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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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VOICES of NANOOS Celebrating 20 Years of Collaboration & Innovation

NANOOS has served the citizenry of the Pacific Northwest by integrating ocean observing assets, data management systems, and models to yield information products that diverse coastal communities use to ensure safety, to build economic resilience, and to increase understanding of the coastal ocean.

Reflecting on the history of NANOOS, we wanted to tell the story through all the people who make up NANOOS — partners and folks who use our products. Listen to their voices.

17 Aug 2023

Ocean Acidification: Co-designing data connections to underserved communities for equitable outcomes

A global collaborative team advances momentum around science-based innovative solutions related to global ocean action within the United Nation's sustainable development goals.

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27 Jul 2022

The Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON) program for Ocean Acidification Research and Sustainability (OARS) raises local voices, especially those of indigenous, small island, and developing states that depend on ocean-based economies for survival. Now over 900 scientists from 100 nations are co-designing activities for adaptation and response strategies on local scales to advance United Nations sustainability goals.
More: www.goa-on.org/oars/overview.php

Backyard Buoys: Equipping Underserved Communities with Ocean Intelligence Platforms

Backyard Buoys is a new community-led project funded by the National Science Foundation's Convergence Accelerator program. This critical initiative empowers Indigenous coastal communities to collect and use ocean data to bolster maritime activities, food security, and coastal hazard protection. Oceanographic buoys deployed in Alaska, the Pacific Islands, and along the Washington coast, will provide accessible and actionable ocean data that bridges to Indigenous knowledge via a web-based application. Post-deployment, a sustainable and Indigenous community-led stewardship program will oversee management of the buoys.

15 Jun 2022

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2000-present and while at APL-UW

Seasonal ocean forecasts to improve predictions of Dungeness crab catch rates, co-developed with state and tribal fishery managers

Norton, E.L., and 11 others including J. Newton, "Seasonal ocean forecasts to improve predictions of Dungeness crab catch rates, co-developed with state and tribal fishery managers," ICES J. Mar. Sci., fsad010, doi:10.1093/icesjms/fsad010, 2023.

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11 Feb 2023

The commercial Dungeness crab (Metacarcinus magister) fishery in Oregon and Washington (USA) is one of the most valuable fisheries in the region, but it experiences high interannual variability. These fluctuations have been attributed to environmental drivers on seasonal and annual timescales. In this study, researchers and state and tribal fisheries managers develop a statistical model for Dungeness crab catch per unit effort (CPUE) to help inform dynamic management decisions in Oregon and Washington. Fishing observations were matched to seasonally forecast and lagged ocean conditions from J-SCOPE, a regional forecast system. Inclusion of dynamic and lagged ocean conditions improved model skill compared to simpler models, and the best model captured intraseasonal trends and interannual variability in catch rates, and spatial catch patterns. We also found that model skill relied on fishing behaviour, which varies interannually, highlighting the need for advanced fishing behaviour modelling to reduce uncertainty. The relationships between catch rates and ocean conditions may help elucidate environmental influences of catch variability. Forecast products were co-designed with managers to meet their needs for key decision points. Our results illustrate a seasonal forecasting approach for management of other highly productive, but also dynamic, invertebrates that increasingly contribute to global fisheries yield.

Large and transient positive temperature anomalies in Washington's coastal nearshore waters during the 2013–2015 Northeast Pacific marine heatwave

Koehlinger, J.A., J. Newton, J. Mickett, L. Thompson, and T. Klinger, "Large and transient positive temperature anomalies in Washington's coastal nearshore waters during the 2013–2015 Northeast Pacific marine heatwave," Plos One, 18, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0280646, 2023.

