Ocean Observatories Initiative To Participate in AGU Fall Meeting

The Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) program will participate in the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting in December with a variety of sessions, posters and information sharing opportunities throughout the show.

The AGU Fall Meeting is the largest worldwide conference in the geophysical sciences, attracting nearly 20,000 Earth and space scientists, educators, students and policy makers. AGU will take place from Dec. 5-9 in San Francisco. For more information visit the AGU Fall Meeting 2011 Web site.

Tim Cowles, Vice President & Director of Ocean Observing Programs at the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, will provide an OOI program overview and discuss the need for sustained ocean data for decades. The OOI will deliver high quality data and data products that will address critical science-driven questions and lead to a better understanding and management of the oceans for a 25-year-plus time period.

Presentations also will be offered by the University of Washington’s Regional Scales Nodes (RSN) team on recent work at the Axial Seamount site off the coast of Washington. Axial Seamount, the most robust volcanic system on the Juan de Fuca Ridge, is a future site of the cabled observatory component of the OOI program. Installation of 540 miles of undersea fiber optic cable that will link scientists and others on land to data streaming from the OOI was completed in September.

“It’s exciting to share our progress and plans with the AGU community, especially in the wake of having deployed nearly 900 kilometers of electro-optical cable on the seafloor off Washington and Oregon this past summer,” said John Delaney, Director and Principal Investigator of the RSN component of OOI. “We go live from the deep sea in 2014.”

Delaney and the UW team led the Visions ’11 expedition to survey and assess the ongoing installation of the high-power and high bandwidth regional cabled network. During the cruise the team also streamed live, high-resolution underwater video from the two primary study sites on the cabled network: the Hydrate Ridge gas-hydrate system and the underwater volcano Axial Seamount. That video, taken in support of instrument site verification and mapping surveys, is available on the University of Washington VISIONS ’11 Expedition Website.

Also at AGU, the OOI Education and Public Engagement (EPE) team, led by Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, will be presenting information on enabling near real time data use in undergraduate classrooms.

The OOI EPE team is building a variety of software interfaces and web-based tools that ultimately will allow educators to bring the ocean into their learning environments. Rutgers, in leading the development of educational capabilities for the OOI, will leverage the OOI cyberinfrastructure capabilities by constructing a series of software

and web-based social networking tools to engage a wide range of users including faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, informal science educators and the general public. The software will be designed to provide science educators with a suite of tools allowing them to enhance their graduate and undergraduate education activities and engage the general public using ocean observation data from the OOI. Anyone with an Internet connection will have access to OOI data.

“The OOI Education and Public Engagement team looks forward to sharing news of our progress at the AGU Fall Meeting,” said Scott Glenn, Rutgers Principal Investigator for the EPE Implementing Organization.  “This is a great forum for us to present a poster on our efforts to enable the use of near real time OOI data in undergraduate classrooms when the OOI data starts to flow. We are excited about our progress on development of a suite of infrastructure modules and will provide information on each of those areas. We also look forward to the dialogue with the community attending the show who will ultimately be the future users of these resources, tools and services.”

See the information listed below for more details on the OOI presence at AGU:


Abstract Final ID: OS31B

Date/Time:  Wed., Dec. 7, 8:00 AM – 10:00 AM; Room 3007

Authors: The Ocean Observatories Initiative: Sustained ocean data for decades (Invited) Timothy J. Cowles; John R. Delaney; Scott M. Glenn; John A. Orcutt; Robert A. Weller

Information: The Ocean Observatory Initiative (OOI) of the U.S. National Science Foundation is working to advance the ocean sciences by developing the infrastructure for sustained ocean observations at key coastal and open ocean locations.  Two coastal arrays, four global arrays in the deep ocean, a cabled observatory over the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate, a sophisticated cyberinfrastructure and educational infrastructure comprise the effort.  The initial installations will be completed by 2015, and 25 years of operation will follow.  This paper will provide an overview of the OOI, followed by more detail about the coastal, regional and global components, the science basis for their implementation, and the extended benefit to ocean science and society for its long-term operation.


