Program Update: Ocean Observatories Initiative – June 2012
The Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) in June continued outreach activities by participating in the 2012 Commercial Marine Expo to meet with representatives of the fishing community and provide information on the Pioneer Array component of the program that will operate off the New England Coast.
The Marine Expo, held June 13-14 in New Bedford, Massachusetts, provided an opportunity for the program team to share OOI progress and information to fishermen, marine educators, marine industry sales representatives and other members of the local community. The OOI team was represented by scientists involved with the program from the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
Glen Gawarkiewicz, a WHOI Senior Scientist of Physical Oceanography, said during the event the team was able to display some interesting early science results from recent at-sea mooring tests and also demonstrate OOI’s commitment to conducting outreach with all stakeholders in the community. The event, attended by thousands of participants and visitors, also gave the community the opportunity to provide OOI with feedback on the program from their perspective.
Gawarkiewicz noted that several members of the fishing community are interested in the data the OOI will provide. The OOI will put real-time ocean observing data in the hands of a vast user community, including oceanographers, scientists, educators, fishermen and the public. Anyone with an Internet connection will be able to access OOI data.
Recently, at the suggestion of some fishermen who are members of the Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation, Gawarkiewicz and some other scientists from WHOI initiated a study to investigate some unusual currents and warm temperatures at the edge of the continental shelf south of New England. Information provided by fishing contacts enabled Gawarkiewicz and the other scientists to examine the conditions that might have led to those circumstances. A small brochure detailing the results of that study was made available at the Marine Expo. The OOI Pioneer Array will help scientists study the changing conditions over the continental shelf and slope and to learn more about the impacts of unusual weather patterns and the Gulf Stream.
The Pioneer Array will provide a more detailed, three-dimensional view of key biophysical interactions at the shelf break using a flexible, multiplatform array combining moored and mobile assets with high spatial and temporal resolution. With its initial location south of Cape Cod, the Pioneer Array will be embedded within an established regional observing system that will provide additional benefits and opportunities for coordination.
The Pioneer Array is part of the OOI Coastal Global Scale Nodes component being developed and constructed by WHOI, Oregon State University and Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Click here to read more about the recent Pioneer Array At Sea Test and here to see detailed Pioneer Array Instrument Tables.
Heading into July, the OOI team has been preparing for the next major milestone in construction of the program’s Regional Scale Nodes (RSN) cabled network component. The OOI team starting on July 9 will install the RSN primary nodes, the seven main connection points on the network for power and communications.
The OOI regional cabled observatory, located in the northeast Pacific Ocean, will establish an interactive network of ocean observing sensors, instruments and moorings connected by a total of 900 kilometers (~ 560 miles) of electro-optical cable. The OOI team is scheduled to begin installing the first node on July 9 and based on good weather and successful testing results will complete installation of the last node on August 16. A Notice to Mariners has been issued to notify all marine users of the upcoming operations off the coast of Oregon. The University of Washington (UW) is leading the design and construction of the OOI RSN cabled component.