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3 Technological Advances and Their Impact on the Fleet How technological advances such as autonomous underwater vehicles and ocean observing systems will affect the role and characteristics of the future UNOLS fleet with regard to accomplishing national oceanographic data collection objectives. How evolving modeling and remote sensing technologies will impact the balance between various research operations such as ground-truthing, hypothesis testing, exploration, and observation. The pace of technological advances in oceanography continues to accelerate, and these changes fundamentally alter how science is accom- plished. Enabling technologies considered essential in 2009âsuch as the Global Positioning System (GPS), satellite communications and the Inter- net, remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), autonomous platforms, and sen- sors such as multibeam mapping systems and improved vessel-deployed chemical sensorsâwere in their nascent stages or did not exist when many vessels in the academic fleet were built. Proven cutting-edge tech- nologies are often adopted rapidly by the scientific community, resulting in post-fabrication modification of the research fleet that can be costly and provide less than optimal performance. In this chapter, recent technologi- cal advances for ships and shipboard support of science are reviewed and their likely impact on the future oceanographic research fleet is discussed. Technologies considered include dynamic positioning systems, aloft sen- sors, satellite systems, long coring systems, autonomous underwater and 33
34 SCIENCE AT SEA airborne vehicles, remotely operated vehicles, ship-to-shore communica- tions and telepresence, and ocean observing systems. As the number and complexity of seagoing systems increase, so does the need for broadly trained and highly skilled technicians to maintain them, a topic covered briefly at the conclusion of this chapter. DYNAMIC POSITIONING One of the technologies already in use on many oceanographic research ships is dynamic positioning (DP). By properly controlling bow thrusters, azimuthing propulsers, and other elements of a shipâs propul- sion system, DP makes it possible for a ship to hold a given geographical location and required heading even under severe conditions. DP also contributes to operation quality and efficiency because waypoints can be used to minimize time between stations and heading and ship track can be controlled accurately over long distances. The maneuvering and propulsion system is linked to the shipâs navigation system to ensure the position is fixed. DP systems installed retroactively on vessels sometimes have inadequate propulsion and computer systems to maintain station in high sea states. Newer systems utilize onboard computers to control the machinery. Nine University-National Oceanographic Laboratory Sys- tem (UNOLS) vessels currently have DP systems (all Global and Ocean class, the Intermediate Seward Johnson, and the Regional/Coastal Hugh R. Sharp). Of these, Knorr and Melville had systems installed retroactively, and Revelle, Atlantis, Thompson, and Marcus Langseth have had replace- ment systems installed (Annette DeSilva, personal communication, 2009). With the growth of offboard vehicles and the need to safely deploy and recover these systems, it is expected that DP will become a standard feature of research vessels rather than a special case. The Navyâs systems specifications for the planned Ocean class vessels explicitly states that a DP must be installed (Naval Sea Systems Command, 2009). ALOFT SYSTEMS Aloft systems include instruments such as meteorological sensors, GPS and communications antennas, and instruments for measuring ocean surface reflectance. At present the upper portions of research vessels are not designed so that all aloft systems have the appropriate exposure; rather, they compete for space in a crowded part of the vessel and per- formance is compromised. The vessel requirements for GPS and com- munications systems, for example, concern clear sight lines between the antennas and the required satellites in any possible position, from over- head to the horizon in any direction. In current installations, the antennas
TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES AND THEIR IMPACT ON THE FLEET 35 can be blocked on certain headings by the vessel stack. Likewise, solar references for satellite calibration need to be mounted so that interfer- ence from ship shadows and light reflecting off the hull are minimized (Hooker, 2009). Future vessels designed with these specifications in mind should have sufficient space aloft to accommodate all atmospheric and oceanographic sensors as well as navigation and communications satel- lites without mutual interference. Satellite Systems The oceanographic community currently utilizes satellite-based mea- surements of ocean color, sea surface height, sea surface temperature, and surface winds to characterize ocean variability and to study physical and biogeochemical processes. The use of remotely sensed data is expected to grow as new satellite-based