National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
The U.S. Science community has identified a need for access to offshore platforms worldwide to conduct research. The unique opportunities provided by such platforms include the ability to make long-term (10 to 20 years) times-series measurements of both atmospheric and oceanographic parameters with high frequency and spatial coherence at fixed locations. Measurements could range from the upper atmosphere through the sea surface down to the seafloor regardless of weather conditions.
These capabilities have never previously been available using traditional data collection platforms such as ships, buoys, or aircraft because of their short-term access to ocean sites, limited measurement capacity, and dependence on weather conditions. The opportunities provided by these platforms to conduct real-time analyses, to make long-term daily measurements at the same location, and to ultimately have manned laboratories onsite are of paramount importance to environmental and global change research. Focus of this new program will include the following research issues.
- Frequency spectra of atmospheric and marine ocosystem variables.
- Biogechemical processes, the carbon cycle and new primary production.
- Coupled ocean-atmosphere systems, interactions, and energy transfers.
- Physical oceanographic processes and systems from the sea surface to the seafloor.
- Meteorological and climate processes and systems.
This effort is viewed as being potentially long-term and critically important. It's objectives include the development of worldwide access to platforms, establishment of permanent manned research lab facilities onboard platforms, dissemination of real time data and results through the "Global Oceanographic Observations Systems" (GOOS) network, and possibly obtaining a deepwater offshore platform facility dedicated to research that could be located at sites dictated by scientific needs.