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Critical Infrastructure for Ocean Research and Societal Needs in 2030 (2011)

Chapter: 4 Infrastructure Needs and Recommendations

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Suggested Citation:"4 Infrastructure Needs and Recommendations." National Research Council. 2011. Critical Infrastructure for Ocean Research and Societal Needs in 2030. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13081.
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4
Infrastructure Needs and Recommendations

The science research questions posed in Chapter 2 and the infrastructure categories described in Chapter 3 lead to a number of major ocean infrastructure needs anticipated for 2030. First, this chapter details overarching infrastructure needs related to a majority of the scientific questions and societal objectives discussed elsewhere in the report. Each societal objective is then examined for needs of special note, followed by a summary of recommendations regarding ocean research infrastructure for national needs. Finally, Table 4.1 summarizes the categories of infrastructure. The table details the essential capabilities each type of asset will need in 2030, as well as capabilities to be advanced or developed. It is worth noting that the complexities of dealing with the harsh ocean environment create special challenges for building and maintaining robust research infrastructure.

OVERARCHING INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDS

Ships, satellite remote sensing, arrays of in situ observations, and shore-based laboratories are the foundation for ocean research infrastructure. The most essential infrastructure component will continue to be the ability for scientists to go to sea aboard research vessels, a capability that complements and enables the increasing suite of autonomous technologies and remote sensing data expected to be available in the next two decades. Ships form the backbone for all ocean observations; for example, they serve as platforms for sample collection, for deployment of remotely operated and autonomous vehicles, and as tenders for instrument maintenance. Shore-based laboratory facilities will continue to be required as a natural extension to ship-based sampling, for analytical work, and for coastal observations.

Several space-based observations are key for the ocean sciences, such as vector sea surface winds, all-weather sea surface temperatures, sea ice distribution and thickness, ocean color and ecosystem dynamics, dust transport, sea surface height and topography, and mass balance of ice sheets. Planned missions with sensors that provide global coverage of ocean salinity1 and atmospheric carbon dioxide2 will add to this measurement base.

The global, internationally supported array of 3,000 Argo profiling floats (measuring temperature, salinity, and depth) is another critical component. Expansion of this network, both in terms of numbers and capabilities, will further enable study of the ocean’s physical, biological, and chemical processes while providing essential data for assimilation into global models. Sensor capabilities for profiling floats are expanding (e.g., oxygen [O2], bio-optics, nitrates, rainfall rates, vertical current speeds), with additional sensors for pH, pCO2, and acoustics in development.

Extensive fleets of underwater gliders and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) capable of operating in both expeditionary and long-duration modes, outfitted with a much broader suite of multidisciplinary, biofouling-resistant sensors will also be needed (e.g., physical [conductivity, temperature, and depth; stable salinity], chemical [O2, pH, nitrate], biological [acoustic, genomic], biogeochemical, and imagery [visual, acoustic]). AUVs will be capable of providing increased power and space for advanced sensors and more complex payloads. Moorings and ships with more capable sensors will provide local refinement needed for further quantification of processes measured and offer replenishment to AUVs operating in the vicinity.

The nested observation network together with embedded campaigns described above place a premium on widely shared data; this will achieve greater success if incentives are included for commercial operations in the coastal region to participate in data collection and use. Data management and data repositories are and will become increasingly important given the large data sets being collected for both global and regional studies, including climatological, oceanographic, geological, chemical, and biological data. Many of the science questions and societal objectives will require adaptive sampling as well as event response capabilities (see Box 4.1).

Suggested Citation:"4 Infrastructure Needs and Recommendations." National Research Council. 2011. Critical Infrastructure for Ocean Research and Societal Needs in 2030. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13081.
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BOX 4.1

