National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2011

In situ sustained Eulerian observatories

Lampitt, R.S., P. Favali, C.R. Barnes, M.J. Church, M.F. Cronin, K.L. Hill, Y. Kaneda, D.M. Karl, A.H. Knap, M.J. McPhaden, K.A. Nittis, I.G. Priede, J.-F. Rolin, U. Send, C.-C. Teng, T.W. Trull, and D.W.R. Wallace

doi: 10.5270/OceanObs09.pp.27, In Proceedings of the "OceanObs'09: Sustained Ocean Observations and Information for Society" Conference (Vol. 1), Venice, Italy, 21–25 September 2009, Hall, J., D.E. Harrison, and D. Stammer, Eds., ESA Publication WPP-306 (2010)

In order to gain a better understanding of the interactions of processes and properties of the earth system and how these are changing with time, it is essential that there is a sustained stream of high quality data on the marine environment. This must extend from its surface to the underlying seabed and use a matrix of interlinked platform types, each with specific advantages. Included in this matrix is the global array of fixed point or Eulerian observatories which have several unique capabilities. These include the ability to collect samples (water, biota and particles), to support sensors which have a high demand for space or power, to make observations in locations beyond the reach of satellites, gliders and floats and to observe and sample the seafloor. Considerable progress has been made in the operability of these observatories over the past decade and some, such as the Global Tropical Moored Buoy Array, make physical and meteorological observations that are well integrated. There has been considerable progress in sensor development, platform design, and in the principles and protocols required for data management. There is however a significant requirement now to interlink observations on biogeochemistry within the global Eulerian array and between Eulerian observatories and the other observing systems in the matrix. Large scale computational models closely coupled to the various observational approaches are required for much of this work and this challenge is being addressed by a number of groups. For this to be achieved there must be a change in mind-set of many of the funding organisations so that the financial resources are sustained. This is essential in order to prevent breakage of data streams and loss of the skill base of staff at the end of every funding round. There are examples of this change in approach in the USA (OOI) and in Canada (NEPTUNE) but elsewhere in the world, short term funding is usually the normal mechanism which is expected to address long term environmental questions of major societal relevance.

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