WHOI Led Research Team to Develop System to Predict Changes in Ocean Temps

Atlantic herring (above) have been underharvested two years in a row in the northeast region, potentially due to warming-driven distribution changes. Source: NOAA

WOODS HOLE – A research team led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has received a federal grant to develop a system to predict changes in ocean temperature.

The system will estimate seasonal and year-to-year temperature changes in the Northeast U.S. Shelf, which is seeing some of the highest ocean warming rates in the world and is home to a highly productive and commercially important marine ecosystem.

The Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole and Stony Brook University are also part of the research team.

“Changes in ocean temperature hugely impacts the living organisms in coastal waters,” said Young-Oh Kwon, an associate scientist in WHOI’s Physical Oceanography Department and lead investigator of the new project.

A WHOI team of researchers will tailor the system to meet the needs of NOAA’s NEFSC and evaluate its use for NEFSC’s stock assessments, which help set annual catch limits to prevent overfishing. Current stock assessment forecasts are typically based on fish biology alone.

“An ability to reliably forecast the ocean temperature in coastal waters will benefit everyone in the coastal community, especially the fishing community through a significant improvement of the fisheries stock assessment,” said Kwon.

The federal grant was awarded in partnership from the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service Office of Science and Technology and NOAA Research’s Modeling, Analysis, Predictions, and Projections Program.

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