Ocean Infrastructure Needs: A Case Study from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico provides a example of how infrastructure from a diverse range of academic, federal, and commercial entities was required to respond to the disaster in a timely fashion. A notable feature is that no single sector (government, industry, or academia) had sufficient infrastructure to adequately handle the incident. Instead, assets from many sources and sectors were pooled for the effort. Response was limited to those sectors that had available resources that could be provided in a timely fashion, arguing for some infrastructure redundancy to be built into future inventories. The response to the oil spill was coordinated through the federal government, which reached out to external partners to develop an ocean observing capacity to improve field planning and forecast skill for the trajectory of the oil. The Navy provided ocean current forecasts informed by a variety of data sources. Satellite and high-frequency (HF) CODAR data provided by the federal government and universities were complemented by a wide range of in situ measurements. Ship-based measurements were supplemented by in situ drifters, underwater gliders, and remotely operated vehicles (figure, below). Data and findings were communicated through specialized web portals that were designed to facilitate collaboration between far-flung team members. For example, the glider network deployed to study the circulation represented assets from the U.S. government, industry, nonprofit groups, and universities throughout the country. The availability of web-based social networks allowed this distributed team to work together to define circulation patterns and better understand the potential dispersion of oil throughout the Gulf.

Some of the infrastructure deployed during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The color map and vectors represents a Naval Oceanographic Office ocean model simulation, and graphics and tracks represent in situ assets that were deployed in response to the spill.

Some of the infrastructure deployed during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The color map and vectors represents a Naval Oceanographic Office ocean model simulation, and graphics and tracks represent in situ assets that were deployed in response to the spill.

Enabling Stewardship of the Environment

The ability to observe, understand, and predict changes to the environment, such as the climate system, ocean chemistry, ecosystems, and the water cycle, requires a comprehensive array of ocean infrastructure. Importantly, these problems demand capacity at both global scales and regional scales, to examine areas of high stress (e.g., coastal zone) or rapid change (e.g., polar regions). Environmental stewardship demands the full array of present capabilities in the ocean sciences and is a major impetus for needed improvements in both sensor and sampling capabilities to meet needs in 2030.

Another component essential for environmental stewardship are accurate measures of sea level, presently accomplished through a network of tide gauges as well as observations of precipitation over the open ocean, river runoff, sea surface height, and surface currents. This societal need is also driving the development of comprehensive global ocean models at higher spatial and temporal resolu

Suggested Citation:"4 Infrastructure Needs and Recommendations." National Research Council. 2011. Critical Infrastructure for Ocean Research and Societal Needs in 2030. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13081.
×

tion, with coupled biological and chemical systems, as well as the need for specific process models and the availability of additional capabilities (e.g., tide models to reliably pre­dict storm surge associated with sea level rise). Data will be assimilated into modeling capabilities that include fully coupled air-sea-land regional forecast models.

In addition, infrastructure assets targeted specifically to observe impacts of geoengineering (e.g., deep ocean obser­vations for liquid CO2 sequestration; upper ocean observing systems for iron fertilization experiments) will be required as the likelihood of such activities increases. Stewardship of the environment will also require the capability and flexibility to make disparate, distributed infrastructure assets available in the event of oil spills and industrial accidents (see Box 4.1).

Protecting Life and Property

The infrastructure required to address questions associated with the protection of life and property can be subdivided into areas related to the solid earth, weather and climate, and human health. The hazards associated with each of these areas can call for very different types of observa­tions in addition to observations of many common processes. However, all efforts to protect life and property have three shared attributes. In each case:

  • The primary objective is to increase the likelihood of warning populations in advance of destructive events, thereby limiting the magnitude of the impact.

  • A key observational strategy is to focus on regions prone to certain events (e.g., monitoring the Casca­dian margin for earthquakes, or urban beaches for pathogens).

  • Meeting the primary objective-timely warnings-requires an increase in predictive capability that ingests significant volumes of real-time multidis­ciplinary data and information rapidly across vast distances.

For example, tsunami prediction is dependent on a very large network of pressure-sensing buoys that moni­tor the ocean for tsunami-generating waves. High-power and bandwidth cabled seafloor observatories, networks of seismometers, passive acoustic systems, and a broad suite of sensors deployed on autonomous or moored platforms beneath, at and above the ocean or ice surface are also necessary infrastructure for earthquake and volcano hazard assessments. Accurate maps of the seafloor are a necessary prerequisite for solid earth hazard assessments, whether to improve predictions of tsunami travel times or submarine volcanic eruptions. Finally, communications systems that are independent of local power fluctuations should be installed in threatened communities to provide warnings and educational programs undertaken so that populations understand what to do when an event occurs.

