Ocean observations

The following are considered essential ocean climate variables by the Ocean Observations Panel for Climate (OOPC)[1] that are currently feasible with current observational systems .

Ocean climate variables

Atmosphere surface

Air Temperature
Precipitation (meteorology)
Air Pressure, sea level pressure (SLP)
Surface radiative fluxes
Surface thermodynamic fluxes
Wind speed and direction
Surface wind stress
Water vapor

Ocean surface

Sea surface temperature (SST)
Sea surface salinity (SSS)
Sea level
Sea state
Sea ice
Ocean current
Ocean color (for biological activity)
Carbon dioxide partial pressure (pCO2)

Ocean subsurface

Ocean observation sources


There is a composite network of satellites that generate observations. These include:

Type Variables observed Responsible organizations
Infrared (IR) SST, sea ice CEOS, IGOS, CGMS
AMSR-class microwave SST, wind speed, sea ice CEOS, IGOS, CGMS
Surface vector wind (two wide-swath scatterometers desired) surface vector wind, sea ice CEOS, IGOS, CGMS
Ocean color chlorophyll concentration (biomass of phytoplankton) IOCCG
high-precision altimetry sea-level anomaly from steady state CEOS, IGOS, CGMS
low-precision altimetry sea level CEOS, IGOS, CGMS
Synthetic aperture radar sea ice, sea state CEOS, IGOS, CGMS

In situ

There is a composite network of in situ observations. These include:

Type Variables observed Responsible organizations
Global surface drifting buoy array with 5 degree resolution (1250 total) SST, SLP, Current (based on position change) JCOMM Data Buoy Cooperation Panel (DBCP)
Global tropical moored buoy network (about 120 moorings) typically SST and surface vector wind, but can also include SLP, current, air-sea flux variables JCOMM DBCP Tropical Moored Buoy Implementation Panel (TIP)
Volunteer Observing Ship (VOS) fleet all feasible surface ECVs JCOMM Ship Observations Team (SOT)
VOSClim all feasible surface ECVs plus extensive ship metadata JCOMM Ship Observations Team (SOT)
Global referencing mooring network (29 moorings) all feasible surface ECVs OceanSITES
GLOSS core sea-level network, plus regional/national networks sea level JCOMM GLOSS
Sea ice buoys sea ice JCOMM DBCP IABP and IPAB


There is a composite network of subsurface observations. These include:

Type Variables observed Responsible organizations
Repeat XBT (Expendable bathythermograph) line network (41 lines) Temperature JCOMM Ship Observations Team (SOT)
Global tropical moored buoy network (~120 moorings) Temperature, salinity, current, other feasible autonomously observable ECVs JCOMM DBCP Tropical Moored Buoy Implementation Panel (TIP)
Reference mooring network (29 moorings) all autonomously observable ECVs OceanSITES
Sustained and repeated ship-based hydrography network All feasible ECVs, including those that depend on obtaining water samples IOCCP, CLIVAR, other national efforts
Argo (oceanography) network temperature, salinity, current Argo
Critical current and transport monitoring temperature, heat, freshwater, carbon transports, mass CLIVAR, IOCCP, OceanSITES
Regional and global synthesis programmes inferred currents, transports gridded fields of all ECVs GODAE, CLIVAR, other national efforts
Cabled ocean observatories audio, backscatter, chlorophyll, CO2, conductivity, currents, density, Eh, gravity, iron, irradiance, methane, nitrate, oxygen, pressure, salinity, seismic, sigma-T, sound velocity, temperature, turbidity, video Ocean Networks Canada, Monterey Accelerated Research System, Ocean Observatories Initiative, ALOHA, ESONET (European Seas Observatory NETwork), Dense Oceanfloor Network System for Earthquakes and Tsunamis (DONET), Fixed-Point Open Ocean Observatories (FixO3).

Accuracy of measurements

The quality of in situ measurements is non-uniform across space, time and platforms. Different platforms employ a large variety of sensors, which operate in a wide range of often hostile environments and use different measurement protocols. Occasionally, buoys are left unattended for extended periods of time, while ships may involve a certain amount of the human-related impacts in data collection and transmission.[2] Therefore, quality control is necessary before in situ data can be further used in scientific research or other applications. This is an example of quality control and monitoring of sea surface temperatures measured by ships and buoys, the iQuam system developed at NOAA/NESDIS/STAR,[3] where statistics show the quality of in situ measurements of sea surface temperatures.

