The National Science Foundation (NSF) will present plans to use an “Ideas Lab”, a participatory, immersive process designed to innovative the decision-making process for the potential move of the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) Pioneer Array at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting. The presentation will be at the OOI virtual booth, on 8 December 11:15-noon Eastern. Lisa Clough, Section Head from NSF’s Division of Ocean Sciences, will describe the “Ideas Lab” process that will be used to determine if the Pioneer Array should be moved, and if so, to what location.  She will be joined by Al Plueddemann, Project Scientist for OOI’s Coastal and Global Scale Nodes, who will speak to the operational considerations involved in a potential move of the Pioneer Array.

The Coastal Pioneer Array is currently located in the Middle Atlantic Bight, centered about 75 nautical miles south of Martha’s Vineyard, where the continental shelf-slope is highly productive.  The area was chosen as the initial placement of the Pioneer Array to examine exchanges between the shelf and slope and the shelf ecosystem and provide insight into air-sea gas exchange, including carbon dioxide absorption. From the outset, NSF has committed to re-evaluating the placement of the Pioneer Array every five-to-seven years.

“Ideas Lab are designed to bring together people to innovate and invigorate their scientific and educational approaches. We hope by using this participatory process, current and future users of OOI data will deeply explore the opportunities of having an open-data real-time coastal ocean array in various locations within the US EEZ,” explained Clough. “It is our hope that by collectively considering what the optimal location for the Pioneer Array is, and to a certain extent what types of data will be collected and how, the decision-making process will also encourage new thinking.”

Plueddemann, who has been involved with 15 successful missions to recover and deploy equipment at the Pioneer Array, will introduce some of the technological, logistical and environmental considerations inherent in a decision to relocate the array.

“My role in this decision-making process is solely as an information broker,” explained Plueddemann. “Neither I nor anyone involved in the current Pioneer Array team will be involved in the process of deciding how and where the Pioneer Array might be relocated.  Our role will be to inform and advise on the feasibility of different concepts.”

Regardless of the location decision, the current team at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution will continue to operate the Pioneer Array. Their formal role as operators of the Array entails expertise in the deployment, recovery, and maintenance of the equipment.

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Potential Relocation of the Pioneer Array: Participate in the Process 

8 December from 11:15 am-noon