Quantifying the role of humans in altering coastal eco­systems will require sustained observations (especially in urbanized or populated coastal regions), as well as utiliza­tion of new suites of biological and genomic sensors and instruments to detect and quantify a variety of pollutants and emerging contaminants or pathogens. Regional spatial map­ping will need to be coupled to data-assimilative physical and biological models. This will require augmenting marine stations and coastal networks with mobile platforms capable of providing the spatial data in a sustained manner as well as during events. These coupled networks can be combined with marine geospatial planning tools and high-resolution regional models nested with forecast models to provide forecasts with sufficient accuracy to assist in marine planning to mitigate physical changes (rising sea level, coastal inunda­tion). The development of cheap and fast analysis systems that can be broadly distributed to coastal areas as well as developing nations will be important to address ecosystem and human-health issues on local, regional, and global scales.

Promoting Sustainable Economic Vitality

The ocean infrastructure needs associated with eco­nomic vitality involve two disparate approaches. The first approach involves the identification of resources, whether food-based, energy, minerals and materials, or aesthetic and social (e.g., tourism, recreation). The second approach in­volves an assessment of the impacts of resource extraction or utilization, either to minimize environmental degradation or to ensure sustainable use. Observing systems will thus need to support improved understanding of the factors that enable efficient and effective resource extraction while increasing the understanding of ocean ecosystem health, and provid­ing the observational capability that will allow monitoring of commercial activity and its consequences. Examples include assessment of fisheries stocks, identification of the location and characteristics of potential energy sources from gas hydrates, or identification of the preferred sites of wind farms based on wind intensity, variability, and persistence. Each has specific observational requirements. For example, a better understanding of the distribution and characteristics of methane hydrates requires subsurface remote sensing and safe drilling capabilities. In contrast, surface-based radars, vector winds from space, and high-resolution models are re­quired for site assessments for wind farms. Placing HF radars on offshore installations for commercial activities such as wind farms, aquaculture, or seafloor resource extraction is a desirable expansion of capability. Coastal and marine spatial planning will be needed to organize all of the competing uses in the ocean (CEQ, 2010).

In contrast, the determination of the environmental effects of industrial activity will involve repeated surveys or continuous monitoring to detect changes in ecosystem struc­ture as well as process studies designed to understand eco­system response to perturbations characteristic of industrial

Suggested Citation:"4 Infrastructure Needs and Recommendations." National Research Council. 2011. Critical Infrastructure for Ocean Research and Societal Needs in 2030. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13081.
×

activity or commercial fisheries. Thus, infrastructure needs include efficient methods for a full suite of platforms and sensors for mapping the benthic environment, fluid sampling, measuring ocean properties, assessing ecosystem structure, and detecting changes that result from geoengineering or in­dustrial activity. This argues for a complex and diverse set of infrastructure deployed at sites of major resource extraction.

Increasing Fundamental Scientific Understanding

Infrastructure that can be used to address fundamental research questions need targeted observation, analysis, and modeling capabilities at specific spatial and temporal scales, which can be embedded in a larger dynamical context. Increases in fundamental understanding are built upon the global and regional infrastructure described in previous sec­tions, but very often also enable the ability to address societal concerns. Needs highlighted in this section will not only sup­port the fundamental science questions but will also help to achieve societal objectives discussed elsewhere in the report.

Sampling needs include novel biogeochemical sensors that are resistant to biofouling and adaptable for multiple platforms (e.g., ships, drifters, floats, AUVs, moorings) to study changes in ocean properties (e.g., acidification); advanced biological and genomic sensors to identify and quantify organisms from microbes to marine mammals (e.g., optical and acoustical techniques for zooplankton biomass and community structure); sensors that can sample the deep ocean biosphere to inform origin of life studies and to understand how life responds to various kinds of stresses; high-resolution analytical tools that enable detailed analysis of carbon components in the ocean; the capability to inves­tigate sensory systems and organism communication in the ocean with advanced chemical, acoustic, and optical sensors on scales from microbes to whales; and satellite or airborne capabilities to study ocean-atmosphere fluxes (e.g., heat, radiative, mass, chemical, biological).

Other infrastructure required for fundamental under­standing includes marine geospatial planning tools that are coupled to assimilative models in order to manage a variety of ocean observations; sustained observations of coastal seafloor boundary changes and fluxes via mapping, seismic, geomagnetic, drilling, borehole, and sediment-water inter­face observation; advanced downhole remote sensing tools to understand fluxes, processes, and reservoirs related to the formation of Earth’s lithosphere; creation of subsurface acoustic positional networks; development of advanced fore­casting models with petascale or exascale3 computing capa­bilities to address specific processes that require high spatial resolution computations; and seafloor cabled observatories, which provide a continuous high bandwidth and power for sampling a full range of geophysical variables, benthic com­munities, and the overlying water column.