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1 Feb 2023

The northern portion of Washington's outer coast — known locally as the Olympic coast — is a dynamic region characterized by seasonal upwelling that predominates during summer interrupted by occasional periods of downwelling. We examined spring-to-fall water temperature records collected along this coast from 2001–2015 from April to October at four nearshore locations (Cape Elizabeth to Makah Bay) that span one degree of latitude and are located within 15 km of the shore. When compared against a long-term climatology created for 2001–2013, seven-day smoothed temperature anomalies of up to 4.5°C at 40 m depth during 2014 and 2015 show short-term warm events lasting 10–20 days. These periods of warming occurred within the well documented marine heatwave in the Northeast Pacific and were about twice the seasonal temperature range in the climatology at that depth. These warm events were strongly correlated with periods of northward long-shore winds and upper ocean currents, consistent with what is expected for the response to downwelling-favorable winds. While our focus a priori was on 2014 and 2015, we also found large positive temperature events in 2013, which were potentially related to the early stage of the marine heatwave, and in 2011, which did not have a documented marine heatwave. This indicates that near-shore short-term warm events occur during periods of large-scale offshore marine heatwave events, but also can occur in the absence of a large-scale marine heatwave event when downwelling-favorable winds occur during the summer/early fall.

Unifying biological field observations to detect and compare ocean acidification impacts across marine species and ecosystems: What to monitor and why

Widdicombe, S., K. Isensee, Y. Artioli, J.D. Gaitan-Espitia, C. Hauri, J.A. Newton, M. Wells, and S. Dupont, "Unifying biological field observations to detect and compare ocean acidification impacts across marine species and ecosystems: What to monitor and why," Ocean Sci., 19, 101-119, doi:10.5194/os-19-101-2023, 2023.

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25 Jan 2023

Approximately one-quarter of the CO2 emitted to the atmosphere annually from human activities is absorbed by the ocean, resulting in a reduction of seawater pH and shifts in seawater carbonate chemistry. This multi-decadal process, termed "anthropogenic ocean acidification" (OA), has been shown to have detrimental impacts on marine ecosystems. Recent years have seen a globally coordinated effort to measure the changes in seawater chemistry caused by OA, with best practices now available for these measurements. In contrast to these substantial advances in observing physicochemical changes due to OA, quantifying their biological consequences remains challenging, especially from in situ observations under real-world conditions. Results from 2 decades of controlled laboratory experiments on OA have given insight into the likely processes and mechanisms by which elevated CO2 levels affect biological process, but the manifestation of these process across a plethora of natural situations has yet to be fully explored. This challenge requires us to identify a set of fundamental biological and ecological indicators that are (i) relevant across all marine ecosystems, (ii) have a strongly demonstrated link to OA, and (iii) have implications for ocean health and the provision of ecosystem services with impacts on local marine management strategies and economies. This paper draws on the understanding of biological impacts provided by the wealth of previous experiments, as well as the findings of recent meta-analyses, to propose five broad classes of biological indicators that, when coupled with environmental observations including carbonate chemistry, would allow the rate and severity of biological change in response to OA to be observed and compared. These broad indicators are applicable to different ecological systems, and the methods for data analysis suggested here would allow researchers to combine biological response data across regional and global scales by correlating rates of biological change with the rate of change in carbonate chemistry parameters. Moreover, a method using laboratory observation to design an optimal observing strategy (frequency and duration) and observe meaningful biological rates of change highlights the factors that need to be considered when applying our proposed observation strategy. This innovative observing methodology allows inclusion of a wide diversity of marine ecosystems in regional and global assessments and has the potential to increase the contribution of OA observations from countries with developing OA science capacity.

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In The News

UW Experts Offer Hot Takes on El Niño, Weather and Ocean Temperatures

UW News

FIve UW researchers comment on the current El Niño, its effect on weather in the Pacific Northwest, as well as on regional and global ocean temperature trends.

25 Oct 2023

An ocean heat wave comes to Pacific Northwest shores

KUOW-FM (radio), John Ryan

Water temperatures in much of the world hit record highs this year but northwest coastal waters bucked that trend until the past few weeks. A heat wave that stayed far out in the Pacific Ocean has come ashore.

1 Aug 2023

Northwest waters buck global heating trend (for now)

KUOW, John Ryan

The seas of the world have been warming for decades as atmospheric pollution traps more heat both in the air and underwater. Much of the U.S. West Coast is bucking the global trend this spring, with sea water staying cooler than its 30-year average.

5 May 2023

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