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Science at Sea: Meeting Future Oceanographic Goals with a Robust Academic Research Fleet Science at Sea Meeting Future Oceanographic Goals with a Robust Academic Research Fleet Committee on Evolution of the National Oceanographic Research Fleet Ocean Studies Board Division on Earth and Life Studies NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu
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Science at Sea: Meeting Future Oceanographic Goals with a Robust Academic Research Fleet THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by Contract/Grant No. N00014-05-G-0288, TO 17 between the National Academy of Sciences and the Office of Naval Research. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-14557-2 International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-14557-0 Cover: Images from top to bottom counterclockwise: The image of original R/V Atlantis (1931-1964) was provided by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The 1970 image of R/V Melville was provided by Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego Libraries. The image of R/V Alpha Helix (University of Alaska Fairbanks) was provided by Bill Rook. The image of R/V Pelican was provided by Nancy Rabalais of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium. The image of R/V Thompson was provided by Kathleen K. Newell of the University of Washington. The image of R/V Kilo Moana was provided by SOEST, the University of Hawaii. Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu Copyright 2009 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America
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Science at Sea: Meeting Future Oceanographic Goals with a Robust Academic Research Fleet THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org
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Science at Sea: Meeting Future Oceanographic Goals with a Robust Academic Research Fleet COMMITTEE ON THE EVOLUTION OF THE NATIONAL OCEANOGRAPHIC RESEARCH FLEET RONALD KISS (Co-chair), Webb Institute (retired), Rockville, Maryland RICHARD PITTENGER (Co-chair), Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (retired), Massachusetts FRANCISCO CHAVEZ, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing, California MARGO EDWARDS, University of Hawaii, Manoa RANA FINE, University of Miami, Florida NANCY RABALAIS, Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, Chauvin ERIC SALTZMAN, University of California, Irvine JAMES SWIFT, University of California, San Diego WILLIAM WILCOCK, University of Washington, Seattle DANA YOERGER, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts Staff DEBORAH GLICKSON, Associate Program Officer JEREMY JUSTICE, Program Assistant
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Science at Sea: Meeting Future Oceanographic Goals with a Robust Academic Research Fleet OCEAN STUDIES BOARD MARCIA K. McNUTT (Chair), Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing, California DONALD F. BOESCH (Vice-Chair), University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Cambridge JORGE E. CORREDOR, University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez KEITH R. CRIDDLE, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Juneau MARY (MISSY) H. FEELEY, ExxonMobil Exploration Company, Houston, Texas DEBRA HERNANDEZ, Hernandez and Company, Isle of Palms, South Carolina ROBERT A. HOLMAN, Oregon State University, Corvallis KIHO KIM, American University, Washington, D.C. BARBARA A. KNUTH, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York ROBERT A. LAWSON, Science Applications International Corporation, San Diego, California GEORGE I. MATSUMOTO, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing, California JAY S. PEARLMAN, The Boeing Company, Port Angeles, Washington ANDREW A. ROSENBERG, University of New Hampshire, Durham DANIEL L. RUDNICK, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California ROBERT J. SERAFIN, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado ANNE M. TREHU, Oregon State University, Corvallis PETER L. TYACK, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts DAWN J. WRIGHT, Oregon State University, Corvallis JAMES A. YODER, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts Staff SUSAN ROBERTS, Director CLAUDIA MENGELT, Senior Program Officer SUSAN PARK, Senior Program Officer JODI BOSTROM, Associate Program Officer DEBORAH GLICKSON, Associate Program Officer SHUBHA BANSKOTA, Financial Associate PAMELA LEWIS, Administrative Coordinator HEATHER CHIARELLO, Senior Program Assistant JEREMY JUSTICE, Program Assistant
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Science at Sea: Meeting Future Oceanographic Goals with a Robust Academic Research Fleet Preface The vastness of the ocean invites, but then defies, simple description. The ocean encompasses more than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, with depths of almost 11,000 meters. The ocean system plays an essential role in weather and climate. Winds drive the continual circulation of the ocean currents. Some parts of the ocean are ice-covered all or part of the year. The ocean has a very large heat capacity, is a major carbon dioxide sink, and has the ability to buffer, absorb, and disperse chemicals. Billions of people are fed with biomass from the ocean, and the oceans are important avenues for commerce, recreation, and national defense. The ocean preserves a record of Earth’s climatic processes and an archaeological record of human civilization. Although the ocean is large, it is not immune to natural or human-induced change. For example, the ocean is warming and acidifying, and the world’s fisheries are severely stressed. Marine debris from both ships and land is cluttering the ocean, while nutrient pollution and toxic runoff pose threats to marine life and human health. The ocean, vital though it may be, is extraordinarily difficult to sense and model. The endlessly complex and variable seas are undersampled. Oceanographic research is still in discovery mode, with each year bringing unimagined new surprises. Studying the biota or the shape of the ocean floor requires sensing or traversing through thousands of meters of pitch black, frigid water at enormous pressures. These conditions define the scientific challenge we call oceanography. For centuries, ships have provided the primary means of observing and measuring ocean parameters. Technology and invention have pro-
