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UCSD Working to Build Ocean Observation System

UC San Diego is part of a partnership that is working to construct a network of ocean observation systems.

Called the Ocean Observatories Initiative, the system will allow scientists to examine ocean processes on global, regional and coastal scales.

The National Science Foundation and the Washington, D.C.-based Consortium for Ocean Leadership signed an agreement Wednesday that supports the construction and initial operation of the system.

In collaboration with Ocean Leadership, UC San Diego is slated to receive a total of approximately $32 million to develop and construct the science-driven, networked cyberinfrastructure, which ties together all the ocean sensors to be put to work during the next five years.

Scripps Institution of Oceanography Professor John Orcutt said the system will give scientists the infrastructure to conduct experiments in some of the ocean's most extreme environments.

He also said a near real-time access to the data will be unique.

UCSD said considerable international interest exists about ocean observing, with cabled observatories in place in Canada, Japan, Australia and Europe and under construction in China and South Korea.

The proposed system will expand the capabilities, using cabled, moored, and mobile observing tools to broaden the scope of ocean conditions under rigorous observation.

The nearly six-year construction phase will begin in September.

UCSD said once construction is completed, scientists will be able to observe complex ocean processes such as climate variability, ocean circulation, and ocean acidification at several coastal, open-ocean, and seafloor locations.

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