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Comment period closed August 26, 2014.

Under the NASA ROSES 2012 A.3 Ocean Biology and Biogeochemistry program element, NASA advertised for scoping studies to identify the scientific questions and develop the initial study design and implementation concept for a new NASA Ocean Biology and Biogeochemistry field campaign or related team project (scale on par with ICESCAPE, SO GasEx, etc.).

This is the community review page for EXPORTS:  EXport Processes in the Ocean from RemoTe Sensing.

What is EXPORTS?

EXPORTS is a scoping study for a major NASA field campaign to quantify the state of the ocean biological pump from satellite observations. The mechanistic understanding gained through EXPORTS will inform predictions of how future changes in the biological pump will alter the global carbon cycle.

The underlying hypothesis is that carbon export can be predicted knowing the state of the biological pump as defined by the characteristics of the surface ocean plankton ecosystem. This builds on recent advances in satellite remote sensing as well as improvements in field research capabilities and the predictive skills of
numerical models.

Three 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 biological pump?

Why is EXPORTS important?

A predictive knowledge of the biological pump is important for many societally relevant applications including predicting anthropogenic carbon storage, deoxygenation and acidification of the ocean’s interior. Central to EXPORTS is the development of a predictive understanding of the vertical downward transport and attenuation of fixed carbon from the euphotic zone into the ocean interior. A critical missing piece of information is the predictive understanding of the interactions between planktonic ecosystem characteristics and the functioning of the ocean’s biological pump. This is the overarching goal of the EXPORTS program and is central to the rationale for NASA’s upcoming Pre-Aerosol, Clouds and Ecosystems (PACE) mission. Coupling new observational capabilities with numerical models and field work will enable us to move from a local to global predictive understanding of how various planktonic food webs influence the strength and efficiency of the downward movement of material from the surface ocean to depth.

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)

General Timeline

The final EXPORTS science and implementation plan has been submitted to NASA for a formal comment period (60d). The comments will be given to a NASA peer review panel for consideration, and with NASA Headquarters will determine whether the Strategic Science Plan is ready for Implementation.  If selected, EXPORTS will have a Science Definition Team call in 2015 to define and write the Implementation Plan with NASA Headquarters.  If the program proceeds, NASA would have a competed EXPORTS ROSES program element by 2016, with fieldwork commencing 2017. 

Community input is needed!

NASA is looking for feedback to improve the strategic plan under consideration including feedback on the science questions, approaches, measurements, missing components, international and domestic partners, etc.

Comment period closed August 26, 2014.

Thank you for your interest and help in this endeavor -
The EXPORTS Writing Team and Paula Bontempi and Kathy Tedesco, NASA Headquarters