SUMMARY OF OCEAN INFRASTRUCTURE RECOMMENDATIONS

Recommendation: To ensure that the United States has the capacity in 2030 to undertake and benefit from knowledge and innovations possible with oceanographic research, the nation should

  • Implement a comprehensive, long-term research fleet plan to retain access to the sea.

  • Recover U.S. capability to access fully and par­tially ice-covered seas.

  • Expand abilities for autonomous monitoring at a wide range of spatial and temporal scales with greater sensor and platform capabilities.

  • Enable sustained, continuous time-series measurements.

  • Maintain continuity of satellite remote sens­ing and communication capabilities for oceano­graphic data and sustain plans for new satellite platforms, sensors, and communication systems.

  • Support continued innovation in ocean infrastruc­ture development. Of particular note is the need to develop in situ sensors, especially biogeochemical sensors.

  • Engage allied disciplines and diverse fields to leverage technological developments outside oceanography.

  • Increase the number and capabilities of broadly accessible computing and modeling facilities with exascale or petascale capability that are dedicated to future oceanographic needs.

  • Establish broadly accessible virtual (distributed) data centers that have seamless integration of fed­eral, state, and locally held databases, accompany­ing metadata compliant with proven standards, and intuitive archiving and synthesizing tools.

  • Examine and adopt proven data management practices from allied disciplines.

  • Facilitate broad community access to infrastruc­ture assets, including mobile and fixed platforms and costly analytical equipment.

  • Expand interdisciplinary education and promote a technically skilled workforce.

3

Most current computing is done at the terascale. Petascale, which is currently being developed, is 1,000 times faster than terascale. Exascale is another 1,000 times faster than petascale (NRC, 2008c).

Suggested Citation:"4 Infrastructure Needs and Recommendations." National Research Council. 2011. Critical Infrastructure for Ocean Research and Societal Needs in 2030. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13081.
×

TABLE 4.1 Summary of Shared Infrastructure Assets and Required Capabilities for 2030

Infrastructure Category and Essential Role in 2030

Capability to Be Advanced

Capability to Be Developed

MOBILE PLATFORMS

Research Vessels

Provide access to the sea for process study campaigns, event-driven responses, surveys and mapping, and routine monitoring. Ship-based work will be widely augmented with over-the-side platforms, as well as remote data and modeling results.

• Fleet planning as part of a national 5 to 10 year infrastructure review process, including platform construction, renewal, and onboard equipment upgrades

 

 

• Continued availability of special purpose ships that can also be used for general purpose research

 

 

• Flexibility in fleet scheduling, for efficient use, event response, and surge capacity

• International sharing agreements and possible leasing arrangements to meet special needs (demand for a surge, unforeseen events, and special purpose capabilities like icebreaking or scientific ocean drilling)

 

• Ability to meet increased demand for rapid launch and recovery for diverse arrays of autonomous platforms

• Simultaneous over-the-side operations (e.g., multiple autonomous platforms, towed systems, and/or submersibles, perhaps involving multiple wires)

 

• Increased use of volunteer observing ships to collect and transmit underway scientific data to national repositories for verification and analysis

 

Submersible Platforms

HOVs and ROVs

Provide water column and seafloor access for process study campaigns, event-driven responses, surveys and mapping as well as routine monitoring, and sampling.

• Improved ability to recover water column, seafloor, and subseafloor samples

• Continued development of advanced ROV capabilities (e.g., higher power, greater depth ratings, sampling tools, sensors)

 

• Broader ranges of biological, chemical, and optical sensors

 

 

• More sophisticated sonar systems for bathymetry and water column uses

 

 

• Advancements in underwater navigation for more precise and geodetic referenced vehicle locations

• Permanent, large-scale subsurface acoustic positional networks (analogous to GPS) for improved undersea navigation

 

• Continued development of hybrid ROVs

 

 

 

• Broader use of nuclear submarines and air-independent propulsion submarines for polar research

Towed Systems

Provide observations and sampling from near surface to just above the seafloor, with use on research vessels or ships of opportunity.

