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Major Physical Oceanography Programs at NSF: IDOE Through Global Change

Richard B. Lambert, Jr.

National Science Foundation (ret.)

ABSTRACT

The transition from the major coordinated research programs of the International Decade of Ocean Exploration to the global projects of the U.S. Global Change Research Program is described. Special emphasis is placed on physical oceanography, in which global programs include the World Ocean Circulation Experiment and the Tropical Ocean and Global Atmosphere Program. Contrasting management structures are described, and speculation is made as to the challenges of future global programs.

Following on from the paper by Feenan Jennings, I would like to describe briefly how some of the major physical oceanography programs developed subsequent to the International Decade of Ocean Exploration (IDOE) through the rise of the global change programs. My emphasis is primarily on the major physical oceanography programs, WOCE (the Word Ocean Circulation Experiment), which was primarily an oceanographic program, and TOGA (the Tropical Ocean and Global Atmosphere program), which was a truly interdisciplinary program involving both the atmospheric and the oceanic communities.

Before I proceed, I would like to acknowledge one person who, more than any of the rest of us, defined what the physical oceanography program is today—Curt Collins. Curt sent me an e-mail a few weeks ago expressing his regrets that he could not be here this week. However, he is where he has always felt most at home—at sea! Curt began his career at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the early days of IDOE, kept the helm through the transition from IDOE to disciplinary programs, and was one of the major proponents of both the WOCE and the TOGA programs. Ocean sciences in general, and physical oceanography in particular, owe him a great debt of gratitude.

Below, I give a brief historical sketch, showing some of the legacies of IDOE, from both scientific and management perspectives, including the rise of collaborative research and the growth of the community. Then I compare and contrast what we refer to as midsize programs with the truly major global programs of the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). I then describe some of the major management issues with interagency, international programs by comparing TOGA and WOCE, and finally attempt to draw some conclusions, from the point of view of a program manager, as to where we go next.

You have already heard about the NSF reorganization of 1975—right in the middle of the IDOE—that created the Division of Ocean Sciences essentially as it exists now. Five years later, the IDOE ended, and the programs merged with the existing research section, essentially along disciplinary lines. The early 1980s was a time of consolidation, with midsize programs paving the way for dealing with problems on a scale that would lead to programs with a more truly global outlook. It was a time of planning, and the beginnings of TOGA and long-lead-time activities for WOCE. Subsequently, the Geosciences Directorate was created under the leadership of Bill Merrell, and in 1989, the USGCRP was formally initiated, with its first budget called out in 1990. At the same time, the WOCE field program funding began.

However, although the international WOCE program had begun, the U.S. WOCE field program did not really begin until nearly 1992, due to a variety of delays, primarily with the availability of adequate ships. In 1995, the TOGA program officially ended. Soon after that, the WOCE field program, due to end in the same year, was extended through 1998, and with agreement among most international participants, a period of analysis, interpretation, modeling, and synthesis was initiated, with an expected lifetime through at least 2002, and perhaps longer. In the meantime, a follow-on pro



