Ocean Observatory Initiative Underway
The Ocean Observatory Initiative (OOI) is making strides in the future of ocean exploration. The OOI's networked sensor grid will collect ocean and seafloor data at high sampling rates over years to decades. Researchers will make simultaneous, interdisciplinary measurements to investigate a spectrum of phenomena including episodic, short-lived events (tectonic, volcanic, biological, and meteorological), and more subtle, longer-term changes and emergent phenomena in ocean systems (circulation patterns, climate change, ocean acidity, and ecosystem trends). The OOI is comprised of three levels of ocean observation including coastal, regional and global. The coastal level will focus on creating configurable observing arrays while the regional cabled observational platforms will ‘wire’ a tectonic plate in the Northeast Pacific Ocean with a high speed optical and power grid. The global component will address planetary-scale problems via moored open-ocean buoys linked to shore via satellite. The OOI is a long-term, NSF-funded program 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. Three major Implementing Organizations are responsible for construction and development of the overall program. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and its partners, Oregon State University and Scripps Institution of Oceanography are responsible for the coastal and global moorings and their autonomous vehicles. The University of Washington is responsible for cabled seafloor systems and moorings. The University of California, San Diego, is implementing the cyber-infrastructure component. Rutgers, with its partners University of Maine and Raytheon Mission Operations and Services, is responsible for the education and public engagement software infrastructure. Construction of the observatory is currently underway.