• Broader ranges of biological, chemical, and imaging sensors

• Reconnaissance sampling using high-speed data uplinks that allow for simultaneous video and sample recovery

Suggested Citation:"4 Infrastructure Needs and Recommendations." National Research Council. 2011. Critical Infrastructure for Ocean Research and Societal Needs in 2030. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13081.
×

Infrastructure Category and Essential Role in 2030

Capability to Be Advanced

Capability to Be Developed

Autonomous and Langrangian Systems (e.g., Drifters, Floats, Gliders, AUVs)

Provide scalable, adaptable arrays with near real time observations for process study campaigns, event-driven responses, surveys and mapping, routine monitoring, and assimilation into forecast models.

• Scalable, multiplatform arrays capable of local, regional, and global-scale observations at broader ranges of spatial and temporal resolution

• Equip platforms with broader suites of multidisciplinary in situ sensors (detailed in section below on in situ sensors)

 

• Improved battery power for increased mission duration, expanded range, and ability to support more sensors

• Autonomous refueling, at-sea energy harvesting, or other methods for replenishing or self-generating power

 

• Expanded ocean depth capability for a variety of platforms

• Full ocean depth capability for a variety of platforms

 

• AUVs with larger payloads, higher endurance, and ability to work in rough conditions (e.g., high currents, sea states, ice coverage) and at all expected working temperatures

 

 

• Improved under ice capability for all autonomous platforms

 

 

 

• Increased deployment options for autonomous platforms such as volunteer ships or aerial vehicles

 

• Advancements in underwater navigation for more precise and geodetic referenced vehicle locations

• Permanent, large-scale subsurface acoustic positional networks (analogous to GPS) for improved undersea navigation

Developmental Concepts

Nuture long-term, high-risk, high-reward infrastructure assets.

• Continued support for unique prototypes (e.g., benthic landers, AUV seaplanes)

• Autonomous refueling, at-sea energy harvesting, or other methods for self-generating power

FIXED PLATFORMS AND SYSTEMS

Moorings

Provide surface and water column observations with high spatial and temporal resolution, including persistence at key locations and groundtruth for remote sensing. Provide full integration with mobile autonomous systems.

• Continued, sustained support of centers for deep ocean mooring design, construction and deployment

 

 

• Ability for docking mobile autonomous systems (e.g., AUVs, benthic crawlers)

 

 

Cabled Seafloor Observatories

 

• Provide continuous real-time power and communication to coastal, deep ocean, and seafloor instruments and networks. Routine interactions with mobile autonomous systems.

• Ability for docking mobile autonomous systems (e.g., AUVs, benthic crawlers)

 

 

 

• Multiple data extraction modes (e.g., long range acoustic communication)

 

 

• Autonomous or manual release of automatically collected data capsules and samples

Borehole Sensor Systems

• Provide routine and continuous in situ measurements of subseafloor properties (e.g., pressure, hydrology, geology, chemistry, biology).

• Continued developed of long-endurance sensors (e.g., chemical, physical) and clean systems for microbial studies

• Local energy harvesting and data telemetry (e.g., acoustic modems, LED offload to nearby transiting platforms)

Suggested Citation:"4 Infrastructure Needs and Recommendations." National Research Council. 2011. Critical Infrastructure for Ocean Research and Societal Needs in 2030. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13081.
×

Infrastructure Category and Essential Role in 2030

Capability to Be Advanced

Capability to Be Developed

 

• Networking borehole sensors with cabled seafloor observatories for coupled studies of the subseafloor, the seafloor, and adjacent water column

 

IN SITU SENSORS

Provide essential measurements over very broad spatial and temporal scales. Sensor suites mounted on multiple platforms provide continuous observations and sustained ocean presence.

• Advances in sensor technologies that increase survivability while decreasing power consumption and cost

• Robust, long-endurance autonomy (e.g., communications, power) in all environments including extremes of temperature, chemistry, and pressure

 

• Sensor network capabilities to measure optical, physical, and biogeochemical properties (e.g., salinity, oxygen, pH, carbon export)

 

 

• Biofouling resistant sensors (especially for salinity), in order to increase longevity and mission duration

 

 

• Reliable, foul-proof sensors for the upper 5 m of the ocean and in coastal regions

 

 

• Long endurance sensors for deep ocean surveys

 

 

• Embedded underwater navigation for more precise and geodetic referenced sensor locations

 

Physical

Provide measurements essential to physical process studies and baseline dynamical contexts for biogeochemical sensors.