One of the problems facing real-time ocean observatories is the ability to provide a fast and accurate assessment of the data quality. Ocean Networks Canada is in the process of implementing real-time quality control on incoming data. For scalar data, the aim is to meet the guidelines of the Quality Assurance of Real Time Oceanographic Data (QARTOD) group. QARTOD is a US organization tasked with identifying issues involved with incoming real-time data from the U.S Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS). A large portion of their agenda is to create guidelines for how the quality of real-time data is to be determined and reported to the scientific community. Real-time data quality testing at Ocean Networks Canada includes tests designed to catch instrument failures and major spikes or data dropouts before the data is made available to the user. Real-time quality tests include meeting instrument manufacturer's standards and overall observatory/site ranges determined from previous data. Due to the positioning of some instrument platforms in highly productive areas, we have also designed dual-sensor tests e.g. for some conductivity sensors. The quality control testing is split into 3 separate categories. The first category is in real-time and tests the data before the data are parsed into the database. The second category is delayed-mode testing where archived data are subject to testing after a certain period of time. The third category is manual quality control by an Ocean Networks Canada data expert.

Historical data available

OceanSITES [4] manages a set of links to various sources of available ocean data, including: the Hawaiian Ocean Timeseries (HOT),[5] the JAMSTEC Kuroshio Extension Observatory (JKEO),[6] Line W monitoring the North Atlantic's deep western boundary current,[7] and others.

This site includes links to the ARGO Float Data, The Data Library and Archives (DLA), the Falmouth Monthly Climate Reports, Martha's Vineyard Coastal Observatory, the Multibeam Archive, the Seafloor Data and Observation Visualization Environment (SeaDOVE): A Web-served GIS Database of Multi-scalar Seafloor Data, Seafloor Sediments Data Collection, the Upper Ocean Mooring Data Archive, the U.S. GLOBEC Data System, U.S. JGOFS Data System, and the WHOI Ship Data-Grabber System.

There are a variety of data sets in a data library listed at Columbia University:[8]

This library includes:

  • LEVITUS94 is the World Ocean Atlas as of 1994, an atlas of objectively analyzed fields of major ocean parameters at the annual, seasonal, and monthly time scales. It is superseded by WOA98.
  • NOAA NODC WOA98 is the World Ocean Atlas as of 1998, an atlas of objectively analyzed fields of major ocean parameters at monthly, seasonal, and annual time scales. Superseded by WOA01.
  • NOAA NODC WOA01 is the World Ocean Atlas 2001, an atlas of objectively analyzed fields of major ocean parameters at monthly, seasonal, and annual time scales. Replaced by WOA05.
  • NOAA NODC WOA05 is the World Ocean Atlas 2005, an atlas of objectively analyzed fields of major ocean parameters at monthly, seasonal, and annual time scales.

In situ observations spanning from the early 1700s to present are available from the International Comprehensive Ocean Atmosphere Data Set (ICOADS).

This data set includes observations of a number of the surface ocean and atmospheric variables from ships, moored and drifting buoys and C-MAN stations.

In 2006, Ocean Networks Canada began collecting high-resolution in-situ measurements from the seafloor in Saanich Inlet, near Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.[9] Monitoring sites were later extended to the Strait of Georgia[10] and 5 locations off the West coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. All historical measurements are freely available via Ocean Networks Canada's data portal, Oceans 2.0.[11]

Future developments

Areas requiring research and development[12]

  • Satellite observations with higher resolution and accuracy and more spectral bands from geostationary satellites
  • improved capability for ocean color observations in coastal and turbid waters
  • improved interpretation of sea-ice data from satellites
  • satellite measurement of salinity
  • Observing system evaluation and design, including improvements in air-sea flux parameterizations.
  • Improvements in ocean platforms, including increased capabilities for Argo floats
  • improved glider technology and mooring technology.
  • New development in ocean sensors and systems, including improved bio-fouling protection, autonomous water sampling systems, optical and acoustic systems, airborne variable sensors, and two-way, low-cost, low-power telecommunications.
  • New and improved capability to measure biogeochemical variables, nutrients, and dissolved oxygen and carbon dioxide, as well as to identify organisms.
  • Improved instruments, including near-surface current meters, in-water radiometers, sensors for air-sea interface variables and turbulent fluxes, and VOS sensor systems.

