Earth's last frontier
“We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one.”
Understanding our ocean
The ocean contains 97% of our Earth's known water supply and is a fundamental driver of our climate system, making understanding our ocean critical to being able to make long-term climate and weather variability predications. While satellites can gather surface data relatively easily, scientists are constantly designing new instruments needed to gather data from below the surface of the water. To really understand the world's climate markers, we are going to have to conquer the challenges that the ocean presents. Organizations like the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution are poised to do just that.
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to marine research, engineering, and higher education. Established in 1930 on a recommendation from the National Academy of Sciences, its primary mission is to understand the ocean and its interaction with the Earth as a whole and to communicate a basic understanding of the ocean's role in the changing global environment.
WHOI's Ocean and Climate Change Institute is working to tackle three main challenges the ocean in the climate system, the hydrological cycle, and carbon dioxide and the climate. They are dedicated to understanding the ocean’s role in climate by devoting resources to interdisciplinary research teams, educating the next generation of ocean and climate researchers, and communicating the importance of ocean research to a variety of climate stakeholders including the government, corporations, and the public.
|Area||Director, Ocean and Climate Change Institute, WHOI|
|Domain||Woods Hole, MA|
|Link||Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution|
Small hinges swing big doors
Eastman’s innovative spirit and commitment to environmental stewardship are driving exciting research efforts that will lead to a better understanding of the role of the oceans in predicting long-term weather patterns.
“To really understand the drivers of climate change, we have to understand the ocean." states David Golden, Eastman CLO. The oceans are driven by exchanges with the atmosphere across the air-sea interface. WHOI researchers are world leaders in making observations of the marine atmospheric boundary layer and ocean surface layer. WHOI scientists use these observations and various other data and models to estimate air-sea fluxes. With prototype funding from Eastman, WHOI developed a low - cost X-Spar buoy for air-sea flux measurements in remote, inhospitable regions of the ocean where bottom-anchored buoys are not feasible.
“This project was our first success in engaging with WHOI. As national funding for ocean research continues to decline, we are exploring long-term ways to continue to support them,” says Golden who joined WHOI boat side on the X-Spar's first testing deployment. “Eastman wants to find ways to fund these small, higher-risk pilot projects. Our goal is to find ways to support them until they get to the stage where bigger interests like NASA or NOAA want to take them on.”
Coexisting in a sea of complexion
Unlike the weather we experience every day, Earth’s climate changes relatively slowly, varying from year to year and over centuries and millennia. The ocean plays a major role in the longer-term changes in the climate system and changing patterns of ocean circulation set up much of the regional variability in climate observed on land," states Carol Anne Clayson. "The inherent complexity of Earth’s changing climate occurring over short-and-long time frames and affecting various regions of the globe differently presents formidable challenges to understanding the future of the planet."
As the global population continues to progress, the importance of understanding our ocean and harvesting it as a means of coexisting is imperative. It is our last frontier.