The National Science Foundation sponsored Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) constructed and is now operating a network of science-driven sensor systems to measure the physical, chemical, geological, and biological variables in the ocean and seafloor. Greater knowledge of these variables is vital for improved detection and forecasting of environmental changes and their effects on biodiversity, coastal ecosystems, and climate.
The Pacific Northwest component of the coastal observatory called the Endurance Array, operated by Oregon State University, places a series of long-term moorings off the Northwest coast. It includes a network of undersea gliders that are programmed to patrol the near-shore waters and collect a variety of data. Gliders transmit data from each of their instruments onshore several times a day. OOI's CyberInfrastructure will be able to make data from all Endurance Array instruments available online in near real-time.
The construction of the infrastructure began September 1, 2009 and lasted 6 years. Current operations and maintenance planning is based on a 25-year life span.
OSU partnered with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography to develop and install the combined coastal and global observatories (CGSN). The OOI observatories and subsystems include:
Leadership: The Consortium for Ocean Leadership is leading the implementation of OOI and is located in Washington, D.C.
Coastal Observing Arrays:
Cabled Array: A cabled network of interconnected sites and sensors on the seafloor spanning multiple geological and oceanographic features and processes. The Cabled Array also provides power and bandwidth to the Endurance Array at two locations. It is operated by University of Washington.
Global Arrays: Autonomous moored buoy platforms at four deep water, high-latitude locations are key to capturing large-scale ocean-atmosphere coupling where there has been little or no previous sustained coverage. These are operated by WHOI with some assistance from OSU on the Station Papa Global Array.
CyberInfrastructure (CI): OOI systems are integrated through the CI, which provides connectivity to scientists and classrooms, and allows the OOI to function as a single, secure, integrated network. This is operated by Rutgers University. See oceanobservatories.org.