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MBARI ocean observing systems (MOOS)

Equatorial Pacific moorings
Lead Scientist/Project Manager: Francisco Chavez

The ocean boundaries are sites of increased biological productivity relative to the gyres. Recent calculations suggest that the equatorial regions may be important contributors to the global carbon and nitrogen cycles as a result of increased supply of inorganic carbon and nitrogen to the surface. Considering that these boundary regions are important to global carbon and nitrogen cycles, it is clear that global budgets need improved estimates of the nutrient supply, exchange of carbon dioxide between ocean and atmosphere, and primary productivity in these areas. Equally important, the regulation of variability needs to be understood to provide a mechanistic explanation of the climate/marine chemistry/productivity feedback loop. Time series measurements of physical and meteorological properties, which resolve the important scales of variability, are currently being taken in the equatorial Pacific, but until recently there were no parallel time series of biological and chemical parameters. This proposal describes a program for studying the spectrum of biological and chemical variability in the equatorial Pacific. The study is designed to obtain continuous time series of biological and chemical properties on a time scale that is equivalent to measurements of currents, local winds and temperature structure. The program is linked to an existing physical oceanographic study headed by Dr. Michael McPhaden of the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) of NOAA.