The future of oceanic observation systems:

  • Guided unmanned underwater vehicles[13]



  1. ^ "OOPC". Ioc-goos-oopc.org. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
  2. ^ Kent, Elizabeth C.; Challenor, Peter G.; Taylor, Peter K. (1999). "A Statistical Determination of the Random Observational Errors Present in Voluntary Observing Ships Meteorological Reports". Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology. 16 (7): 905–914. Bibcode:1999JAtOT..16..905K. doi:10.1175/1520-0426(1999)016<0905:ASDOTR>2.0.CO;2.
  3. ^ "iQuam - in situ SST quality monitoring". Star.nesdis.noaa.gov. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ "The Physical Oceanography Component of Hawaii Ocean Timeseries (HOT/PO)". Soest.hawaii.edu. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
  6. ^ "JKEO Data Web Site". Jamstec.go.jp. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
  7. ^ "Line W - Monitoring the North Atlantic Ocean's Deep Western Boundary Currents". Whoi.edu. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
  8. ^ "dataset: SOURCES". Iridl.ldeo.columbia.edu. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
  9. ^ "VENUS Celebrates 6 Years of Streaming Data". Oceannetworks.ca. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  10. ^ "Central Strait of Georgia". Oceannetworks.ca. Ocean Networks Canada. Archived from the original on 2015-11-01. Retrieved 2015-11-03.
  11. ^ Jenkyns, Reyna (20 September 2010). "NEPTUNE Canada: Data integrity from the seafloor to your (Virtual) Door". Oceans 2010. pp. 1–7. doi:10.1109/OCEANS.2010.5664290. ISBN 978-1-4244-4332-1.
  12. ^ [2] Archived July 20, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "Flight Across the Atlantic - Scarlet Knight". Rucool.marine.rutgers.edu. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
  14. ^ "Home". Ioc-goos.org. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
  15. ^ "World Meteorological Organization". Wmo.int. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
  16. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20080818155637/http://www.ocean.us/. Archived from the original on August 18, 2008. Retrieved September 4, 2008. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  17. ^ "Argo : official website". Argo.net. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
  18. ^ "Argo - part of the integrated global observation strategy". Argo.ucsd.edu. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
  19. ^ "Observing the ocean". Godae.org. Archived from the original on 2012-02-16. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
  20. ^ "Ocean Networks Canada". oceannetworks.ca. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  21. ^ [3] Archived June 29, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ "Consortium for Ocean Leadership". Archived from the original on 2009-04-26. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
  23. ^ FixO3, official webpage
Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory

The Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML), a federal research laboratory, is part of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR), located in Miami, Florida. AOML's research spans tropical cyclone and hurricanes, coastal ecosystems, oceans and human health, climate studies, global carbon systems, and ocean observations. It is one of seven NOAA Research Laboratories (RLs).AOML’s organizational structure consists of an Office of the Director and three scientific research divisions. The Office of the Director oversees the Laboratory’s scientific programs, as well as its financial, administrative, computer, outreach/education, and facility management services. Research programs are augmented by the Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies (CIMAS), a joint enterprise with the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. CIMAS enables AOML and university scientists to collaborate on research areas of mutual interest and facilitates the participation of students and visiting scientists.

The Laboratory is a member of a unique community of marine research and educational institutions located on Virginia Key in Miami, Florida. Approximately $150M per year is invested in marine science and education among the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, NOAA's Southeast Fisheries Science Center, the Miami Seaquarium, the Maritime and Science Technology Academy (MAST Academy).

