Since 2009, COL has provided program management of the Ocean Observatories Initiative, an integrated infrastructure program teaching us about our ocean through deployed platforms and sensors gathering observations of ocean properties and processes in multiple ocean basins across the planet 24/7. More than a decade ago, COL (as a “consortium”) began the design phase of the National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded program, calling on experts in ocean science and technology from multiple institutions across the ocean science community. At many times along the voyage, it was hard to imagine a time when this ground-breaking program would be operational, gathering and providing publicly accessible data (including streaming video from the Axial Seamount) in real- and near-real time from the seafloor to the ocean-air interface. Fast forward 10+ years, and here we are.
In 2016, when NSF announced a re-competition to operate and maintain the OOI as part of the planned transition from construction and initial operation, COL chose not to compete for the award. We are pleased to give the helm of OOI to a coalition of academic and oceanographic research organizations, led by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and including University of Washington, Oregon State University, and Rutgers, who have entered into a cooperative agreement with NSF to operate and maintain the OOI for the next five years, beginning today. COL has been working closely with the new team for several months to ensure a smooth transition. We are honored and proud to have played a key role in this transformational program that is now gathering oceanographic data twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, which will continue to enhance scientists’ ability to observe and understand our ocean and how it interacts with the rest of the planet. I offer a heartfelt and vociferous thank you to the hundreds of individuals and teams who have played a part in this program! I also offer my congratulations to WHOI and their partner organizations. You have the watch; we stand relieved.
Offshore Wind Farms Could Protect Coastlines
Offshore wind farms may have a greater capacity for coastal protection than first imagined. Scientists had shown previously that arrays of turbines placed in the sea may buffer storm surge and flooding. Now simulations featuring data from Hurricane Harvey suggest that smart wind farm designs have the capacity to protect coastlines from heavy rains. The researchers, based at the University of Delaware, considered six hypothetical wind farm arrays along the coasts of Texas and Louisiana, comparing outputs from the model to a control case where no turbines were deployed.
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