Abstract Final ID: V11E-2559

Date/Time: Mon., Dec. 5, 8:00 AM; HALLS A-C

Session Type: Poster

Session Title: V11E. Toward an Integrated View of Volcanic and Hydrothermal Processes on the Juan de Fuca Ridge I Posters

Authors: Allison Tremblay Fundis,  Deborah S Kelley, Leslie Reynolds Sautter, Giora Proskurowski, Orest Kawka, John R Delaney

Institutions: 1. School of Oceanography, University of Washington, Seattle, WA; Dept. of Geology and Environmental Geosciences, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC

Abstract Body: Axial Seamount, the most robust volcanic system on the Juan de Fuca Ridge, is a future site of the cabled observatory component of the National Science Foundation’s Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) (see Delaney et al; Proskurowski et al., this meeting). In 2014, high-bandwidth data, high-definition video and digital still imagery will be streamed live from the cable observatory at Axial Seamount via the Internet to researchers, educators, and the public. The real-time data and high-speed communications stream will open new approaches for the onshore public and scientists to experience and engage in sea-going research as it is happening. For the next 7 years, the University of Washington and the OOI will collaboratively support an annual multi-week cruise aboard the research vessel Thomas G. Thompson. These “VISIONS” cruises will include scientific and maintenance operations related to the cabled network, the OOI Regional Scale Nodes (RSN). Leading up to 2014, VISIONS cruises will also be used to engage students, educators, scientists and the public in science focused at Axial Seamount through avenues that will be adaptable for the live data stream via the OOI-RSN cable. Here we describe the education and outreach efforts employed during the VISIONS’11 cruise to Axial Seamount including: 1) a live HD video stream from the seafloor and the ship to onshore scientists, educators, and the public; 2) a pilot program to teach undergraduates from the ship via live and taped broadcasts; 3) utilizing social media from the ship to communicate with scientists, educators, and the public onshore; and 4) providing undergraduate and graduate students onboard immersion into sea-going research. The 2011 eruption at Axial Seamount (see Chadwick et al., this meeting) is a prime example of the potential behind having these effective tools in place to engage the scientific community, students, and the public when the OOI cabled observatory comes online in 2014.


Abstract Final ID: V14C-08

Date/Time: Mon., Dec. 5, 5:45 PM – 6:00 PM, Room 2018

Session Type: Oral

Authors: John R Delaney, Deborah S Kelley, Giora Proskurowski, Allison Tremblay Fundis, Orest Kawka

Institutions:  University of Washington-Oceanography, Seattle, WA

Abstract Body: The NE Pacific Regional Scale Nodes (RSN) component of the NSF Ocean Observatories Initiative is designed to provide unprecedented electrical power and bandwidth to the base and summit of Axial Seamount. The scientific community is engaged in identifying a host of existing and innovative observation and measurement techniques that utilize the high-power and bandwidth infrastructure and its real-time transmission capabilities. The cable, mooring, and sensor arrays will enable the first quantitative documentation of myriad processes leading up to, during, and following a submarine volcanic event. Currently planned RSN instrument arrays will provide important and concurrent spatial and temporal constraints on earthquake activity, melt migration, hydrothermal venting behavior and chemistry, ambient currents, microbial community structure, high-definition (HD) still images and HD video streaming from the vents, and water-column chemistry in the overlying ocean. Anticipated, but not yet funded, additions will include AUVs and gliders that continually document the spatial-temporal variations in the water column above the volcano and the distal zones. When an eruption appears imminent the frequency of sampling will be increased remotely, and the potential of repurposing the tracking capabilities of the mobile sensing platforms will be adapted to the spatial indicators of likely eruption activity. As the eruption begins mobile platforms will fully define the geometry, temperature, and chemical-microbial character of the volcanic plume as it rises into the thoroughly documented control volume above the volcano. Via the Internet the scientific community will be able to witness and direct adaptive sampling in response to changing conditions of plume formation. A major goal will be to document the eruptive volume and link the eruption duration to the volume of erupted magma. For the first time, it will be possible to begin to quantify the time-integrated output of an underwater volcanic eruption linked to the heat, chemical, and biological fluxes. In the late stages of the event, the dissipation of the “event plume” into the surrounding water column and the plume’s migration patterns in the ambient regional flow will be tracked using specifically designed mobile sensor-platforms. The presence of these assets opens the potential for more immediate, coordinated, and thorough event responses than the community has previously been able to mount. Given the relative abundance of information on many variables in a verifiable and archived spatial and temporal context, and the rapidly evolving ability to conduct real-time genomic analyses, our community may be able to secure entirely novel organisms that are released into the overlying ocean only under ell-characterized eruptive conditions.