Bahama Banks

The Bahama Banks are the submerged carbonate platforms that make up much of the Bahama Archipelago. The term is usually applied in referring to either the Great Bahama Bank around Andros Island, or the Little Bahama Bank of Grand Bahama Island and Great Abaco, which are the largest of the platforms, and the Cay Sal Bank north of Cuba. The islands of these banks are politically part of the Bahamas. Other banks are the three banks of the Turks and Caicos Islands, namely the Caicos Bank of the Caicos Islands, the bank of the Turks Islands, and wholly submerged Mouchoir Bank. Further southeast are the equally wholly submerged Silver Bank and Navidad Bank north of the Dominican Republic.

Bermuda Atlantic Time-series Study

The Bermuda Atlantic Time-series Study (BATS) is a long-term oceanographic study by the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS). Based on regular (monthly or better) research cruises, it samples an area of the western Atlantic Ocean nominally at the coordinates 31°40′N 64°10′W. The cruise programme routinely samples physical properties such as ocean temperature and salinity, but focuses on variables of biological or biogeochemical interest including: nutrients (nitrate, nitrite, phosphate and silicic acid), dissolved inorganic carbon, oxygen, HPLC of pigments, primary production and sediment trap flux. The BATS cruises began in 1988 but are supplemented by biweekly Hydrostation "S" cruises to a neighbouring location (32°10′N 64°30′W) that began in 1954. The data collected by these cruises are available online.

Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences

The Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (known as BIOS) is an independent, non-profit marine science and education institute located in Ferry Reach, St. George's, Bermuda. The Institute, founded in 1903 as the Bermuda Biological Station, hosts a full-time faculty of oceanographers, biologists, and environmental scientists, graduate and undergraduate students, K-12 groups, and Road Scholar (formerly Elderhostel) groups. BIOS's strategic mid-Atlantic Ocean location has at its doorstep a diverse marine environment, with close proximity to deep ocean as well as coral reef and near shore habitats.

Prior to 5 September 2006, BIOS was known as the Bermuda Biological Station for Research (BBSR).

Global Climate Observing System

As an outcome of the Second World Climate Conference, the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) was established in 1992 to ensure that the observations and information needed to address climate-related issues are obtained and made available to all potential users. The GCOS is co-sponsored by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the International Council for Science (ICSU). In order to assess and monitor the adequacy of in-situ observation networks as well as satellite-based observing systems, GCOS regularly reports on the adequacy of the current climate observing system to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and thereby identifies the needs of the current climate observing system.

The Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) is a system that comprises the climate-relevant components of many contributing observing systems and networks. The mission of the GCOS programme is to help ensure that these contributing systems, taken as a whole, provide the comprehensive information on the global climate system that is required by users, including individuals, national and international organizations, institutions and agencies. The programme promotes the sustained provision and availability of reliable physical, chemical and biological observations and data records for the total climate system - across the atmospheric, oceanic and terrestrial domains, including the Hydrological cycle, the Carbon cycle and the Cryosphere.

Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services

Indian National Center for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) is an autonomous organization of the Government of India, under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, located in Pragathi Nagar, Hyderabad. ESSO-INCOIS was established as an autonomous body in 1999 under the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) and is a unit of the Earth System Science Organization (ESSO). ESSO- INCOIS is mandated to provide the best possible ocean information and advisory services to society, industry, government agencies and the scientific community through sustained ocean observations and constant improvements through systematic and focussed research.

Keith R. Thompson

Keith Thompson is a professor at Dalhousie University with a joint appointment in the Department of Oceanography and the Department of Mathematics and Statistics.

Thompson was trained in the UK and obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Liverpool. His research interests are ocean and shelf circulation, 4D data assimilation, extremal analysis and applied time series analysis.

Prof. Thompson was recently awarded a Tier I Canada Research Chair in Marine Environmental Prediction. The Canada Research Chairs Program is part of a national strategy to make Canada one of the world’s top five countries for research and development. Chair holders are recognized leaders in their fields and are selected in order to advance the frontiers of knowledge, not only through research, but also by teaching and supervising students and coordinating the work of other researchers. Prof. Thompson has been awarded a Tier I chair, which is the highest level. (For more information on the Canada Research Chairs program see http://www.chairs.gc.ca/).

Prof. Thompson was also awarded the President’s Prize of the Canadian Oceanographic and Meteorological Society in 1990, and Reviewer of the Year by the same organization. He has written over 50 scientific publications and sits on international committees including the Coastal Ocean Observations Panel of the Global Ocean Observing System.

