What's New at NOAA Research
  • Spotlight on Women's History Month
  • Research Highlights, including new research on the Southern Ocean
  • People of NOAA, including exciting new leadership at the Air Resources Lab
  • News from the cooperative institutes, including major melting of an Antarctic ice sheet
  • Upcoming March events and trainings
Communications Director's Note
Hello OAR colleagues:

Are you excited for spring? I am! After being cooped up in the house with the kids this winter 24/7, I am looking forward to the warmer and longer days. I plan on participating in the NOAA Fitness Challenge March 15-April 15. My goal is to walk every day as part of the walking challenge and there are also fitness, running and cycling challenges. Getting outside or exercising helps with creativity so I encourage everyone to pick your favorite activity and go for it! Who is with me?

March is also the month at NOAA where we recognize the contributions of women in NOAA (more on that below). I’d like to give a shout out to a special woman who has played such an important role in my life - my mom. Besides being a great role model and friend, her 36 years spent as a high school teacher instilled in me the importance of public service and a passion for education. She also took the time to nurture my love of the outdoors. No surprise then that I ended up pursuing a public service career in communicating how science can make our lives better. Thank you mom and thank you to all the #WomenofNOAA who work every day to make our lives better!

Best, Murph

Photo caption: Murph & mom, Joshua Tree National Park, March 1985
Spotlight: Women's History Month
March is Women's History Month, a time to recognize and celebrate the vital role women have played in American history - and in NOAA's history!

This year, OAR is continuing our tradition of highlighting the groundbreaking work of our female scientists and staff members through our #womenofNOAA campaign on social media and on research.noaa.gov. Please look out for our campaign beginning March 8 (which is International Women's Day) by following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