instruments are deployed and new genera- tions of ocean models improve our ability to integrate satellite and in situ observational data. The future research fleet will require increased band- width to relay large satellite datasets between ship and shore (discussed in greater detail later in this chapter) and additional capabilities for ship- based calibration of space-borne instruments (e.g., the solar references mentioned above). LONG CORING The collection of sediment piston cores with lengths â¥40 meters is an increasingly important technique for paleoceanographic and continental margin studies. Long coring capability was added to the UNOLS fleet in 2007 through installation on the Global class, 279 foot (85 meter) Knorr (see Figure 2-2), which is now able to collect cores up to 46 meters in length (Curry et al., 2008). To accommodate the weight of the coring sys- tem, the deck was strengthened significantly, and a more robust A-frame and winch were added. Given that Knorr is slated to be replaced in 2015, the future fleet will need to plan for at least one vessel capable of reliable, safe collection of long cores. Increasing scientific demands for long coring operations throughout the world could lead to demand for coring systems on more than one academic research ship. AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES Autonomous systems are becoming increasingly available and have found many applications to a variety of scientific problems. In many cases these systems have transitioned to operational status and have received wide acceptance by the scientific community. Examples include floats
36 SCIENCE AT SEA (Davis, 1991; DâAsaro, 2003), gliders (Stommel, 1989; Davis et al., 2003; Rudnick et al., 2004), autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs; Yoerger et al., 1998), and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The application of these systems should expand greatly in coming years as their capabili- ties improve and their application to science problems becomes better understood. Enhanced capabilities will cover a spectrum from longer-range capa- bilities as energy sources and vehicle efficiencies improve to smaller-scale applications as the utility of microsystems such as micro-AUVs is demon- strated. New and varied in situ sensors including mass spectrometers and genomic sensors, sampling systems designed for autonomous operation, and improvements in overall reliability will also increase demand for autonomous systems. The range of commercially available vehicles will certainly expand, allowing vehicles to be better matched to specific sci- ence problems. Operational groups will likely become more comfortable with increasingly aggressive deployment strategies, particularly the use of multiple vehicles in the water at the same time with unattended opera- tion. Autonomous platforms and their associated launch and recovery systems will come in many different forms, many of which will place new and varied demands on oceanographic vessels. It is worth noting that continuing advances in battery life and adap- tive programming will lead to a greater potential for launching autono- mous vehicles (e.g., gliders) directly from the nearshore, whether in small boats or from the beach itself. In this way, missions involving autonomous platforms might be independent of research vessels for launch and recov- ery. However, this capability is still in its developmental stages, and for many locations, rough topography and/or wave and current regimes will discourage launching directly from the beach in the foreseeable future. Floats and Gliders Autonomous floats are a mature technology specifically designed for easy deployment in great numbers. For instance, the Argo program (http://www.argo.ucsd.edu/), part of the Global Ocean Observing System, has more than 3000 floats profiling throughout the ocean on a continu- ous basis (Figure 3-1) and provides an unprecedented view of the upper oceanâs circulation and hydrography. Most floats are expendable so they make no special demands on vessels and can be deployed from ships of opportunity. Future advances will increase the number and type of sen- sors that are carried on floats (i.e., chemical, biological), strengthening demand for ship-based water sampling for sensor calibration. Gliders are significantly more expensive and are often recovered, although Navy- funded developments are in progress for surface ship- or air-deployed
TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES AND THEIR IMPACT ON THE FLEET 37 SALINITY 33.8 34.0 34.2 34.4 34.6 34.8 TEMPERATURE (Â°C) 0 400 PRESSURE (db) 800 1200 1600 2000 (A) (B) Figure 3-1B color.eps (C) Figure 3-1â (A) An Argo float being deployed in the North Pacific Ocean with the Melville in 2004 (used with permission from James Swift, Scripps Institu- tion of Oceanography). (B) An Argo profile from the subtropical North Pacific. Temperature (black) and salinity (red) are shown. (C) The Argo float array in July 2009. Each black dot represents a float that has returned data within the last 30 days (B and C used with permission from Argo Project Office, http://www. argo.ucsd.edu).