• Measurements of the exchange of mass (e.g., gases, aerosols, sea spray, water vapor), momentum, and energy (including heat) across the air-sea interface in a broad variety of conditions (e.g., high wind conditions, severe storms)

 

 

• Techniques to infer gas exchange under high wind conditions with chemically active (e.g., DMS) and inert (e.g., CO2, Ar) atmospheric gases

 

 

• Fully networked and widely accessible data on river outflows, precipitation, and from tide gauges

• Optical imagery for spatial and temporal observations of ocean surface, estuarine, and riverine processes

Chemical

Provide routine time-series measurements for major and trace elements, carbon species, nutrients, and pollutants in a broad range of environments.

• Observations of the carbon dioxide system (including pH), major and micronutrients, and elemental speciation of key micronutrients (such as iron)

 

 

• High-resolution analytical tools that enable detailed analysis of oceanic carbon components

 

 

• More portable micronutrient analytical systems and speciation analysis for assessing micronutrient speciation and determining its influence on biological activity

 

 

 

• Sensor methods for surface micro-layer chemistry

 

• Sensors for identification of chemical pollutants

• Cheap, easily available sampling systems for testing for chemical pollutants

Suggested Citation:"4 Infrastructure Needs and Recommendations." National Research Council. 2011. Critical Infrastructure for Ocean Research and Societal Needs in 2030. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13081.
×

Infrastructure Category and Essential Role in 2030

Capability to Be Advanced

Capability to Be Developed

Biological

Provide routine measurements with small, inexpensive sensors that replicate current complicated laboratory techniques and yield data for developing coupled models.

• Development of methods to obtain organism-specific growth rates and advective, turbulent, and sinking fluxes

 

 

• Sensors for identification of plankton biomass and community structure—genetic, imaging, and acoustic

• Cheap, species survey sampling systems for broad distribution throughout coastal regions

 

• Sensors for identification of higher trophic levels (e.g., fish, marine mammals)—genetic, imaging, and acoustic

• High throughput genomic, protionomic, metabolamic techniques

 

• Sensors for toxin identification (including harmful algal blooms and pathogens)

• Cheap, small toxin sampling systems for broad distribution throughout coastal regions

 

 

• Wide-area benthic sensors for seafloor mapping to provide estimates of benthic community state and function

Geological/Geophysical

Provide measurements for understanding solid earth processes of the ocean crust and mitigating geohazards.

• Seafloor strain measurements (e.g., extensometer), seismic reflection and refraction to detect seismic events in remote areas of the ocean

• Global-scale, reliable, continuous sensor networks for real-time measurement and warning of seismic, volcanic, or mass wasting events

 

• Ability to measure bathymetry and processes occurring beneath and at the margins of glaciers, ice shelves, and sea ice including observations at the base of the ice canopy

 

 

• Deepwater mapping systems with better sensors (e.g., lower power) and automatic seafloor classification algorithms

• Wide-area benthic sensors for seafloor mapping at high resolution, including the ability to penetrate the seafloor

 

• EM sensors that provide proxies for crustal fluids

 

SAMPLING SYSTEMS

Provide systematic collection of physical samples for study, routine monitoring, and groundtruth of in situ sensors and remote sensing.

 

 

Chemical

 

• Broader availability of uncontaminated systems and methods (e.g., GEOTRACES rosettes)

• Clean and compact systems that could be deployed on autonomous platforms and/or moorings

 

Biological

 

 

• Automatic classification for biological species including automated image recognition, tagging, and acoustic spectroscopy

 

Geological

 

• Broader availability of shallow crust coring systems aboard multi-purpose or leased vessels

 

 

• Broader use of seafloor rock drills on purposed ROVs

 

Suggested Citation:"4 Infrastructure Needs and Recommendations." National Research Council. 2011. Critical Infrastructure for Ocean Research and Societal Needs in 2030. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13081.
×

Infrastructure Category and Essential Role in 2030

Capability to Be Advanced

Capability to Be Developed

REMOTE SENSING

Provide remote observations over broad temporal and spatial scales for sea surface height, temperature, and salinity; ocean color; winds; precipitation; ice; and radiation.

