Having achieved a number of significant milestones in 2012, the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) program has entered 2013 with installation and test activities continuing at a rapid pace, transitioning the program into ‘build and deploy’ phase.
OOI installations will begin this summer and into the fall with the deployment of an instrumented cabled seafloor facility off Oregon and Washington; a moored array of sensors at “Station Papa” in the Gulf of Alaska, and initial deployments with the Coastal Arrays.
“The upcoming deployments of OOI instruments and platforms represent the successful completion of a well-validated and thoroughly-reviewed design phase of the project,” said Tim Cowles, Vice President & Director of Ocean Observing at the Consortium for Ocean Leadership. “Now everyone can join in the excitement of seeing those designs turn into the much-anticipated infrastructure that supports the delivery of OOI data to the community.”
The current planned OOI Installation Schedule, along with tables of detailed information about the 2013 and 2014 deployments, is posted on the OOI website. These deployment schedules are, however, subject to revision if budgets and ship schedules change. View that Installation Schedule here.
The summer of 2012 saw the successful installation of seven Primary Nodes on the OOI submarine cable infrastructure in the Northeast Pacific, led by the OOI Regional Scales Nodes (RSN) group at the University of Washington. The primary nodes serve as the power and data connection points on the network, supporting the connection and installation of a wide range of instrumentation. For more on the primary node installation activities, please read the full story about the Primary Node Installation, check out the Primary Node Installation Photo Tour, and visit the RSN Blog here. The RSN component of the OOI will be the first United States regional cabled observatory.
“The OOI cabled observatory team achieved a major milestone in summer 2012 when the system’s seven primary nodes were installed into the backbone cables that reach Hydrate Ridge and Axial Seamount, which is 300 miles off the coast of Oregon,” said John Delaney, Director and Principal Investigator of the RSN component of OOI. “Next summer we begin installing the secondary infrastructure and are looking forward to going live from the deep sea.”
The Endurance Array (EA) component, led by Oregon State University, also made exciting progress during 2012. Perhaps most exciting were the successful verification tests of the coastal and open ocean gliders conducted by OOI and Teledyne Webb Research. Glider tests were conducted in November 2011 and from January to February 2012 for coastal gliders as well as from May to June 2012 and September to November 2012 for global gliders. As a result of these successful tests, coastal gliders have now reached production readiness status, and production units are being fabricated. Open ocean glider production is underway in preparation for initial deployments at Station Papa this summer. For further information on glider testing, click here.
“With the momentum established in 2012, we look forward to the completion of the build and integration of the cabled Benthic Experiment Package that is well underway, as well as a series of successful deployments of the Endurance Array in the coming years, ” said Bob Collier, Program Manager/Principal Investigator for the EA component of the OOI program.
On the East Coast, the Coastal and Global Scale Nodes component (CGSN), led by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), successfully completed an at-sea equipment test of moorings off the New England Coast. Of the three test moorings, two were tests of the moorings to be deployed in the Pioneer Array component of the OOI and the third was a deep test mooring, designed to be used in the Global Arrays component. Though based on decades of experience, the OOI mooring designs are new and testing allowed the OOI team to validate the designs of these important components of the infrastructure. Test moorings were deployed in September 2011, and were successfully recovered in April 2012. For the full story, check out the OOI website here.
Also in 2012, CGSN successfully completed three major Critical Design Reviews and initiated a number of major procurements. “CGSN is now procuring and building mooring subassemblies,” says John Trowbridge, Co-principal Investigator for the OOI CGSN, “and looks forward to successful deployments of complete moorings at Station Papa in 2013.”
The OOI’s unique Cyberinfrastructure (CI), led by the University of California, San Diego, continues to emerge with progressive software releases. The CI Team completed the first release (R1) of software that provides the fundamental computing and data distribution infrastructure at the end of 2011.
The CI team has been working on the next software release, R2, to build the OOI’s Managed Instrument Network. In mid-2013, the second software release (R2) will be completed, providing for active management of the installed infrastructure by the OOI team. During 2013, development of release 3 (R3), the OnDemand Measurement Processing release, will continue. R3 will add the end-to-end control of how data and data products are processed. This is the first release of the Integrated Observatory Network (ION) that is intended for providing access to OOI data and data products to the general public.
“This is the first year  for major sensor installations in the OOI for both the Coastal/Global components and the Regional Scale Nodes,” says John Orcutt, Principal Investigator of the CI component of OOI. “The initial installations will be making use of the work comprising the first two releases of the Integrated Observatory Network software and middleware.” The ION will connect and coordinate the operations of the OOI marine components with the scientific and educational pursuits of oceanographic research communities. “The Cyberinfrastructure will be adding new capabilities in Release 3 and 4,” continued Orcutt, “including ‘command and control’ (of sensors and platforms) during the remaining portion of the program.”
During 2013, the integration of the CI and Education and Public Engagement (EPE) components of the program will continue. “The integration of CI with EPE has been proceeding well and promises to provide an excellent window into the OOI for a wide variety of users and students,” adds Orcutt.
The OOI EPE team, led by Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is building a variety of software interfaces and web-based tools that ultimately will allow educators to bring the ocean into their learning environments. In 2012, the EPE team continued their work constructing a series of software and web-based social networking tools 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.
“This was a ground-breaking year for the EPE, as we built the initial engine and interfaces to the OOI education software tools,” said Scott Glenn, Rutgers Principal Investigator for the EPE Implementing Organization. “We enjoyed many successes through the implementation of formalized early adopter dialog, and user community testing of tools and features. Building on this positive and encouraging foundation, we have now engaged an even broader community that will inform the development of next year’s software release. As we begin 2013 we launch our largest year of development, we invite the community to participate in this ongoing process by contacting our Project Manager, Mike Crowley.”
Detailed information on the OOI equipment and sensors and their data products can be found on the OOI Instrument Table Section of the website. The OOI presents a range of opportunities for those in the user community and plans to host workshops on mobile platform sampling strategies, data quality and sampling scenarios. To learn more, click here ask a question or submit a comment to the OOI.
The OOI, a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded program, will deliver high quality data on ocean processes and properties to address critical science-driven questions that will contribute to better understanding and management of the oceans. The OOI Program is managed by the OOI Project Office at the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, in Washington, D.C., and is responsible for construction and initial operations of the OOI network.