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Science at Sea: Meeting Future Oceanographic Goals with a Robust Academic Research Fleet duced many improvements, with moored and hard-wired sensors and with an increasingly sophisticated family of autonomous vehicles. The Committee on Evolution of the National Oceanographic Research Fleet was convened by the National Research Council to assist the Office of Naval Research and the National Science Foundation in determining how rapid advancements in ocean observing technology and rising costs will impact the future U.S. academic research fleet relative to Navy needs. An excellent group of scientists with expertise in physical, chemical, and biological oceanography, marine geology and geophysics, atmospheric science, ocean engineering, naval architecture, and ship operations and policy volunteered their time and talent for this study. The committee met four times over the course of six months in 2008 and 2009. In open sessions in Washington, D.C., and Woods Hole, Massachusetts, the committee called upon a cadre of marine experts to shed light on its charge. The primary goal of these meetings was to understand how developments in both science and technology would impact oceanographers’ needs for research vessels. RADM Richard Pittenger, co-chair Ronald K. Kiss, co-chair
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Science at Sea: Meeting Future Oceanographic Goals with a Robust Academic Research Fleet Acknowledgments This report was greatly enhanced by the participants of the meetings held as part of this study. The committee would first like to acknowledge the efforts of those who gave presentations at meetings: Vernon Asper (University of Southern Mississippi), Brian Calder (University of New Hampshire), David Fisichella (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution), Matt Hawkins (National Science Foundation), Dave Hebert (University of Rhode Island), Frank Herr (Office of Naval Research), Stanford Hooker (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), Tajr Hull (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), Tim Killeen (National Science Foundation), Dennis McGillicuddy (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution), Mike Prince (Moss Landing Marine Laboratories), Dan Rolland (Alion Science), Suzanne Skelley (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), Robin Williams (Robin A. Williams and Co. Ltd.), and Marc Willis (Oregon State University). These talks helped set the stage for fruitful discussions in the closed sessions that followed. The committee is also grateful to a number of people who provided important discussion and/or material for this report: Steven Ackleson, Annette DeSilva, Rose Dufour, Bauke Houtman, Mike Purcell, Elizabeth Rios Brenner, Tim Schnoor, John Toole, and Bob Weller. This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council (NRC’s) Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its
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Science at Sea: Meeting Future Oceanographic Goals with a Robust Academic Research Fleet published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report: James Bellingham, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing, California DelWayne Bohnenstiehl, North Carolina State University, Raleigh Robert Embley, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Newport, Oregon James McWilliams, University of California, Los Angeles, California Christopher Measures, University of Hawaii, Manoa, Honolulu Mike Prince, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, California Martin Visbeck, University of Kiel, Germany Dick West, Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education (retired), Coventry, Rhode Island Peter Wiebe, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts Robin Williams, Robin A. Williams & Co. Ltd., Barry, Wales, United Kingdom Marc Willis, Oregon State University, Corvallis Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Robert A. Duce, Texas A&M University, College Station. Appointed by the National Research Council, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.
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Science at Sea: Meeting Future Oceanographic Goals with a Robust Academic Research Fleet Contents Summary 1 1 The U.S. Academic Research Fleet 7 Background, 7 Report Scope, 11 Study Approach and Information Needs, 13 Organization of this Report, 15 2 Future Science Needs 17 Physical Oceanography, 18 Chemical Oceanography, 22 Atmospheric Chemistry and Air-Sea Exchange, 24 Biological Oceanography, 25 Marine Geology, 28 Oceanography Education and Training, 32 Conclusions, 32 3 Technological Advances and Their Impact on the Fleet 33 Dynamic Positioning, 34 Aloft Systems, 34 Satellite Systems, 35 Long Coring, 35 Autonomous Vehicles, 35 Remotely Operated Vehicles, 40
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Science at Sea: Meeting Future Oceanographic Goals with a Robust Academic Research Fleet Ship-to-Shore Communications and Telepresence, 40 Ocean Observing Systems, 42 Seagoing Marine Science Technicians and Their Evolution, 43 Conclusions, 45 4 Oceanographic Research Vessel Design 47 Science-Driven Ship Design Requirements, 48 Design Characteristics and Design Drivers, 53 The Ship Acquisition Process, 57 Conclusions, 58 5 Ship Time Costs and Their Impacts 61 Ship Time Cost Trends, 62 The Impacts of Increasing Ship Costs, 70 Conclusions, 73 6 Partnerships 75 The Partnership Mechanism, 75 Partnership Benefits for Participating Federal Agencies, 76 Future Partnering Opportunities within Federal Agencies, 77 Participation in International Programs, 78 Conclusions, 79 7 Conclusions and Recommendations 81 References 85 Appendixes A The History of the U.S. Academic Research Fleet 93 B UNOLS Member Institutions 97 C Acronyms 99 D Committee and Staff Biographies 103