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Images: Scientists Gear Up to Launch Ocean Observing Networks

The Ocean Observatory Initiative would provide $309 million for new ocean observing systems and infrastructure. For instance, researchers are planning instrument arrays that combine surface and sub-surface bouys, moorings, gliders, drifters, and shipboard measurements that can monitor many complementary ocean processes. (Illustration by Jack Cook, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Image courtesy of the OceanSITES program.)

Through OOI, researchers from dozens of institutions will construct and share a multi-disciplinary network that includes cabled seafloor instruments, robotic vehicles, satellites, aircraft, research vessels, shore-based radars, instrumented buoys, drifters and gliders, and meteorological towers. Permanent or "endurance" observatories would be established for years-long observations from one region, while "pioneer" arrays could be set up for temporary campaigns and then moved to other regions. (Courtesy of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography)

An underwater microscope and a telescope: Established in 2000 by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the Martha's Vineyard Coastal Observatory includes an underwater node in which scientists can plug in instruments to study key coastal phenomena. It is cabled to a shore-based lab that also has mast with meteorological instruments. To date, studies have examined the exchange of heat and water between the ocean and atmosphere; how ocean properties affect blooms of ocean plants and animals; how military mines are covered and uncovered by sediment transport; and how bubbles and turbulence affect the propagation of sonar and other sound signals. (Jayne Doucette, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)