Observations and Measurements

Observations and Measurements (O&M) is an international standard which defines a conceptual schema encoding for observations, and for features involved in sampling when making observations. While the O&M standard was developed in the context of geographic information systems, the model is derived from generic patterns proposed by Fowler and Odell, and is not limited to spatial information. O&M is one of the core standards in the OGC Sensor Web Enablement suite, providing the response model for Sensor Observation Service (SOS).

Ocean reanalysis

Ocean reanalysis is a method of combining historical ocean observations with a general ocean model (typically a computational model) driven by historical estimates of surface winds, heat, and freshwater, by way of a data assimilation algorithm to reconstruct historical changes in the state of the ocean.

Historical observations are sparse and insufficient for understanding the history of the ocean and its circulation. By utilizing data assimilation techniques in combination with advanced computational models of the global ocean, researchers are able to interpolate the historical observations to all points in the ocean. This process has an analog in the construction of atmospheric reanalysis and is closely related to ocean state estimation.

Oceanic plateau

An oceanic or submarine plateau is a large, relatively flat elevation that is higher than the surrounding relief with one or more relatively steep sides.There are 184 oceanic plateaus covering an area of 18,486,600 km2 (7,137,700 sq mi), or about 5.11% of the oceans. The South Pacific region around Australia and New Zealand contains the greatest number of oceanic plateaus (see map).

Oceanic plateaus produced by large igneous provinces are often associated with hotspots, mantle plumes, and volcanic islands — such as Iceland, Hawaii, Cape Verde, and Kerguelen. The three largest plateaus, the Caribbean, Ontong Java, and Mid-Pacific Mountains, are located on thermal swells. Other oceanic plateaus, however, are made of rifted continental crust, for example Falkland Plateau, Lord Howe Rise, and parts of Kerguelen, Seychelles, and Arctic ridges.

Plateaus formed by large igneous provinces were formed by the equivalent of continental flood basalts such as the Deccan Traps in India and the Snake River Plain in the United States.

In contrast to continental flood basalts, most igneous oceanic plateaus erupt through young and thin (6–7 km (3.7–4.3 mi)) mafic or ultra-mafic crust and are therefore uncontaminated by felsic crust and representative for their mantle sources.

These plateaus often rise 2–3 km (1.2–1.9 mi) above the surrounding ocean floor and are more buoyant than oceanic crust. They therefore tend to withstand subduction, more-so when thick and when reaching subduction zones shortly after their formations. As a consequence, they tend to "dock" to continental margins and be preserved as accreted terranes. Such terranes are often better preserved than the exposed parts of continental flood basalts and are therefore a better record of large-scale volcanic eruptions throughout Earth's history. This "docking" also means that oceanic plateaus are important contributors to the growth of continental crust. Their formations often had a dramatic impact on global climate, such as the most recent plateaus formed, the three, large, Cretaceous oceanic plateaus in the Pacific and Indian Ocean: Ontong Java, Kerguelen, and Caribbean.

Pacific Ocean

The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Southern Ocean (or, depending on definition, to Antarctica) in the south and is bounded by the continents of Asia and Australia in the west and the Americas in the east.

At 165,250,000 square kilometers (63,800,000 square miles) in area (as defined with an Antarctic southern border), this largest division of the World Ocean—and, in turn, the hydrosphere—covers about 46% of Earth's water surface and about one-third of its total surface area, making it larger than all of Earth's land area combined. The centers of both the Water Hemisphere and the Western Hemisphere are in the Pacific Ocean. The equator subdivides it into the North(ern) Pacific Ocean and South(ern) Pacific Ocean, with two exceptions: the Galápagos and Gilbert Islands, while straddling the equator, are deemed wholly within the South Pacific. Its mean depth is 4,000 meters (13,000 feet). The Mariana Trench in the western North Pacific is the deepest point in the world, reaching a depth of 10,911 meters (35,797 feet). The western Pacific has many peripheral seas.

