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NOAA CVP: Regional multi-year prediction for the Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf

The Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem (NES LME) is arguably one of the most oceanographically dynamic marine ecosystems. As such, managing fish stocks that respond to this dynamic environment has become increasingly challenging due to the synergistic impacts of fisheries and climate change. Many fishery stock assessments are single-species models that do not include environmental variables, which may lead to increased retrospective patterns of stock estimates. Incorporating environmental variables into population models for stock assessment and subsequent forecasts could improve model performance and reduce uncertainty in future population size, as there is ample evidence that environmental variability affects fish populations. Improved understanding of the processes affecting the predictability of the physical environment on the NES and better modeling strategies for the region are critical components of climate-ready fisheries management in the region.

Here, we propose to investigate the 1-5 year predictability of physical ocean conditions on the NES and the associated large-scale climate and coastal ocean processes, using a new state-of-the-art, coupled ocean-atmosphere regional model for the NES in combination with statistical analyses of global climate model simulations and observational datasets. In particular, we will investigate how large-scale climate phenomena, such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, North Atlantic Oscillation, Atlantic meridional overturning circulation, and Gulf Stream variability drive physical ocean conditions on the NES, and how the improved understanding of those physical mechanisms and predictability can improve multi-year predictions for the region.

This proposal targets the FY 2020 NOAA Climate Variability and Predictability (CVP) Program solicitation CVP - Climate and Changing Ocean Conditions - Process Research and Modeling to Support the Needs of NOAA Fisheries by proposing to investigate the physical processes linking large-scale climate phenomena with physical conditions on the NES LME, and associated multi-year predictability. Our proposed research will be a valuable contribution to the newly initiated Northeast Climate Integrated Modeling (NCLIM) effort to support the needs of NOAA Fisheries, which is an interdisciplinary community collaboration aimed at developing a modeling framework that integrates across climate, regional, fishery, and human system models to advance research and enable responsive fisheries and marine resource management. Our proposed work is also directly relevant to the long-term climate goal of advancing scientific understanding, monitoring, and prediction of climate and its impacts, to enable effective decisions.

PI: Young-Oh Kwon, Co-PIs: Hyodae Seo, Ke Chen (WHOI), Paula Fratantoni and Vincent Saba (NOAA NEFS), and Mike Alexander (NOAA PSL). Alama Carolina Astillo Trujillo (WHOI/NEFS Postdoc)