Seafloor observatory programs in the United States should be coordinated with similar international efforts to the extent that progress in the U.S. program is not inhibited. In addition, the Committee recommends that the potential of an integrated, international observatory program be explored.
The goals of a seafloor observatory program in the United States are closely linked to a number of ongoing international initiatives, such as GEOSCOPE and the International Ocean Network. Where practical, coordination of these efforts at the international level will be beneficial and, in some cases, essential. Some major scientific objectives (e.g., global seismic coverage) will be achievable only through this kind of global cooperation.
The vision of establishing a global network of seafloor observatories holds tremendous promise for advancing our understanding of Earth and its oceans. The Committee recognizes that realizing this vision will be difficult and expensive, but based on examination of the important scientific questions that remain to be answered and the current state of technology, the Committee believes the time has come to take the first concrete steps.