38 SCIENCE AT SEA expendable gliders (i.e., 2008 Navy Small Business Technology Transfer solicitation #N08-T016). The expendable gliders will likely have minimal sensor capabilities, however, and the continued use of fully configured, recoverable gliders is anticipated. Because of their low drag shape and minimal buoyancy when surfaced, gliders are difficult to recover. Their recovery is quite sensitive to weather conditions because of their low visibility on the surface and their potential for collision with the ship when they are hauled aboard. Ship design trends that facilitate the use of gliders includes lower freeboard, better over-the-side (OTS) handling systems, and acoustic and/or optical technology to assist with spotting vehicles on the surface. These changes will also benefit AUVs, discussed in the next section. Autonomous Underwater Vehicles Typical tasks for present-day AUVs include high-resolution seafloor mapping and measuring oceanographic phenomena such as tempera- ture and salinity anomalies on spatial scales on the order of hundreds of kilometers over time scales of several days to perhaps weeks. With the advent of submerged docking stations (described in the section on ocean observatories), AUV duration limits will effectively be removed for areas with the required infrastructure. However, because docking stations will require fixed infrastructure, continued use of survey AUVs in an expedi- tionary mode (where they are launched and recovered for each battery charge) is expected. Advances in AUV technology are pushing toward both ends of the size scale, with very large AUVs (Tangirala and Dzielski, 2007) proposed to conduct basin-wide surveys over longer periods and micro AUVs potentially hibernating at sites of suspected pending activity to facilitate extremely rapid event response. The level of autonomy for AUV operations should increase signifi- cantly in the near future. Survey AUVs are usually operated today with continuous monitoring from a surface vessel. In some cases, the presence of the surface vessel is required for updating the vehicleâs navigation sys- tem; in other cases the vessel monitors sensor data quality and remains in the vicinity should the vehicle surface early due to an unexpected fault. In many cases, the high cost of the vehicle combined with the possibility of problems makes continuous monitoring prudent. This situation is certain to change as navigation techniques evolve and operational confidence improves. When vehicle operations have reached a level of maturity that does not include continuous monitoring, oceanographic vessels will be needed to service fleets of AUVs. The size of the AUV fleets will be limited â http://robotik.dfki-bremen.de/de/forschung/projekte/unterwasserrobotik/uauv.html.
TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES AND THEIR IMPACT ON THE FLEET 39 by the ability of the vessel to deploy and recover vehicles continuously, quickly, and safely over a wide weather window. Autonomous system operations will require ships that are equipped with specialized acoustic systems, lab space and berthing for operators, and launch and recovery of OTS handling gear. Acoustic systems used to track multiple vehicles using ultrashort baseline (USBL) navigation with integrated acoustic communications capabilities will be required for sophisticated multivehicle operations. These systems will likely become part of the vessel infrastructure and should not be adversely affected by noise radiated by the vessel. Safe and efficient launch and recovery of a variety of AUVs will also place demands on future vessel design. Special- ized handling systems are and can be used with existing systemsâfor example, the deep water REMUS AUVâbut one OTS handling system is unlikely to be compatible with all AUVs. The operation of multiple AUVs from a single vessel will require careful layout of deck space and may even require a different trade-off between deck and laboratory space. Furthermore, the deck used for AUV recovery, whether aft or amidships, would benefit from being closer to the waterline than it is on most current research vessels. AUVs are also likely to alter the composition of seagoing scientific teams with possible impact on lab space and berthing. Fleets of AUVs could generate very large datasets requiring teams of skilled personnel for processing; alternatively, the data processing requirement could be decreased by the ability to connect to shore via broadband communications. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles A relatively new technology for oceanographic research is the unmanned aerial vehicle. Most current UAVs are derived from recent military applications and are fairly expensive and complex (Winokur, 2009). As the technology becomes proven and adapted to the ocean envi- ronment, less expensive UAVs are likely to be used for research in remote areas and those with large areal extents. In 2009, the National Oceanic and Atmopsheric Administration (NOAA) used a UAV to monitor the loca- tion and distribution of seals in the Bering Sea. In this case, the UAV was launched from a research vessel with a portable catapult and collected images and video before recovery with a catchline attached to a crane on deck. There are only brief mention of, and no current specifications for, UAVs in the UNOLS Science Mission Requirements for the Ocean and Regional class vessels (UNOLS Fleet Improvement Committee, 2003a, â http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/newsreleases/2009/aircraft060209.htm.