Though the peoples of Asia and Oceania have traveled the Pacific Ocean since prehistoric times, the eastern Pacific was first sighted by Europeans in the early 16th century when Spanish explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa crossed the Isthmus of Panama in 1513 and discovered the great "southern sea" which he named Mar del Sur (in Spanish). The ocean's current name was coined by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan during the Spanish circumnavigation of the world in 1521, as he encountered favorable winds on reaching the ocean. He called it Mar Pacífico, which in both Portuguese and Spanish means "peaceful sea".

Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans

The Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans (POGO), which was founded in 1999, is a consortium of major oceanographic institutions around the world, represented by their Directors. POGO's goal is to promote global operational oceanography, the implementation of a Global Ocean Observing System, and the importance of ocean observations for society. In 2011, POGO had 40 Members. The current Chairman (2011-2012) is Prof. Peter Herzig (GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Germany). The incoming Chairman is Prof. John Field (Marine Research Institute, University of Cape Town, South Africa).It is supported from annual dues subscribed by the Members, as well as by grants from charitable foundations. The funds to explore the value of, and then establish, POGO were provided by the Alfred P. Sloan and Richard Lounsbery foundations.

POGO provides a forum (at the annual meetings and intersessionally) for Members to meet with their peers, and with senior officials of partner organisations, to discuss issues of mutual concern (it is a talking shop). It also serves as a credible voice for the marine science community, through its leadership role in the informal grouping Oceans United, and an advocating body for the establishment of an integrated, global ocean observing system. As a means to ease the shortage in trained observers of the ocean in developing countries, It has developed a suite of programmes in capacity building, and works with relevant partner organisations in the marine field SCOR, IOC, GOOS, GEO). It engages in outreach activities to the general public, a current example being its exhibit at the Ocean and Coasts Best Practices Area Pavilion at the Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea.

Pearn P. Niiler

Pearn "Peter" Niiler (1937, Tartu, Estonia, – 15 October 2010, San Diego) was an American oceanographer.

In 1948, Niiler, his six siblings and parents arrived in Pittsburgh from a displaced persons camp in Germany where they had lived after fleeing Estonia during World War II. His father, Herbert Niiler, coached the Estonia national basketball team at the 1936 Olympic Games and later ran a YMCA camp near Zelienople, Pa. Peter Niiler studied engineering at Lehigh University and graduated in 1960. In 1964 he received doctorate from Brown University where he studied applied mathematics and fluid mechanics. He was a Fulbright fellow at Cambridge University and postdoctoral fellow at Harvard. In 1966, he joined Nova University where he studied the Florida Current and the Gulf Stream. He became professor of oceanography at Oregon State University in 1974. He became professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 1982 where he worked in the Physical Oceanography Research Division. He was a Scripps Distinguished Professor.

Niiler designed ocean drifters for measuring direct circulation flow and other instruments for ocean observations. He was the scientific father of the Global Drifter Program and one of the persons responsible for organizing a Boulder, Colorado, meeting in 1982 which initiated the program itself. One of his more clever designs was an ocean drifting measurement device he called the holey sock.Beginning in 2002, Niiler became involved in tropical hurricane research and his group deployed the first groups of thermistor chain drifters before approaching hurricanes. His final field project was related to tropical hurricanes influence on ocean mixing in the Western Pacific. The project was ongoing when he died, and he coordinated deployment of the thermistor chain drifters of his design during that project. His thermistor chain drifters sampled Typhoon Fanapi in September 2010. Niiler was particularly interested in typhoon cold wake to study relaxation of the mixed layer temperature after cyclone passage.

His interests included measurements of flow and theory of variability of eastern boundary current systems, relationship of heat flux to global sea surface temperature variability, Lagrangian circulation measurements in mixed layers of the world ocean, and response of upper ocean to tropical storms. He was named fellow of the American Geophysical Union in 1986. He was a Distinguished Visiting Scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 1979.

He was married to Ann Easton in 1960 and had two sons, Eric and Benjamin. They divorced in 1974. His second marriage was to Nancy McCaleb. Their daughter is Ashley. According to Scripps News

"He had a passion for architecture and designed numerous homes and several buildings. He played a leading role in creating the distinctive design of the W.M. Keck Foundation Center for Ocean Atmosphere Research, in which his office was housed. He was a painter, a gourmet chef, and an aficionado of wine and travel." He was also supporter of the dance company founded by his wife, Nancy McCaleb.


