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Jan Newton

Senior Principal Oceanographer

Affiliate Professor, Oceanography






Dr. Jan Newton is a Senior Principal Oceanographer with the Applied Physics Laboratory of the University of Washington and an affiliate professor with the UW School of Oceanography and the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs, both in the UW College of the Environment. She is the Executive Director of the Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems (NANOOS), the US IOOS Regional Association for the Pacific Northwest. She is a Co-director of the Washington Ocean Acidification Center and the Co-chair of the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network.

Jan is a biological oceanographer who has studied the physical, chemical, and biological dynamics of Puget Sound and coastal Washington, including understanding effects from climate and humans on water properties. Currently she has been working with colleagues at UW and NOAA to assess the status of ocean acidification in our local waters.

Department Affiliation

Ocean Physics


B.S. Biology, Western Washington University, 1981

M.S. Oceanography, University of Washington - Seattle, 1984

Ph.D. Oceanography, University of Washington - Seattle, 1989


Washington Real-time Coastal Moorings (NEMO)

The Northwest Enhanced Moored Observatory (NEMO), which consists of a heavily-instrumented real-time surface mooring (Cha Ba), a real-time subsurface profiling mooring (NEMO-Subsurface) and a Seaglider to collect spatial information, aims to improve our understanding of complex physical, chemical and biological processes on the largely unsampled Washington shelf.

27 Sep 2011

NVS: NANOOS Visualization System

The NANOOS Visualization System (NVS) is your tool for easy access to data. NVS gathers data across a wide range of assets such as buoys, shore stations, and coastal land-based stations. Never before available downloads and visualizations are provided in a consistent format. You can access plots and data for almost all in-situ assets for the previous 30-day period.

2 Nov 2009

NANOOS: Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems

This Pacific Northwest regional association is a partnership of information producers and users allied to manage coastal ocean observing systems for the benefit of stakeholders and the public. NANOOS is creating customized information and tools for Washington, Oregon, and Northern California.

1 Jan 2004

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Environmental Sample Processor: A Sentry for Toxic Algal Blooms off the Washington Coast

An undersea robot that measures harmful algal species has been deployed by APL, UW, and NOAA researchers off the Washington coast near La Push. Algal bloom toxicity data are relayed to shore in near-real time and displayed through the NANOOS visualization system. The Environmental Sample Processor, or ESP, is taking measurements near the Juan de Fuca eddy, which is a known incubation site for toxic blooms that often travel toward coastal beaches, threatening fisheries and human health.

22 Jun 2016

ORCA Tracks the 'Blob'

A 'blob' of very warm surface water developed in the northeastern Pacific Ocean in 2014–2015 and its influence extended to the inland waters of Puget Sound throughout the summer of 2015. The unprecedented conditions were tracked by the ORCA (Oceanic Remote Chemical Analyzer) buoy network — an array of six heavily instrumented moored buoys in the Sound. ORCA data provided constant monitoring of evolving conditions and allowed scientists to warn of possible fish kill events in the oxygen-starved waters of Hood Canal well in advance.

The ORCA network is maintained by a partnership among APL-UW, the UW College of the Environment, and the UW School of Oceanography.

3 Nov 2015

NEMO Deployment off the Washington Coast 2015

NEMO is the Northwest Enhanced Moored Observatory. The two advanced moorings located in water about 100 m deep off the Washington coast and a repeating Seaglider transect over the continental shelf have been collecting atmospheric and oceanographic data for over five years.

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15 Jul 2015

In 2015 pH/CO2 sensors were placed on the moorning line. NOAA and other research teams have been measuring pCO2 and pH at the sea surface, but this is the first placement of sensors at depth in the region. These new data streams will increase the perspective of real time monitoring and inform ongoing research on ocean acidification.

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2000-present and while at APL-UW

Natural and anthropogenic drivers of acidification in large estuaries

Cai, W.-J., and 11 others including J.A. Newton, "Natural and anthropogenic drivers of acidification in large estuaries," Ann. Rev. Mar. Sci., 13, 23-55, doi:10.1146/annurev-marine-010419-011004, 2021.

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1 Jan 2021

Oceanic uptake of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere has changed ocean biogeochemistry and threatened the health of organisms through a process known as ocean acidification (OA). Such large-scale changes affect ecosystem functions and can have impacts on societal uses, fisheries resources, and economies. In many large estuaries, anthropogenic CO2-induced acidification is enhanced by strong stratification, long water residence times, eutrophication, and a weak acid–base buffer capacity. In this article, we review how a variety of processes influence aquatic acid–base properties in estuarine waters, including coastal upwelling, river–ocean mixing, air–water gas exchange, biological production and subsequent aerobic and anaerobic respiration, calcium carbonate (CaCO3) dissolution, and benthic inputs. We emphasize the spatial and temporal dynamics of partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2), pH, and calcium carbonate mineral saturation states. Examples from three large estuaries — Chesapeake Bay, the Salish Sea, and Prince William Sound — are used to illustrate how natural and anthropogenic processes and climate change may manifest differently across estuaries, as well as the biological implications of OA on coastal calcifiers.