40 SCIENCE AT SEA 2003b). As the use of ship-launched UAVs increases, launch and recovery options are likely to be factored into future ship designs. REMOTELY OPERATED VEHICLES Remotely operated vehicles have been used to conduct oceanographic research since the 1960s. They are used for a variety of purposes, including water, rock, and biological sampling; deployment and recovery of equip- ment; collection of still and video imagery; and seafloor mapping. ROVs have a number of requirements in common with their AUV counterparts, including OTS handling systems that allow safe and efficient launch and recovery as well as limited freeboard of the deck from which they are launched. In addition, because ROVs are attached to a ship via cable, they frequently require a specialized winch and wire system that accurately monitors the length of cable between the instrument and the vessel and can recover wire very quickly in the event unexpected entanglements are encountered. ROVs generally also need good ship DP in order to reliably navigate through treacherous terrain to acquire samples. Support teams for ROVs can be as large as AUV teams, so similar concerns about avail- able lab space and berths apply. At present many research vessels can accommodate ROV operations without extensive modification, but use of these systems in the future would be improved by designing vessels that are more stable, with greater deck and lab space and more capable OTS launch and recovery systems. Future trends in ROV tools may follow the hybrid vehicle Nereus, which can operate as either an AUV for seafloor surveys or an ROV to collect samples (Bowen et al., 2008). An equally important trend will be robust ROVs that are capable of deploying and servicing heavy pieces of equipment and recovering large rock samples from the seafloor. SHIP-TO-SHORE COMMUNICATIONS AND TELEPRESENCE Real-time satellite Internet connections currently play an increas- ingly important role in operation of the UNOLS fleet and are expected to become even more significant in the future. At present, the larger ships in the fleet are equipped with the HiSeasNet system (http://hiseasnet.ucsd. edu), which provides shared connections at rates ranging from 64 to 256 kbps (kilobits per second) each way. Several UNOLS vessels are in the process of installing a system that will provide up to 432 kbps of addi- tional bandwidth. The availability of Internet connections on the UNOLS fleet serves several purposes. It contributes to science operations by allowing the exchange of data, models, and ideas between seagoing scientists and
TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES AND THEIR IMPACT ON THE FLEET 41 technicians and their colleagues ashore. Satellite observations and shore- based modeling of data collected aboard ship can be used to guide an experiment, and it is expected that this will occur with increasing sophis- tication and seamlessness in the near future. If complex instrumentation breaks down, satellite Internet connections allow shipboard technicians to interact with experts ashore to troubleshoot and make repairs. Internet availability also enhances educational and outreach activities by con- necting the world to the ship through telecasts, web pages, and blogs. It provides scientists and crew with access to the web and personal email, improving the quality of life aboard the ship and playing a significant role in crew retention. In 2005, several research cruises aboard UNOLS and NOAA ves- sels experimented with very high bandwidth connections that supported real-time digital video transmissions directly from an ROV to shore (i.e., Visions â05 [http://www.visions05.washington.edu/] and Lost City 2005 [http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/explorations/05lostcity/welcome.html]). In some cases, shore-based scientists sitting in a control room could participate in or even direct the exploration and sampling of the seafloor, while stream- ing live video to aquariums, museums, and schools served as a powerful education and public outreach tool. The NOAA ship Okeanos Explorer will make extensive use of such telepresence to engage shore-based scientists and the public in ocean exploration. Within the UNOLS fleet the trend toward increasing bandwidth and decreasing costs of digital connectivity will likely influence science opera- tions. However, it is unlikely to lead to decreasing demands for science berths. A typical science party includes personnel to control the experi- ment, run equipment, log operations, and process samples and data and provides berths to students who are receiving at-sea training and experi- ence that is critical to their career development. As experiments become increasingly multidisciplinary and technically complex, the demands for science berths will increase. Similarly, scheduling that optimizes the use of ship time by supporting several experiments on a single leg will also increase the demand for science berths. Viewed in this context, the emerging availability of a telepresence at sea provides a means to alleviate the pressure for science berths while enhancing the efficiency of operations. Although it is technically feasible to participate in science operations from a shore-based control center, it is difficult over the long term to balance the regular routine of shore-based life with the unpredictable 24-hour schedule of operations and decision making at sea. Instead, telepresence is likely to become a useful tool for involving shore-based scientists and technicians in intense components of a cruise that last only for a short duration, data analysis tasks that can
