological status of phytoplankton community

    • Integrate with biogeochemical models

      • Air-sea CO2 fluxes

      • Carbon export by both sinking & physical pumps

      • Shelf carbon exchanges


Ecosystems & diversity, Carbon & Biogeochemistry,Habitats & Hazards

  • Observational requirements:

    • Assess in-water constituents in coastal environments

      • Accurate detection of long-term changes

      • Atmospheric correction…

      • Calibration/sensor characterization...

      • Separate optically active components

      • CDOM from Chl…

      • Develop capabilities for all biomes – globally

    • High temporal resolution

      • Within a day revisit time – tidal phenomena

    • High spatial / spectral resolution

      • Use existing/upcoming technologies (LDCM, …)

      • New high resolution ocean color capability

      • 10 m – 100 km swath - 20 ocean color bands

    • Understand the coastal ocean setting

      • Land-ocean interactions – river outflows

      • Tidal & coastal fronts

    • Couple with in situ observations

      • Ocean observatories

      • Sub-orbital AUV vehicles


Ecosystems & diversity, Carbon & Biogeochemistry,Habitats & Hazards

  • Observational requirements:

    • Respond to acute hazards

      • Instantaneous data dissemination

      • Rapid revisit cycle

      • All weather capabilities –> SAR/UAV’s

    • Assess chronic hazards

      • Accurately measure ecosystem parameters

      • Atmospheric correction…

      • Calibration/sensor characterization...

      • Separate optically active components

      • CDOM from Chl…

    • High temporal resolution

      • Rapid revisit cycle – follow events

      • Use temporary platforms (sub-orbital assets)

    • High spatial resolutions

      • Use existing/upcoming technologies (LDCM, …)

      • New high resolution ocean color capability

      • 10 m – 100 km swath


Science Requirements Lead to Observational Strategies

  • Global Hyperspectral Imaging Radiometer

  • Geostationary Hyperspectral Imaging Radiometer(s)

  • Multi-Spectral High Spatial Resolution Imager

  • Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR)

  • Sub-orbital Survey and Events UAV Suite

  • Variable Fluorescence Lidar

  • Mixed Layer Depth and Illumination Sensor

  • Ocean Particle Profiler and Aerosol Column Distributions


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