Field evaluation of a low-powered, profiling pCO2 system in coastal Washington

Chu, S.N., A.J. Sutton, S.R. Alin, N. Lawrence-Slavas, D. Atamanchuk, J.B. Mycket, J.A. Newton, C. Meinig, S. Stalin, and A. Tengberg, "Field evaluation of a low-powered, profiling pCO2 system in coastal Washington," Limnol. Oceanogr., 18, 280-296, doi:10.1002/lom3.10354, 2020.

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1 Jun 2020

Summertime upwelling of deep, corrosive waters on the continental shelf of the northern California Current System can exacerbate ocean acidification conditions, providing unsuitable environments for development of calcifying organisms and finfish that are important to the local economy. To better understand the carbonate system in this dynamic region, two recently developed technologies were combined with other sensors to obtain high‐frequency carbon profile data from July 2017 to September 2017. The compact, low‐power sensor package was composed of an optical sensor for partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO2 optode, Aanderaa model #4797) integrated onto a wave‐powered PRofiling crAWLER (PRAWLER). The PRAWLER profiled from 3 to 80 m, stopping at fixed depths for varying lengths of time to allow for pCO2 equilibration. pCO2 derived from a regional empirical algorithm was used to correct optode drift using data at 80 m. Near‐surface adjusted optode pCO2 agreed within 6 ± 42 µ atm to surface pCO2 from a nearby Moored Autonomous pCO2 instrument. Throughout the water column, optode pCO2 compared to algorithm pCO2 within -28 ± 66 µ atm. Overall, optode uncertainty was 35–72 µ atm based on root‐mean‐square errors from all comparison data sets. Errors are attributed to optode calibration, adjustment, algorithm uncertainty, and environmental variability between optode and reference data. Improvements for optode performance within this profiling application include using more stable sensing foils, in situ calibration, and pumped flow over the sensing foil. Additionally, the study revealed undersaturated (corrosive) waters with respect to aragonite below 60 m throughout the deployment that reached up to 40 m by mid‐September.

The importance of environmental exposure history in forecasting Dungeness crab megalopae occurrence using J-SCOPE, a high-resolution model for the U.S. Pacific Northwest

Norton, E.L., and 11 others including J. Newton, "The importance of environmental exposure history in forecasting Dungeness crab megalopae occurrence using J-SCOPE, a high-resolution model for the U.S. Pacific Northwest," Front. Mar. Sci., 7, doi:10.3389/fmars.2020.00102, 2020.

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25 Feb 2020

The Dungeness crab (Metacarcinus magister) fishery is one of the highest value fisheries in the US Pacific Northwest, but its catch size fluctuates widely across years. Although the underlying causes of this wide variability are not well understood, the abundance of M. magister megalopae has been linked to recruitment into the adult fishery 4 years later. These pelagic megalopae are exposed to a range of ocean conditions during their dispersal period, which may drive their occurrence patterns. Environmental exposure history has been found to be important for some pelagic organisms, so we hypothesized that inclusion of recent environmental exposure history would improve our ability to predict inter-annual variability in M. magister megalopae occurrence patterns compared to using "in situ" conditions alone. We combined 8 years of local observations of M. magister megalopae and regional simulations of ocean conditions to model megalopae occurrence using a generalized linear model (GLM) framework. The modeled ocean conditions were extracted from JISAO's Seasonal Coastal Ocean Prediction of the Ecosystem (J-SCOPE), a high-resolution coupled physical-biogeochemical model. The analysis included variables from J-SCOPE identified in the literature as important for larval crab occurrence: temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen concentration, nitrate concentration, phytoplankton concentration, pH, aragonite, and calcite saturation state. GLMs were developed with either in situ ocean conditions or environmental exposure histories generated using particle tracking experiments. We found that inclusion of exposure history improved the ability of the GLMs to predict megalopae occurrence 98% of the time. Of the six swimming behaviors used to simulate megalopae dispersal, five behaviors generated GLMs with superior fits to the observations, so a biological ensemble of these models was constructed. When the biological ensemble was used for forecasting, the model showed skill in predicting megalopae occurrence (AUC = 0.94). Our results highlight the importance of including exposure history in larval occurrence modeling and help provide a method for predicting pelagic megalopae occurrence. This work is a step toward developing a forecast product to support management of the fishery.

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In The News

The ocean absorbs billions of tons of carbon every year, and the process is accelerating, study shows

Seattle Times, Evan Bush

Newly published research analyzed more than 100,000 seawater samples worldwide and found the oceans are absorbing about 31 percent of human-caused carbon emissions. It’s “a huge service the oceans are doing,” says a co-author, in Seattle.

14 Mar 2019

Could this tool save Washington's shellfish?

Crosscut, Hannah Weinberger

Researchers at the University of Washington have invented a computer model, LiveOcean, that each day compiles a vast array of ecosystemic data — currents, salinity, temperature, chemical concentrations, organic particles and more — to create a three-dimensional, 72-hour forecast for the undersea weather of the Pacific Northwest.

20 Feb 2019

New UW computer program forecasts underwater conditions

KING 5 News, Alison Morrow

We're used to checking the weather forecast, but now we can also check the forecast underwater in Puget Sound and around the coast.

7 Feb 2019

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