In order to fully understand the world’s oceans a new program called The Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) has just been launched. The program will span 25-years and be responsible for managing a networked set of 100s of sensor instruments that will sit in the ocean, take measurements, send data back to a massive data infrastructure, and make data-sets and reports available to oceanographers, scientists, educators, and the public on a very broad scale. In short, it is a Hubble Telescope for observing the world’s oceans.

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The goal of the OOI is “to provide 25-30 years of sustained ocean measurements to study climate variability, ocean circulation and ecosystem dynamics, air-sea exchange, seafloor processes, and plate-scale geodynamics. The OOI will enable powerful new scientific approaches for exploring the complexities of Earth-ocean-atmosphere interactions, thereby accelerating progress toward the goal of understanding, predicting, and managing our ocean environment.” It is hoped that the OOI can foster new discoveries in oceanic research into unforeseen directions and serve researchers, policymakers and the public.

Of course, exploring the ocean presents certain challenges as we cannot live in it or even visit for long and satellite exploration is limited. Thus the OOI network, which can communicate instantly with scientists on land was conceived. Moreover, advanced ocean research and sensor tools now allow remotely operated and autonomous vehicles to go deeper and perform longer than submarines. Underwater samplers do in minutes what used to take hours in a lab.

With all these advances, it is hoped that the OOI will improve the rate and scale of ocean data collection and provide information on how we can best live in harmony with the world’s oceans.

+ Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI)

via VMWare Blog