OOI Hosts Webinar on 2013-2014 Deployment and Initial Sampling

OOI_Logo-notransThe Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) program kicked off a series of webinars aimed at providing the scientific community with detailed information on the status of the program, with the first session focused on upcoming 2013-2014 deployments and initial sampling configurations.

Tim Cowles, OOI Program Director and Vice President and Director of Ocean Observing at the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, conducted the first webinar for over 100 participants on March 19. The discussion focused specifically on the OOI’s 2013 and 2014 deployments of moored and mobile seafloor instruments and platforms and initial sampling configurations for instruments to be deployed at Station Papa in the Gulf of Alaska this summer and in the Irminger Sea in summer of 2014.

During the web discussion Cowles the lead the discussion with a set of presentation charts outlining the upcoming deployments in detail as well as a detailed deployment schedule.

To download a PDF of the presentation, click HERE

To view the full presentation with audio, click HERE

Participants’ questions were answered during the session and additional submitted questions pertaining to the topic will be posted on the OOI website in the weeks ahead. The OOI website also will provide information on upcoming webinars covering other aspects of the program.

“The OOI is covering a great deal of landscape – or rather oceanscape – our science requires resolution of high frequency forcing in the ocean on time scales of minutes to hours across a wide geographic extent and in extreme environments for sustained periods,” Cowles said, starting the discussion into more detailed dates, plans and means for accessing data.

The OOI includes four global high latitude sites, two coastal arrays – the Pioneer Array on the East Coast and the Endurance Array on the West Coast, and a cabled array on Juan de Fuca Plate.

The objective of the webinar was to provide some general deployment information and some more specifics on the summer of 2013 events that include the first deployment of a global site at Station Papa in the Gulf of Alaska. In addition to mid-summer deployments at Station Papa, the program has phased deployments planned for the Endurance Array and Pioneer Array for early and late fall. As the program moves into 2014 phase, two deployments will take place for Pioneer and Endurance, and finally in the fall of 2014, final construction will take place at those locations.

Cowles noted the global deployment in the Irminger Sea in the summer of 2014 will be the first major opportunity for international coordination of work with partners across the Atlantic.

“There already are many projects planned that coordinate with the OOI deployments in the Irminger Sea and that’s a very exciting opportunity for our project and for the community at large,” he said. “We will provide more information about Irminger work starting in the summer of 2014 and we look forward to a lot of cross Atlantic coordination around the work in the Atlantic.”

The final two global sites are scheduled for deployment last fall 2014 and early winter 2015 at the Argentine Basin and Southern Ocean at 55 South. The construction phase of the program officially ends in 2015.

The scientific community will have access to OOI pre-commissioned data during these upcoming events. The OOI policy ensures that all data is open and free for all.  Data available post deployment and testing will be made available to the community in a pre-commissioned mode this year and accessed via the OOI website following validated testing, Cowles noted. Later this spring, the OOI will provide more instruction on data access for the upcoming deployments, he added.  A portal to available pre-commissioned data can be accessed at the OOI website HERE. In addition, detailed INSTRUMENT TABLES are available on the OOI website.

Currently the National Science Foundation (NSF) which funds the OOI, is encouraging those interested in the community to write proposals for science workshops, which Cowles said have proven to be very effective in generating interest in science themes as well as providing feedback on positions and distributions of specific sensors and platforms.  For longer term interest in enhancing or extending the OOI, NSF is expected to provide more specific guidance on the proposal process over the next year, Cowles noted.

Under the Cooperative Agreement the OOI Program Team has with the NSF, Cowles explained that successful construction of the OOI is defined by deployment and commissioning of the OOI infrastructure that meets approved requirements.  Cowles stressed this to clear up any misconceptions of what science will be addressed by the OOI or incorrect assumptions on how decisions have been made for the program scope.

“This is a very explicit design and we have an obligation to deliver that design,” Cowles remarked.

Earlier in the presentation Cowles noted the OOI design requirements fundamentally link to three overarching objectives. The first objective is that the OOI sustain for decades the delivery of multiple streams of ocean data that allows for resolution of ocean properties and processes across a broad range of time and space scales. The second objective is to facilitate the use of these capabilities of the OOI for all in the science community to design experiments or extend the temporal and spatial extent of individual research.  The final objective is to sustain the expansion capabilities of the OOI over time as technology evolves and as new science questions emerge and new approaches to ocean science are required that may be adaptable to the infrastructure being built and set forth as a framework for ocean science.

To date the program has deployed 880 kilometers of fiber optic cable for the cabled component of the observatory on the Juan de Fuca Plate. Primary nodes were also installed at that site last year in anticipation of seafloor instrumentation that will be installed in summer 2013. A future webinar will provide more details on instrumentation at this site, Cowles noted.

A number of successful coastal and global mooring tests have been conducted and all major deployable elements of the infrastructure have completed critical design review and are now in the build and deployment phase of the project.

See the OOI Website for updates on these milestones and all future program updates. In the months to come the program will host additional webinars. Check back at the website to receive dates on these upcoming discussions.  To provide a comment or ask a question, please click HERE.