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50 Years of Ocean Discovery: National Science Foundation 1950—2000 Major Physical Oceanography Programs at NSF: IDOE Through Global Change Richard B. Lambert, Jr. National Science Foundation (ret.) ABSTRACT The transition from the major coordinated research programs of the International Decade of Ocean Exploration to the global projects of the U.S. Global Change Research Program is described. Special emphasis is placed on physical oceanography, in which global programs include the World Ocean Circulation Experiment and the Tropical Ocean and Global Atmosphere Program. Contrasting management structures are described, and speculation is made as to the challenges of future global programs. Following on from the paper by Feenan Jennings, I would like to describe briefly how some of the major physical oceanography programs developed subsequent to the International Decade of Ocean Exploration (IDOE) through the rise of the global change programs. My emphasis is primarily on the major physical oceanography programs, WOCE (the Word Ocean Circulation Experiment), which was primarily an oceanographic program, and TOGA (the Tropical Ocean and Global Atmosphere program), which was a truly interdisciplinary program involving both the atmospheric and the oceanic communities. Before I proceed, I would like to acknowledge one person who, more than any of the rest of us, defined what the physical oceanography program is today—Curt Collins. Curt sent me an e-mail a few weeks ago expressing his regrets that he could not be here this week. However, he is where he has always felt most at home—at sea! Curt began his career at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the early days of IDOE, kept the helm through the transition from IDOE to disciplinary programs, and was one of the major proponents of both the WOCE and the TOGA programs. Ocean sciences in general, and physical oceanography in particular, owe him a great debt of gratitude. Below, I give a brief historical sketch, showing some of the legacies of IDOE, from both scientific and management perspectives, including the rise of collaborative research and the growth of the community. Then I compare and contrast what we refer to as midsize programs with the truly major global programs of the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). I then describe some of the major management issues with interagency, international programs by comparing TOGA and WOCE, and finally attempt to draw some conclusions, from the point of view of a program manager, as to where we go next. You have already heard about the NSF reorganization of 1975—right in the middle of the IDOE—that created the Division of Ocean Sciences essentially as it exists now. Five years later, the IDOE ended, and the programs merged with the existing research section, essentially along disciplinary lines. The early 1980s was a time of consolidation, with midsize programs paving the way for dealing with problems on a scale that would lead to programs with a more truly global outlook. It was a time of planning, and the beginnings of TOGA and long-lead-time activities for WOCE. Subsequently, the Geosciences Directorate was created under the leadership of Bill Merrell, and in 1989, the USGCRP was formally initiated, with its first budget called out in 1990. At the same time, the WOCE field program funding began. However, although the international WOCE program had begun, the U.S. WOCE field program did not really begin until nearly 1992, due to a variety of delays, primarily with the availability of adequate ships. In 1995, the TOGA program officially ended. Soon after that, the WOCE field program, due to end in the same year, was extended through 1998, and with agreement among most international participants, a period of analysis, interpretation, modeling, and synthesis was initiated, with an expected lifetime through at least 2002, and perhaps longer. In the meantime, a follow-on pro

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50 Years of Ocean Discovery: National Science Foundation 1950—2000 gram, under the direction of the World Climate Research Program was begun. Called CLImate VARiability, (CLIVAR), it is now viewed as the next major atmosphere-ocean program, with the goal of greatly improving our ability to forecast variations in climate on very long time scales. CLIVAR field programs are expected to last at least through the next decade and perhaps provide at last scientific motivation for the long-awaited Global Ocean Observing System, perhaps even a Global Climate Observing System. In looking back at the IDOE, recall that one of the major characteristics of programs during this time was the initiation of major programs and then their dissection into smaller but still collaborative programs for the sake, primarily, of simplifying the management required. Recall the four major components of IDOE: Environmental Forecasting (EF), Environmental Quality (EQ), Living Resources (LR), and Non-living Resources, or Sea Bed Assessment (SBA). Consider for a moment the breakdown, or dissection, of the EF program, which consisted largely of physical oceanography programs. The major examples are MODE (Mid-Ocean Dynamics Experiment), POLYMODE (the U.S.-Soviet follow-on to MODE), NORPAX (North Pacific Experiment), ISOS (International Southern Ocean Studies), CLIMAP (Climate Long-range Investigation, Mapping, and Prediction Study), and CUEA (Coastal Upwelling Ecosystems Analysis). The latter two showed the way to truly interdisciplinary work, with CLIMAP studying physical phenomena in the distant past using paleoceanographic techniques and CUEA showing the way to investigating the physical impacts on fisheries, or "living resources." Another legacy of the IDOE was the start-up of a number of midsize programs during the last year of the decade. These were clearly multiyear projects, with a requirement that funding continue in order to maintain them. Whether they were started in order to guarantee funding continuity or whether the continuity was already planned is not clear to me. In any case, they were logical follow-ons, but also led the way into the large global programs to follow. Some examples are the Coastal Ocean Dynamics Experiment (CODE); Tropic Heat (TH), a study of the Eastern Pacific Cold Tongue; Pacific Equatorial Ocean Dynamics Experiment (PEQUOD); the Western Equatorial Pacific Ocean Circulation Study (WEPOCS); and Transient Tracers in the Ocean (TTO), which was a follow on to the Geochemical Ocean Sections (GEOSECS) study, and a precursor to the tracer work to be done in WOCE and other survey experiments. This is another example of two disciplines coming together to study common problems. Perhaps a better way of looking at the transition is shown in Table 1. MODE, which Walter Munk describes briefly, was the first comprehensive look at the mesoscale eddy field. Followed by the joint Russian-U.S. POLYMODE, it paved the way for the World Ocean Circulation Experiment. In a similar fashion, the GEOSECS program, leading into the study of Transient Tracers, also paved the way for the high-precision tracer work during WOCE. TABLE 1 Time Line Summary Illustrating the Development from the Coordinated Program s of IDOE Through Mid-size Programs of the Transition Period (1980-1985) into the Global Programs of the USGCRP (WOCE and TOGA) 1970-1980 1980-1985 1985-1990 IDOE Midsize Follow-ons Global change MODE POLYMODE WOCE   Transient Tracers   NORPAX NORPAX (cont.) TOGA   (Hawaii-Tahiti Shuttle)     PEQUOD     Tropic Heat     WEPOCS   Similarly, NORPAX, expanding its range with the Hawaii to Tahiti Shuttle, largely a survey using expendable bathythermographs with frequent crossings of the equator, was one of many midsize programs that paved the way for TOGA. Others include Tropic Heat, PEQUOD, WEPOCS, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's EPOCS (Eastern Pacific Ocean Climate Study), and others. Major characteristics of these midsize programs include the following: They are needed to address problems too big for one or two principal investigators (PIs). They are usually regional, not basin-wide or global. They require several, but usually a s mall number of PIs. They usually involve coordinated field work. They are usually fully collaborative. The cost averages approximately $1 million to $3 million per year. There is little need for international or interagency coordination. Some of the parallel characteristics of global change programs are the following: The studies are usually long-term (several years) and large-scale (global or at least basin-wide). They require a large number of PIs, although funding may be accomplished through individual grants. They require a collective review process that may differ from the normal review of individual proposals. The cost may average $5 million to $10 million per year or more for any given program. They are usually fully inter-agency (national programs).

