JISAO Receives $500,000 Grant from NOAA for Seasonal Ocean Forecast in the Pacific Northwest

October 20, 2017

The Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean (JISAO) at the University of Washington (UW) will lead a collaborative effort with NOAA Research, NOAA Fisheries, and the UW Applied Physics Laboratory to explore seasonal prediction of marine conditions and habitats in the Pacific Northwest.

The three-year grant from NOAA Research’s Modeling, Analysis, Predictions, and Projections (MAPP) Program and the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service Office of Science and Technology will allow researchers to improve an existing ocean forecasting system known as JISAO’s Season Coastal Ocean Prediction of the Ecosystem (J-SCOPE).  J-SCOPE uses modeling and forecasting tools to help state and tribal Dungeness crab managers make critical decisions based on forecasted ocean conditions, such as temperature and oxygen concentrations, up to six months in advance.

The crab fishing industry is the most valuable on the US West Coast, with values ranging from $100 million to $250 million dollars per year. In the Pacific Northwest the states and tribes co-manage this fishery and must make important decisions on seasonal timescales. As a result, there is strong interest in J-SCOPE from local managers to incorporate seasonal predictions in their decisions.  

Augmentations to the J-SCOPE system will allow experimentation with this tool in a decision making framework. For example, J-SCOPE forecasts will be experimented with during the autumn period critical to crab fishery managers. Researchers will also quantify the relationship between local ocean conditions and three decision-oriented metrics from the crab industry including meat quality, variability in the distribution of crab catch and abundance, and the likelihood of summertime hypoxic events in an effort to develop metrics that are actionable and forecast-able within a seasonal timeframe.

Forecasts will be delivered via the existing J-SCOPE application on the NANOOS portal (Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems) in partnership with state and tribal managers on the project’s Advisory Council.

Collaborators on the project include Samantha Siedlecki (University of Connecticut), Nicholas Bond (JISAO), Isaac Kaplan (NOAA NWFSC), Al Hermann (JISAO), Jan Newton (APL), Mike Alexander (NOAA/ESRL), and Simone Alin (NOAA PMEL). As part of this project, the research team will participate in the NOAA MAPP Program’s new Marine Prediction Task Force. The Task Force will allow the researchers to collaborate with other MAPP-funded scientists working on related projects to combine resources and expertise, and rapidly advance project objectives.

NOAA strives to increase the resilience of communities to changing climate and ocean conditions through improved products and services that provide reliable climate-related information. Investing in research to improve seasonal predictions of coastal marine and habitat conditions directly supports NOAA’s mission. 

For more information contact Samantha Siedlecki at samantha.siedlecki@uconn.edu