• Swath altimeters that provide higher resolution sea surface height fields and submesoscale (<10 km) resolution closer to the coast

 

 

• Improved coastal remote sensing algorithms for ocean color

 

 

• Nested imagery in order to scale spatial and temporal variabilities for comparison to point measurements

 

 

• Interferometer scatterometers that provide higher resolution wind fields closer to the coast

 

 

• LIDAR for near-surface ocean and ice sheet measurements

 

 

• Sensors that combine infrared and microwave channels to provide all-weather sea surface temperature fields with higher spatial and temporal resolution

 

 

 

• Higher spectral resolution

 

 

• Remote estimates of river outflows and tidal, surge, and inundation elevations

 

 

• More robust wetland remote sensing to include key biological, geological, and chemical parameters

 

 

• Capability to study ocean-atmosphere fluxes

Satellite

Provide global to regional scale remote observations.

• Sustained gravity missions that inform crustal, ocean circulation, and geoid observations

 

 

 

• Geostationary ocean color and LIDAR remote sensing capability

Airborne

Provide low-cost, regional to local-scale remote observations with adaptive and event-driven capabilities.

• Increased use of unmanned aerial vehicles for campaigns and monitoring

• Use of commercial aircraft to collect and transmit ocean surface observations

 

• Ability to remotely measure ocean surface and ice properties beneath cloud cover

 

Fixed Systems

Extend observational systems to increasing numbers offshore, land, and ice locations for both fundamental research (e.g., coastal circulation models) and applied needs (e.g., search and rescue, safe offshore platform operations).

• Increased use of electro-optical and infrared instruments for monitoring and long time-series data

 

 

• Completion of the land-based HF radar network

• Extension of broad area surface current arrays (e.g., HF radar, optical imagery) to offshore activities (e.g., offshore platforms, wind farms, volunteer observing ships)

 

 

• Increased use of tethered aerial platforms

 

 

• Increased data gathering capabilities through expanded use of commercial ocean activities

Suggested Citation:"4 Infrastructure Needs and Recommendations." National Research Council. 2011. Critical Infrastructure for Ocean Research and Societal Needs in 2030. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13081.
×

Infrastructure Category and Essential Role in 2030

Capability to Be Advanced

Capability to Be Developed

MODELING AND COMPUTATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE

Community-based centers with capabilities for increased resolution models supporting basic research and operational assimilative predictions.

• Broadly accessible centers with exascale or petascale capability to support and run coupled models; store and manage vast amounts of diverse information; visualize, query and interpret data in four dimensions; and also mine, distill, and summarize key information

• Direct assimilation of many additional channels of remotely sensed and in situ global array data (versus algorithmic or other preprocessing of the data)

 

• Skillful parameterizations of upper ocean mixing, including production of marine aerosols and indirect climatic influences with reliable methods to separate marine aerosol from other type of aerosols (i.e., land, pollution)

 

 

• Regional predictions of anthropogenic CO2 uptake and release

 

 

• Increased coupling of biogeochemical and physical models

 

 

• Quantitative rate laws that can be incorporated into biogeochemical models

• Food web models that can accurately predict the competitive success of specific taxa

 

• Integration of the deep ocean with the shelf seas for ecosystem-based management, including safety and environmental impacts for various industrial activities

• Marine resource estimates for projected growth of industrial activities in the oceans

 

• Coupled ice, ocean, and atmospheric models to predict ice movement and thickness and to link with observed changes in ecosystems and biogeochemical cycles in polar regions

 

 

• Coupled ocean, surface wave, and atmospheric models to improve simulations of severe storms pathways and coastal inundation

• High-resolution hurricane forecast models that are much more sensitive to effects of the ocean, adjacent coastal lands, and estuaries on storm intensity

 

• Tsunami arrival times and inundation areas

• Advanced tsunami warning systems with low false-alarm rates for coastal residents, especially in developing and under-developed countries

 

 

• Estimating outcomes of geoengineering experiments

DATA MANAGEMENT

Manage vast amounts of multidisciplinary data with high informational value for fundamental or applied research and societal use as well as ensure access for a broad base of users.