Reanalysis is a new analysis of something. It may refer to:

Reanalysis (linguistics) or folk etymology, change in a word or phrase resulting from the replacement of an unfamiliar form by a more familiar one

Rebracketing, a process where a word originally derived from one source is broken down into a different set of factors

Back-formation, a process of creating a new word by removing actual or supposed affixes

New statistical analysis of a data set that has already been analyzed

Undersea mountain range

Undersea mountain ranges are mountain ranges that are mostly or entirely underwater, and specifically under the surface of an ocean. If originated from current tectonic forces, they are often referred to as a mid-ocean ridge. In contrast, if formed by past above-water volcanism, they are known as a seamount chain. The largest and best known undersea mountain range is a mid-ocean ridge, the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. It has been observed that, "similar to those on land, the undersea mountain ranges are the loci of frequent volcanic and earthquake activity".

Underwater glider

An underwater glider is a type of autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) that employs variable-buoyancy propulsion instead of traditional propellers or thrusters. It employs variable buoyancy in a similar way to a profiling float, but unlike a float, which can only move up and down, an underwater glider is fitted with hydrofoils (underwater wings) that allow it to glide forward while descending through the water. At a certain depth, the glider switches to positive buoyancy to climb back up, and the cycle is then repeated.

While not as fast as conventional AUVs, gliders offer significantly greater range and endurance compared to traditional AUVs, extending ocean sampling missions from hours to weeks or months, and to thousands of kilometers of range.The typical up-and-down, sawtooth-like profile followed by a glider can provide data on temporal and spatial scales unattainable by ordinary AUVs and much more costly to sample using traditional shipboard techniques. A wide variety of glider designs are in use by navies and ocean research organizations and typically cost around US$100,000.

Vanth (moon)

Vanth, full designation (90482) Orcus I Vanth, is the single known natural satellite of the plutino and likely dwarf planet Orcus. It was discovered by Michael Brown and T.-A. Suer using discovery images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope on 13 November 2005. The discovery was announced in an IAU Circular notice published on 22 February 2007.Using observations with the Hubble Space Telescope from 13 November 2005, Michael Brown and T. A. Suer detected a natural satellite. The discovery of a satellite of Orcus was reported in an IAU Circular notice published on 22 February 2007. The satellite was given the designation S/2005 (90482) 1 before later being named Vanth. It orbits Orcus in a nearly face-on circular orbit with an eccentricity of about 0.007, and an orbital period of 9.54 days. Vanth orbits only 9,030 km (5,610 mi) from Orcus and is too close to Orcus for ground-based spectroscopy to determine the surface composition of the satellite.Brown suspects that like the Pluto–Charon system, Orcus and Vanth are tidally locked. Vanth does not resemble known collisional satellites because its spectrum is very different from that of its primary, and it may be a captured Kuiper belt object. Vanth could also have originated as a result of rotational fission of the primordial Orcus, which would have rotated much faster than now.

Wave base

The wave base, in physical oceanography, is the maximum depth at which a water wave's passage causes significant water motion. For water depths deeper than the wave base, bottom sediments and the seafloor are no longer stirred by the wave motion above.

World Ocean Circulation Experiment

The World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE) was a component of the international World Climate Research Program, and aimed to establish the role of the World Ocean in the Earth's climate system. WOCE's field phase ran between 1990 and 1998, and was followed by an analysis and modeling phase that ran until 2002. When the WOCE was conceived, there were three main motivations for its creation. The first of these is the inadequate coverage of the World Ocean, specifically in the Southern Hemisphere. Data was also much more sparse during the winter months than the summer months, and there was—and still to some extent—a critical need for data covering all seasons. Secondly, the data that did exist was not initially collected for studying ocean circulation and was not well suited for model comparison. Lastly, there were concerns involving the accuracy and reliability of some measurements. The WOCE was meant to address these problems by providing new data collected in ways designed to “meet the needs of global circulation models for climate prediction.”

Meteorological data and variables
Earth-based meteorological observation systems and weather stations
Orbital meteorological and remote sensing systems
Ocean zones
Sea level

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