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50 Years of Ocean Discovery: National Science Foundation 1950—2000 They are also usually fully international: a characteristic that dictates international coordination and management. Table 2 illustrates some of the differences between the management structures of WOCE and TOGA. In this table, national steering groups are indicated by SSG (Scientific Steering Committee), whereas international steering groups are denoted by SSG (Scientific Steering Group). There are pros and cons to both mechanisms, which will be the subject of a future paper. For the purpose of this paper, it suffices simply to state the facts. In conclusion, I would like to simply state the obvious and list some of the strengths of the major physical oceanography programs. Then I indicate what, to me, are some of the challenges remaining as we move into the CLIVAR era. First of all, both large and small programs are needed to make scientific progress, even though more extensive review procedures are required for the large programs. This time and effort, however, seem warranted, since large programs usually add resources to the community. New major programs are much more likely to be interdisciplinary, and midsize programs are needed as bridges and to deal with pieces of the bigger puzzle. Nevertheless, some challenges remain. More manpower is needed (especially strong leadership) in order to realize the potential for new programs already conceived. It is particularly incumbent on academic institutions to develop ways in which their faculty are recognized for sometimes thankless and onerous tasks. There is a need for community consensus in order to ensure community support for implementation of these major programs, and there is a special need for new ideas as old ways of doing things become obsolete. New approaches and new agreements are also needed in the issue of data collection and sharing. From the agency side, the securing and allocation of adequate funding are crucial, without compromising agency missions, but exploiting the differences to accomplish a wide TABLE 2 Contrast of Management Structures and Institutions Involved in WOCE and TOGA. Both International and National Components are Listed.   WOCE TOGA Sponsors     International IOC/SCOR (WCRP) WMO/ICSU (WCRP) National NSF (ONR, NOAA, DOE, NASA) NOAA (NSF, ONR, NASA, DOE) Project Offices     International IOS/SOC (UK) NOAA (Boulder) → Geneva National University (TAMU) Government (NOAA) Science Steering     International SSG report to JSC SSG report to JSC National SSC report to IAG NAS panel report to BASC Government     Oversight     International IWP (IOC and SSG) ITB (WMO and SSG) National IAG (Agency PDs) Formal part of the USTPO Panels and WGs Established by SSC, SSG Established by USTPO & Panel Data Management Distributed system Centralized system NOTE: BASC = Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate; DOE = Department of Energy; IAG = Inter-Agency Group; ICSU = International Council for Science; IOC = Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission; IOS = Institute of Ocean Sciences/Southampton Oceanography Center, UK; ITB = Intergovernmental TOGA Board; JSC = Joint Scientific Committee for the WCRP; NAS = National Academy of Sciences; NASA = National Aeronautics and Space Administration; ONR = Office of Naval Research; PD = program director; SCOR = Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research; TAMU = Texas A&M University; USTPO = U.S. TOGA Project Office; WCRP = World Climate Research Program; WG = working groups; WMO = World Meteorological Organization. diversity of tasks. This would help in reducing inertia in a system that is somewhat resistant to new approaches and would help in such specific issues as the costs of data sharing and dissemination.