• Improved approaches to analyze data using common frameworks and interchangeable lexicon (e.g., informatics)

• International agreements to make databases broadly accessible

 

• Archiving and synthesizing tools for metadata and data

• Integrated, open access to local, state, and federal metadata and data resources

 

• Protein data banks, sequencing facilities and databases, with metadata on instrumentation, calibrations, analytical sources of error

 

 

• Virtual (distributed) center for river outflow, precipitation, and tide gauge data

 

Suggested Citation:"4 Infrastructure Needs and Recommendations." National Research Council. 2011. Critical Infrastructure for Ocean Research and Societal Needs in 2030. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13081.
×

Infrastructure Category and Essential Role in 2030

Capability to Be Advanced

Capability to Be Developed

 

• Virtual (distributed) center for land dust transport, waves, surf conditions and surface currents from land, coastal and offshore sites

 

 

• Sustained, expanded, broadly accessible (distributed) virtual centers for bathymetry, sidescan, multibeam and seismic data storage

 

 

DATA TELEMETRY AND COMMUNICATIONS

 

Maintain and expand robust two-way communications for a broad range of ocean research infrastructure.

• Expand redundant, parallel, and standard communication pathways to avoid dependence on a single infrastructure provider

• Establish “store and forward” communication capabilities using industrial partners (e.g., passenger planes in high latitudes, offshore commercial operations, etc.)

 

ENABLING ORGANIZATIONS

 

 

Sponsors

 

Maintain U.S. ocean science strength through diversity of funding sources and the variety of sectors represented, ensuring flexibility in how research is performed and evaluated.

• Greater use of interagency and cross-sector programs (e.g., National Oceanographic Partnership Program)

• Increased private-sector participation via foundations and service sectors of the ocean industry (e.g., oil and gas, shipping)

 

Shipboard Technical Support

 

Provide professional technical support to embarked research teams.

• Broader skill sets to keep pace with emerging new systems, techniques and communications

 

Community Facilities and Centers

 

Provide and sustain physical or virtual (distributed) advanced community-wide facilities for ocean research infrastructure where users can interact with cutting-edge technology in a manner that simplifies operations and maintenance requirements and/or lowers purchase and operation costs.

• Broader access to calibration standards and complex (chemical, genetic, optical, acoustic) analytical instruments

• Increased private-sector participation via foundations and service sectors of the ocean industry 

 

• Shore-based laboratory that provide capabilities for high-throughput measurements and maintain complicated, expensive equipment

 

 

• Sustained expertise to continued operations and increased access to polar field stations

• Community facilities that support scientific operations in all types of extreme or remote environments

 

• Biological laboratory facilities for constraining organism life history parameters for ecosystem models (e.g., sensitivity to temperature, nutrient concentration, presence of other organisms)

 

Suggested Citation:"4 Infrastructure Needs and Recommendations." National Research Council. 2011. Critical Infrastructure for Ocean Research and Societal Needs in 2030. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13081.
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The United States has jurisdiction over 3.4 million square miles of ocean in its exclusive economic zone, a size exceeding the combined land area of the 50 states. This expansive marine area represents a prime national domain for activities such as maritime transportation, national security, energy and mineral extraction, fisheries and aquaculture, and tourism and recreation. However, it also carries with it the threat of damaging and outbreaks of waterborne pathogens. The 2010 Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami are vivid reminders that ocean activities and processes have direct human implications both nationally and worldwide, understanding of the ocean system is still incomplete, and ocean research infrastructure is needed to support both fundamental research and societal priorities.

Given current struggles to maintain, operate, and upgrade major infrastructure elements while maintaining a robust research portfolio, a strategic plan is needed for future investments to ensure that new facilities provide the greatest value, least redundancy, and highest efficiency in terms of operation and flexibility to incorporate new technological advances. Critical Infrastructure for Ocean Research and Societal Needs in 2030 identifies major research questions anticipated to be at the forefront of ocean science in 2030 based on national and international assessments, input from the worldwide scientific community, and ongoing research planning activities. This report defines categories of infrastructure that should be included in planning for the nation's ocean research infrastructure of 2030 and that will be required to answer the major research questions of the future.

Critical Infrastructure for Ocean Research and Societal Needs in 2030 provides advice on the criteria and processes that could be used to set priorities for the development of new ocean infrastructure or replacement of existing facilities. In addition, this report recommends ways in which the federal agencies can maximize the value of investments in ocean infrastructure.

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