EXPORTS Science Plan

Welcome to the community review page for EXPORTS:
EXport Processes in the Ocean from RemoTe Sensing.

What is EXPORTS?: It is a scoping study for a major NASA field campaign.

Who is involved?
EXPORTS Writing team: Mike Behrenfeld (OSU), Claudia Benitez-Nelson (USoCar), Emmanuel Boss (Umaine), Mark Brzezinski (UCSB), Ken Buesseler (WHOI), Adrian Burd (UGA), Craig Carlson (UCSB), Eric D’Asaro (UW), Scott Doney (WHOI), Mary Jane Perry (Umaine), Dave Siegel (UCSB), Rachel Stanley (WHOI), Deb Steinberg (VIMS)

Goal: Predict the export & fate of ocean NPP from satellite & other observations
Hypothesis: Fate of ocean NPP is regulated by the state of the surface ecosystem

Next Steps : Final EXPORTS Science plan has been submitted to NASA HQ. A science definition team will be competed to write the EXPORTS Experimental plan. (visit http://cce.nasa.gov/cce/ocean_exports_call.htm). If approved, timeline has NASA AO's in CY2016 with EXPORTS fieldwork starting in CY2017. Every role in EXPORTS will be competed!!

3 Main Science Questions:
1. How do upper ocean ecosystem characteristics determine the vertical transfer of organic matter from the well-lit surface ocean?
2. What controls the efficiency of vertical transfer of organic matter below the well-lit surface ocean?
3. How can the knowledge gained be used to reduce uncertainties in contemporary & future estimates of the export and fates of NPP?

NASA’s satellite ocean-color data record has revolutionized our understanding of global marine systems by providing synoptic and repeated global observations of phytoplankton stocks and rates of primary production. EXPORTS is designed to advance the utility of NASA ocean color assets to predict how changes in ocean primary production will impact the global carbon cycle. EXPORTS will create a predictive understanding of both the export of organic carbon from the well-lit, upper ocean (or euphotic zone) and its fate in the underlying “twilight zone” (depths of 500 m or more) where a variable fraction of that exported organic carbon is respired back to CO2. Ultimately, it is this deep organic carbon transport and its sequestration that defines the impact of ocean biota on atmospheric CO2 levels and hence climate.

EXPORTS will generate a new, detailed understanding of ocean carbon transport processes and pathways linking phytoplankton primary production within the euphotic zone to the export and fate of produced organic matter in the underlying twilight zone using a combination of field campaigns, remote sensing and numerical modeling. NASA’s upcoming advanced ocean measurement mission, PACE, will be aimed at quantifying carbon cycle processes far beyond today’s ocean color retrievals of phytoplankton pigment concentrations, optical properties and primary production rates. The overarching objective for EXPORTS is to ensure the success of these future satellite mission goals by establishing mechanistic relationships between remotely sensed signals and carbon cycle processes. Through a process-oriented approach, EXPORTS will foster new insights on ocean carbon cycling that will maximize its societal relevance and be a key component in the U.S. investment to understand Earth as an integrated system.

Thank you to all who provided helpful comments and questions during the Town Hall at the Ocean Sciences meeting & for your interest and help in this endeavor -The EXPORTS Writing Team and Paula Bontempi and Kathy Tedesco, NASA Headquarters

Point of Contact:
Paula Bontempi
Program Scientist, Ocean Biology and Biogeochemistry Program
NASA Headquarters
Science Mission Directorate
Earth Science Division, Mail Suite 3V75
300 E St., SW
Washington, D.C. 20546-0001
Telephone: +1 202 358-1508