Yeah Buoy! OSU’s Final OOI Deployment

SciShort_6_11_15The National Science Foundation (NSF) launched the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) in 2009 to better monitor the impacts of climate change on the world’s oceans. Now OSU researchers have launched a research buoy and two undersea gliders, which are all decked out with high-tech oceanographic measurement tools, the last pieces of a very expensive puzzle.

It’s the most expensive single investment in oceanic monitoring in US history, so expectations are high for the data it will return.

Jack Barth is an OSU oceanographer who has worked on OOI since the beginning.

“For the first time, the science community will be able to monitor and assess all components of the ocean simultaneously, from the physics to the biology to the chemistry,” said Barth in a recent press release.

Ed Dever, a professor in the OSU College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences (CEOAS), also commented on the promise of the project.

“This observatory opens up a new type of window to the sea, with environmental data available in ‘real time’ to researchers, educators, policy makers, and ocean users. In the short term, it will be a laboratory for the study of processes in one of the great coastal upwelling systems on our planet,” said Dever in the same press release. “In the long term, the information it collects will allow us, our children, and our grandchildren to better understand the impacts of global climate change on the coastal ocean off Oregon and Washington.”

The Endurance Array, which Dever is the project manager for, lies off the Pacific Northwest coast and has become a hotbed of problems needing good data, such as hypoxic areas (“dead zones”) and subduction zone earthquakes.

The buoy was deployed just a mile away from Nye Beach in Newport and is ready to take punishment from waves. How ready we are remains to be seen.

By Sidney Reilly