Additional Participants

Technician, Programmer

Lei Shi

Organizational Partners

University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth

Rutgers University

Project Period

July 2011-June 2012

Level of Access

Open-Access Report

Grant Number


Submission Date



This research addresses several mechanisms by which freshwater influx might impact the primary production of Calanus finmarchicus in the northern North Atlantic Ocean. Variability in the winter North Atlantic Oscillation index is related to changes in various physical and biological parameters across the entire North Atlantic, but the mechanisms underlying those relationships are not well known. Understanding basin-to-regional connections is important for interpreting patterns of variability observed on both sides of the Atlantic during the core GLOBEC study period (1993-1999) and from earlier observations, and inferring process, whether local or remote, from those observed patterns. The proposed research is focused on: (1) comparing and contrasting the impact of freshwater influx to the eastern and western sides of the North Atlantic, (2) understanding the development and maintenance of a possible three-gyre configuration of Calanus finmarchicus distribution in the North Atlantic, and (3) predicting the projected trends and variations in the North Atlantic Ocean based on IPCC projections for upcoming decades.

This project seeks a synthetic understanding of how basin- and global-scales changes in climate force physical processes that in turn determine local- and regional-scale biological communities, with a particular focus on freshwater forcing of circulation, mixing, and marine ecosystems within the North Atlantic Ocean. It is pan-regional in scope, building upon the successes of the U.S. GLOBEC program in the Western North Atlantic (and its other regions) to address climate variability issues spanning the entire northern North Atlantic Ocean. Its research approaches include: synthesis of datasets across the North Atlantic, multi-scale coupled physical/biological modeling, and comparative regional studies. In all these respects it responds directly to the U.S. GLOBEC Pan-Regional Synthesis Announcement of Opportunity.

Two graduate students will participate in this project. Results will be disseminated by peer-reviewed scientific publications, presentations at national conferences, and to other Pan-Regional GLOBEC investigators. Model output will be made available via the Rutgers OPeNDAP server. The investigators will give public lectures in Schools of Massachusetts, Maine and New Jersey on the importance of NAO and its impact on the regional ecosystem as part of an ongoing K-12 outreach program. The forecast scenarios for the next two decades will increase awareness of Climate Change. Dr. Fei Chai is a New Investigator to the GLOBEC program and will bring considerable expertise from his associations in the Pacific and in the Climate Change communities. Finally, this project sets the stage for post-GLOBEC end-to-end studies in the North Atlantic (e.g., the BASIN program).