42 SCIENCE AT SEA be performed on a regular schedule, and troubleshooting of scientific equipment. OCEAN OBSERVING SYSTEMS The Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) is a National Science Foun- dation (NSF) contribution to national and international efforts for devel- opment of new long-term observing capabilities for the oceans. The OOI Science Plan (Daly et al., 2006) emerged from extensive community dis- cussions (National Research Council, 2000b; Jahnke et al., 2002, 2003; Glenn and Dickey, 2003; Purdy et al., 2003; Schofield and Tivey, 2004; Daly et al., 2006) that were motivated by the recognition that many important processes occur over time scales and spatial domains that cannot be observed effectively using conventional ship-based expeditions or satel- lite observing platforms. The OOI aims to establish an interactive, globally distributed network of sensors in the oceans that will use pioneering tech- nology to facilitate new research approaches. The system will have three components: (1) a global ocean observatory of highly capable moored buoys sited around the worldâs oceans, (2) a regional cabled ocean obser- vatory that will instrument the seafloor and overlying ocean on the scale of a tectonic plate, and (3) a coastal observatory that will include both fixed and relocatable shallow water mooring arrays. These three field components will be integrated by a system-wide cyberinfrastructure that will allow scientists to access data in near real time and adapt their experi- ments to changing conditions. The ship and deep sea submergence needs of the OOI were addressed in 2003 as part of a National Research Council (NRC) report on the imple- mentation of ocean observatories (National Research Council, 2003a) and in a report prepared by a UNOLS Working Group (Chave et al., 2003). Since 2003, the design of the OOI has evolved considerably in the face of technical challenges and budgetary constraints. As a result, the ship time requirements are substantially less than initially envisioned. In the current plan (data from NSF, 2009), the global component is composed of arrays of three to four moorings and accompanying gliders deployed at four sites: the Southern Ocean southwest of Chile, the Irminger Sea southeast of Greenland, Station Papa in the Northeast Pacific, and the Argentine Basin. Approximately one month of Global class ship time per site will be required annually to install and service the global stations. The regional cabled component includes three science nodes on the Juan de Fuca plate and will require approximately two months of a Global class ship and ROV to service each year. The coastal component comprises a variety of moorings, gliders, and AUVs that will be deployed in the permanent Endurance Array off the coast of the northeast Pacific and in the moveable
TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES AND THEIR IMPACT ON THE FLEET 43 Pioneer array first deployed in the Mid-Atlantic Bight. The coastal arrays will require approximately four months of combined Intermediate and Local ship time per year. In addition to these requirements, some special- ized tasks may require the use of chartered vessels, and it is likely that other vessels (such as the Ocean or Regional/Coastal classes) will be used as needed, especially when the Intermediate vessels retire. Although the NRC and UNOLS Working Group reports (Chave et al., 2003; National Research Council, 2003a) overestimated the ship time requirements of the OOI compared to its present scoping plan, many of their findings regarding the required capabilities of the ships still hold. UNOLS Global class ships were configured for programs such as the World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE) and the Joint Global Ocean Flux Study (JGOFS) that emphasized fuel economy and cruise duration, large shipboard science parties, extensive laboratory space at the expense of deck space and limited heavy lifting in OTS operations. The needs of the OOI are significantly different. Installation and maintenance of OOI components would benefit from large deck spaces, the ability to lift and deploy heavy loads over the side, DP systems that can hold station in high latitudes and rough weather, the ability to have ROV operations, and the ability to store and install short lengths of cable. Both the NRC and UNOLS Working Group reports (Chave et al., 2003; National Research Council, 2003a) noted that the current UNOLS fleet renewal plans do not adequately address the ship requirements of the OOI. In particular, they note that the new Ocean class vessels are not particularly well suited for ocean observatory operations. As discussed further in Chapter 4, the Science Mission Requirements (SMR) for Ocean class ships call for the ability to hold station in sea states up to 5, wind speeds up to 35 knots, and currents up to 2 knots. These specifications may not be sufficient for observatory purposes. In addition the SMR provides for only 1500-2000 square feet of aft deck space and winches and cranes that are similar to the current Global vessels and thus not well suited to heavy lifting. In addition the SMR calls for only 20-25 science berths, which may be inadequate for the long cruises to service buoys in remote locations or for housing the ROV, engineering, and science teams necessary for operations on the regional cabled observatory. However, response cruises or short repair cruises with an ROV could conceivably be staged with an Ocean class ship. SEAGOING MARINE SCIENCE TECHNICIANS AND THEIR EVOLUTION The preceding description of the rapidly evolving and highly techni- cal systems for future oceanographic research vessels likewise will place
