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Program Activity

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Ecosystem Change Research Program

At FRSG/FORSGC Annual Symposium 2002 held in March, two presentations were made from our Program: Followed by the Overall Introduction of this year's activity by Program Director Dr. Yasuoka, one of our researchers, Dr. Ito made his presentation on the role of plants and soils in the global carbon cycle. In addition, Drs. Tadokoro, Ono, and Chiba gave a poster presentation to report the recent marine ecosystem change in the North Pacific. Since biology/ecology is the theme familiar and interesting to general public, we have very positive feedback from the audience, as shown in the questionnaire.

Soon after in April, our researchers Drs. Komori and Kubo have transferred to Hokkaido National Fisheries Research Institute and Hokkaido University respectively. We are feeling a bit lonely as our already very small group has shrunk to only 6 members.

In order to understand the various studies conducted at Ecosystem Change Research Program, it is important to know that living organisms will not always act passively to the environmental change, but the change of the living organisms will affect the global environment. For example, absorption capacity in the atmospheric CO 2 by the ocean will be affected by the role of plankton. On the other hand, the fact that compared to physical/chemical processes, there still exist a lot of uncertainties in the biological/ecological processes, makes prediction of glob-al environmental change. Therefore, even though our Program has a few members, we still have a lot to research. 

Integrated Modeling Research Program


For the prediction and research of the mid- to long-term climate change, it is inevitable to improve the performance of the ocean model. Especially, it is necessary to develop a high-resolution ocean model in order to resolve meso-scale eddies, which are well known to play significant role in the transport of heat and other substances in the ocean.

The ocean model group in our program is developing a high-performance parallel general ocean circulation code, UMI-1. Its computational speed has reached 3.5 TFLOPS on the Earth Simulator using 1024 CPUs (c.f. abstract of Parallel Computational Fluid Dynamic Conference 2002). In addition, we must also improve physical parameterizations to cope with these high-resolution models.

One of the most essential issues about it is on the parameterization of the bottom topographic effect, which directly controls the intensity of the large-scale meridional circulation. Our group has improved the "Bottom Boundary Layer Scheme" in the ocean model to reproduce the realistic entrainment on the continental sloop and obtained several new findings.

Furthermore, for the improvement of physical parameterization, a data assimilation method is also effective. We are preparing to estimate physical coefficients in the some parameterizations using optimization theory.

The IPRC hosted a workshop on Air Pollution, April 29-May 3, 2002. This event was followed May 17-18 by the Second Annual IPRC Symposium.

As for our researches, S. Xie (IPRC) and H. Hashizume (JPL) have described the first-ever measurements of the effects of tropical instability waves (TIWs) on the atmosphere. They showed that over the cold meanders associated with the TIWs, the atmosphere is colder and vertical mixing is suppressed, resulting in stronger wind shear and weaker surface winds.

N. Maximenko (IPRC) and P. Niiler (Scripps) have developed a 1/4 degrees spatial resolution map of the mean sea level in the Kuroshio Extension region, using drifter data and the sea level anomaly from satellite altimetry data. X. Fu, B. Wang, T. Li, and J. McCreary (IPRC) have studied the predictability of the rainy and dry spells during the monsoon's travel across Asia, which are closely tied to the north-ward propagating intraseasonal oscillation. They suggested that rainy spells are predictable from sea surface temperature in the Indian Ocean.

International Arctic Research Center (IARC)

On 18th March, IARC Workshop was held at Yokohama Institute for Earth Sciences. Dr. Motoyoshi Ikeda, IARC Program Director, and Dr.Noriyuki Tanaka, IARC Multi Disciplinary Group's Leader, served as conveyors. Participants were researchers from Frontier Research System for Global Change, Frontier Observation Research System for Global Change, Geophysical Institute of University of Alaska, Japan Marine Science and Technology Center, National Institute of Polar Research, Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, and Institute of Low Temperature Science of Hokkaido University.

32 oral and 8 poster presentations were made. The Workshop consisted of six main sessions, namely, climate variability, atmospheric process and interaction with land and sea ice, ocean-ice physics and dynamics, poster sessions, and ocean-ice bio-geochemistry. 

Very lively cross-cutting discussions among various fields of atmosphere, ocean, sea-ice, land physics, chemistry, and biology were conducted throughout the day. Researchers from IARC Frontier, and FORSGC made presentations on their research results, and exchanged ideas and opinions with the domestic polar research groups.

In May, a new researcher, Dr. Michiyo Yamamoto joined the FORSGC IARC Multi Disciplinary Group from Graduate School of Environmental Earth Science of Hokkaido University.

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