In the meantime, check out our other scientist profiles to see Women's History Month highlights from previous years (including our interview with NOAA Great Lakes scientist Reagan Errera, shown in the photo above!)
Research Highlights
Is the Southern Ocean absorbing or emitting carbon dioxide?
The global ocean is a critical natural carbon sink. Now, new research is highlighting the carbon absorption abilities of the Southern Ocean, which surrounds Antarctica. Data collected on a robotic Saildrone's epic voyage circumnavigating Antarctica is raising questions about whether the Southern Ocean is absorbing or emitting carbon dioxide.⁣⁣
Scientists and oyster growers are working together on ocean acidification
Increased ocean acidity hampers the growth and survival of oysters and other shellfish by eating away at their shells - the same way carbonated sodas corrode the enamel of our teeth. Now, scientists, oyster growers and restoration specialists are working together to study just how vulnerable oysters in the Chesapeake Bay are to ocean acidification.
Emissions of a banned ozone-depleting gas are on the decline
Five years after an unexpected spike in emissions of the banned ozone-depleting chemical chlorofluorocarbon CFC-11, emissions dropped sharply between 2018 and 2019, new analyses of global air measurements show. The findings show that efforts to address violations of the Montreal Protocol are working.
Last plane takes off from the South Pole research station
The image to the right is the last flight out from the South Pole research station until the end of the year. With the takeoff of this World War II-era DC-3 transport on February 16, South Pole scientists are on their own for the next 9 months. See how the challenges of 2020 impacted South Pole scientists in our Instagram post, and learn more about NOAA's South Pole Observatory.
Scientists head to sea to research red tide blooms
In February, scientists headed out to sea on the R/V Walton Smith to sample areas where red tide blooms are commonly present off the west Florida coast. Karenia brevis, the organism that causes red tide, produces toxins called brevetoxins that can cause massive fish kills, weaken or kill marine mammals, and cause respiratory distress.
Important step in seasonal tornado forecasts
Researchers at NOAA's 's Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Lab have made a small but important step in seasonal tornado forecasting. It's a model named SPOTer (Seasonal Probabilistic Outlook for Tornadoes) that shows promise in predicting active seasons 1-2 months in advance. Learn more about the model, which was highlighted in a recent study.
People of NOAA Research
Congratulations to LaToya Myles!
LaToya Myles, Ph.D., was recently promoted to the Director of the Atmospheric Turbulence and Diffusion Division (ATDD) of NOAA’s Air Resources Laboratory. LaToya is also the first woman and the first Black person to serve as the Director of ATDD in the office’s 73-year history. The vision that she brings to ATDD is one of interdisciplinary collaboration and robust communication.
Celebrating Black History Month with Evan B. Forde
Oceanographer Evan B. Forde has had a remarkable career at NOAA.⁣ Forde started working at NOAA AOML in 1973, and in 1979 became the first African American scientist to conduct research dives aboard a deep-sea submersible, and has been active in the lab and the community since then. Learn more about Forde's long career from AOML, and check out his spotlight from the Department of Commerce.
Welcome new Global Ocean Monitoring and Observation Program (GOMO) employees!
Ann-Christine Zinkann joined NOAA in 2020 as a Sea Grant Knauss Fellow supporting GOMO's ocean observing goals in the UN Decade, World Meteorological Organization and more. In her new role as an International Ocean Science Program Specialist she will be working on the All-Atlantic Observing System; Global Ocean Observing System Observations Coordination Group; U.N. Decade; and GOMO Data Strategy.
Cheyenne Stienbarger also joined NOAA in 2020 as a Sea Grant Knauss Fellow working to support GOMO's Tropical Pacific Observing System (TPOS) 2020 Project and extreme events activities. In her new role as a program manager, Cheyenne continues to support TPOS, coordinates the advancement of GOMO’s activities focused on ocean observing under extreme events, and more.
Welcome Dr. Fiona Horsfall to OAR!
Welcome Dr. Fiona Horsfall to OAR as the new Director of the Office of Research, Transition and Application! Fiona joins OAR from the National Weather Service, where she served as Chief of the Climate Services Branch and oversaw the NWS Climate Services Program for field offices nationwide for delivery of climate services to the American public. Fiona received her BS in Ocean Engineering from Florida Atlantic University and her Ph.D. from the Division of Meteorology and Physical Oceanography, University of Miami.
Cooperative Institute Highlights
Research shows extreme melt on Antarctica’s George VI Ice Shelf
Antarctica’s northern George VI Ice Shelf experienced record melting during the 2019-2020 summer season, a Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES)-led study found. The extreme melt coincided with record-setting stretches when local air temperatures were at or above the freezing point.
Winter snow and ice blast turns Texas white
Texas was hit with a blast of winter weather in February. The Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA) captured this satellite view of the snow and ice-covered state on February 16. See more satellite loops on CIRA's website.
New study tackles Lake Erie's "dead zone"
A recent study led by scientists at NOAA's Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research (CIGLR) found that nutrients released from lake-bottom sediment worsen the annual "dead zone" (a region of low to no oxygen) in Lake Erie and could intensify as climate warms. Learn more about the study from this University of Michigan press release (with quotes from CIGLR authors).
Upcoming Events
March 30 & 31: The 2021 Virtual CFO/CAO Management and Budget Conference
L·A·N·T·E·R·N is a professional development program to promote employee growth, networking and collaboration. Its goals are to:
  • Build an agile and highly skilled workforce
  • Facilitate cross-office interactions and functional experiences
  • Broaden employees’ understanding of NOAA’s mission and goals
Check out available opportunities and apply through the USAJobs Open Opportunity platform, and find out more about L·A·N·T·E·R·N.
Request for Projects - 2021 OAR Cloud Technology Incubator
  • The NOAA Weather Program Office (WPO) is soliciting proposals for OAR cloud-hosted incubator and infrastructure projects with funding for FY21. Proposals are due March 30, 2021. Get more info from WPO.
In the News
The New York Times covered the NOAA study that found China’s emissions of an ozone-depleting gas are back on the decline

Speaking of the New York Times, NOAA made the crossword puzzle in February!

The Scientific American commemorated the remarkable career of atmospheric chemist and meteorologist Paul Crutzen, who spent part of his career at NOAA.
Social Media Post of the Month
In honor of Black History Month, the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) and Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies took a look back at what the weather was like during pivotal moments in the Civil Rights Movement - including the day Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man.

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