44 SCIENCE AT SEA evolving and technical demands on the personnel sent to sea to operate and maintain these systems. In the past, science technicians provided by UNOLS ships to support seagoing equipment focused on deck operations and operated a relatively small inventory of the shipâs installed scientific equipment, such as echosounders. Science teams often brought their own experienced technicians to maintain and operate the equipment they brought aboard. Today, fewer seagoing scientists employ full-time techni- cians, and the array and complexity of both installed shipboard scientific equipment and user-supplied equipment has greatly expanded. As a result, shipboard science technicians must now play a variety of roles. They are liaisons between scientists and the shipâs crew, educators, and communicators; support many different science and data systems (includ- ing user-supplied systems they may never have seen before); collect data in the absence of a principal investigator; and assist in cruise planning and logistics (Fisichella, 2009). UNOLS institutions are finding it hard to recruit qualified technical support with such broad experience. In addition, the funded complement of shipboard technicians on UNOLS vessels is currently limited by supporting federal agencies, which has helped to slow growth in technical support costs. Ship operators, however, see the need for more, better-trained shipboard science techni- cians. The two shipboard technicians now carried on general purpose Global class vessels are a minimum for most cruises, and on many cruises they simply cannot attend fully to all of their assigned tasks. Future trends regarding shipboard support indicate that both the increasing complexity of tasks and the shortfall of technical expertise will continue in the near future. Future tasks will include facilitating ship- to-shore communications; supporting more extensive AUV, UAV, and ROV operations; servicing ocean observatory sensors and infrastructure, managing and interpreting larger and more complex datasets; and sup- porting shore-based as well as shipboard needs. Limited berthing space and telepresence may also lead to technical personnel being tasked with data collection and/or instrument deployment in lieu of shipboard sci- entists. In this mode, technical expertise and training become critical to mission success. In addition, seagoing technicians will be responsible for the safe operation of simultaneous tasks and balancing constraints such as space and power requirements. If more technicians are needed for ship or equipment support in the future, there will be further demand to find highly qualified personnel. Sharing technical personnel between operat- ing institutions may alleviate some of these issues, providing expertise and steady employment. However, this issue is unlikely to impact the design of future ships, with the exception of science berthing.
TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES AND THEIR IMPACT ON THE FLEET 45 CONCLUSIONS Technological advances in oceanographic sensors and platforms have enhanced the use of research vessels, allowing for vastly extended data collection at greater distances from the ship. Ocean observatories and autonomous vehicles will impact future vessel design requirements for acoustic communications, deck space, payload, berthing, launch and recovery, and stability but will not lessen the need for vessels them- selves. Aloft sensors, especially those used for calibration of satellite data, will require high spaces with adequate lines of sight. There is need for increased ship-to-shore bandwidth, in order to facilitate real-time, shore- based modeling and data analysis in support of underway programs, allow more participation of shore-based scientists via telepresence, and increase opportunities for outreach. Dynamic positioning systems are very likely to become standard components of oceanographic research vessels to support increasing use of offboard vehicles that require precise positioning. Future research vessels will require improved over-the-side handling systems to facilitate deployment and recovery of instruments in higher sea states. Laboratory and deck spaces will increase in size, in order to allow deployment, recovery, and maintenance of large and technically complex instruments such as AUVs, ROVs, and large systems (e.g., moorings) that will support long-term ocean observing. Servicing ocean observatories and launching and recovering autonomous vehicles will result in increased demands for ship time. To support these systems and data, more highly qualified and trained seagoing technicians will be needed.