Scientific Program

The Scientific Steering Committee of U.S. GLOBEC has prepared a longŠterm program to address these scientific objectives (Table 1, Table 2). This document focuses on the next ten years. Field process studies at several sites in the world ocean are planned for intensive activity in the next ten years-several are in advanced planning stages (the California Current System, and the Southern Ocean) and one (the Northwest Atlantic) has already begun. All emphasize the advancement of coupled biological-physical modeling in the sea, and the analysis of underutilized historical data resources that oceanographers, climatologists and fisheries scientists have collected over the last century. The integration of these historical data into the contemporary regional and global scale data collection efforts of U.S. GLOBEC investigators (as well as those from other programs) is considered to be critical. Further, U.S. GLOBEC is committed to the intercomparison of the results of coupled biological-physical investigations among the several sites where U.S. GLOBEC process studies occur. It is anticipated that this intercomparison endeavor will be extended to regions other than those where U.S. GLOBEC data collection efforts are focused, and both the modeling and historical data analysis activities will include a strong comparative perspective. Integrated instrument systems which meet the needs of coupled biological-physical measurement programs are crucial elements of all U.S. GLOBEC field studies. Design of field studies in U.S. GLOBEC will consider the special data requirements that coupled biophysical models demand.

Eventually, the data and scientific insights which arise from this 10-year study will ground the ecosystem monitoring program needed to predict variability in living marine resources. Accurate near-term forecasting of several important ecosystem properties (e.g., stratification, chlorophyll concentration, perhaps zooplankton biomass) in the sea is feasible and can become an integrated component of operational monitoring. The need is clear-e.g., commercial fishing interests routinely request information on the location of fronts to direct their fishing effort. Moreover, with such a system, decisions about harvesting policy for living marine resources will be better informed, perhaps to the benefit of both the marine resources and the industries dependent upon them. Our vision is that a program of limited ecological prediction-analogous to early efforts at weather forecasting-is feasible, but demands the advances in knowledge and methodology that we anticipate achieving in U.S. GLOBEC. It can only be accomplished through the coupled use of operational biophysical models, supplemented by the judicious injection of standard monitoring data appropriately assimilated into the models.