Abstract Final ID: V11E-2558

Data/Time: Mon., Dec. 5, 8:00 AM, Halls A-C

Authors: Giora Proskurowski, Deborah S. Kelley, Allison T. Fundis, Orest E. Kawka, Skip Denny, and John R. Delaney
Institutions: 1University of Washington, School of Oceanography, Seattle, WA; Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Abstract Body: In 2013, the NSF’s Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) will deploy 22 instrument suites within the caldera of Axial Seamount as part of the cabled observatory component implemented by the Regional Scale Nodes (RSN) at the University of Washington.  The cabled infrastructure will initially provide Axial caldera with a total of 8kW of power and 11Gbps of data bandwidth. Only an approximate 20% fraction will be used by “core instrumentation”—instrumentation supported and maintained by OOI-RSN.  Thus, the OOI provided infrastructure is highly, and readily, expandable to include community-generated instrumentation when the system is commissioned and begins operations in early 2015. Here we present the details of the current design of the cabled observatory at Axial Seamount, including locations of instruments, data products, and sampling rates placed in the context of meter scale resolution bathymetry and down-looking photomosaics of the experimental sites.

The April 2011 Axial eruption is a demonstration of the importance of transmitting seismic, video, and vent fluid chemistry information in real-time.  The eruptive event, or series of events, in April 2011 went undetected until a series of ROV/AUV cruises, planned separately and years in advance, made observations to discover, confirm, and detail the transformation to Axial (see Chadwick et al., this session).  What transpired during, and shortly after, the eruption will remain largely unknown, as the initial extraordinary fluxes of heat, chemistry and biology will have decayed in the intervening three and a half months. Here we detail the response capabilities of the OOI-RSN cabled observatory to a future eruptive event under two scenarios—as built, and an expanded version using existing technology.


Abstract ID: ED53B-0783

Date/Time: Fri., Dec. 9, 1:40 PM-6:00 PM, Moscone Halls A-C

Session Type: Poster

Authors:  Rutgers University: Scott Glenn, Michael Crowley, Janice McDonnell, Sage Lichtenwalner, Steve Levenson; University of Maine: Annette deCharon, Carla Companion, Avinash Rude; Raytheon Web Solutions: Joseph Wieclawek III, David Overoye; University of Washington: Allison Fundis; Oregon State University: Craig Risien; University of California San Diego: Debi Kilb; Consortium for Ocean Leadership: Andrea McCurdy.

Institutions: Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick, NJ; Raytheon Web Solutions, Pasadena, CA; School of Marine Sciences, University of Maine, Walpole, ME; University of Washington, Seattle, WA; Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR; Scripps Inst. of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA; and the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, Washington, DC.


The National Science Foundation’s Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) is constructing observational and computer infrastructure that will provide sustained ocean measurements to study climate variability, ocean circulation, ecosystem dynamics, air-sea exchange, seafloor processes, and plate-scale geodynamics over the next ~25-30 years. To accomplish this, the Consortium for Ocean Leadership established four Implementing Organizations: (1) Regional Scale Nodes; (2) Coastal and Global Scale Nodes; (3) Cyberinfrastructure (CI); and (4) Education and Public Engagement (EPE). The EPE, which we represent, was just recently established to provide a new layer of cyber-interactivity for educators to bring near real-time data, images and videos of our Earth’s oceans into their learning environments.

Our focus over the next four years is engaging educators of undergraduates and free-choice learners.  Demonstration projects of the OOI capabilities will use an Integrated Education Toolkit to access OOI data through the Cyberinfrastructure’s On Demand Measurement Processing capability. We will present our plans to develop six education infrastructure software modules: Education Web Services (middleware), Visualization Tools, Concept Map and Lab/Lesson Builders, Collaboration Tools, and an Education Resources Database. The software release of these tools is staggered to coincide with other major OOI releases. The first release will include stand-alone versions of the first four EPE modules (Fall 2012). Next, all six EPE modules will be integrated within the OOI cyber-framework (Fall 2013). The last release will include advanced capabilities for all six modules within a collaborative network that leverages the CI’s Integrated Observatory Network (Fall 2014). We are looking for undergraduate and informal science educators to provide feedback and guidance on the project, please contact us if you are interested in partnering with us.

Click here for more information on the Rutgers-led Education and Public Engagement team.

Click here for more information on the University of Washington Regional Scale Nodes team.