The Next Wave

The Ocean Observatory Initiative would provide $309 million for new ocean observing systems and infrastructure.

Oceanography is on the verge of a revolution. Instead of sporadic, expeditionary glimpses of the ocean from ships and subs, oceanographers would like to establish a permanent presence in the ocean. Like the engineers who crafted the Interstate Highway System, researchers have been planning an infrastructure of long-term ocean-observing outposts that can transmit round-the-clock data from remote oceans to shore-based scientists. The National Science Foundation's Ocean Observatory Initiative would provide $309 million for new ocean observing systems and infrastructure over the next 10 years. 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 E. Paul Oberlander and Jack Cook, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (Image courtesy of the OceanSITES program))

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