Robert S. Pickart
Department of Physical Oceanography
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Ph. D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 1987 (Physical Oceanography)
Primary production in the Chukchi Sea, north of the Bering Strait, has increased dramatically over the past few decades. This is due in part to the decline in summertime sea ice cover in the Pacific sector of the Arctic Ocean, allowing more sunlight to penetrate the open water. Perhaps more striking is the fact that multi-year ice has been replaced by relatively thin first-year ice that is subject to ponding earlier in the season when nutrients are more prevalent on the shelf. In this talk, the physical processes that lead to phytoplankton blooms in the Chukchi Sea are discussed using a combination of in-situ data, atmospheric re-analysis fields, and idealized modeling. It is shown how recent changes in sea ice and wind forcing can lead to enhanced primary production that may become even more pronounced as the climate continues to warm.
Robert Pickart is a senior scientist in the Physical Oceanography Department at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. His research focuses on high latitude processes, including air-sea interaction, deep convection, and shelf-basin exchange. He does fieldwork in both the Atlantic and Pacific sectors of the Arctic Ocean using a variety of techniques. Over the years he has led dozens of research expeditions, often with an outreach component for school children and the lay public.