Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI)

The Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) is a NSF Division of Ocean Sciences program that focuses the science, technology, education and outreach of an emerging network of science driven ocean observing systems.

Building on the heritage of the ship-based expeditionary era of the last century, oceanography is commencing a new phase in which research scientists increasingly seek continuous interaction with the ocean environment to adaptively observe the earth-ocean-atmosphere system. Such approaches are crucial to resolving the full range of episodicity and temporal change central to so many ocean processes that directly impact human society, our climate, and the incredible range of natural phenomena found in the largest ecosystem of the planet.

Oceanography is augmenting the ship-based expeditionary science of the last two centuries with a distributed, observatory-based approach in which scientists continuously interact with instruments, facilities, and other scientists to explore the earth-ocean-atmosphere system remotely. Routine, long-term measurement of episodic oceanic processes on a wide range of spatial and temporal scales is crucial to resolving scientific questions related to Earth's climate, geodynamics, and marine ecosystems. Innovative ocean observatories providing unprecedented levels of power and communication and access to real-time sensor networks will drive scientific innovation and provide education and outreach capabilities that will dramatically impact the general understanding of, and public attitude toward, the ocean sciences.

The OOI comprises three types of interconnected observatories spanning global, regional and coastal scales. The global component addresses planetary-scale problems via a network of moored buoys linked to shore via satellite. A regional cabled observatory will wire a single region in the Northeast Pacific Ocean with a high speed optical and power grid. The coastal component of the OOI will expand existing coastal observing assets, providing extended opportunities to characterize the effects of high frequency forcing on the coastal environment. The OOI CyberInfrastructure (CI) constitutes the integrating element that links and binds the three types of marine observatories and associated sensors into a coherent system-of-systems. Indeed, it is most appropriate to view the OOI as a whole, which will allow scientists and citizens to view particular phenomena irrespective of the observing elements (e.g. coastal, global, regional, ships, satellites, IOOS.) to which the observations belong.

The core capabilities and the principal objectives of ocean observatories are collecting real-time data, analyzing data and modeling the ocean on multiple scales, and enabling adaptive experimentation within the ocean. A traditional data-centric CI, in which a central data management system ingests data and serves them to users on a query basis, is not sufficient to accomplish the range of tasks ocean scientists will engage in when the OOI is implemented. Instead, a highly distributed set of capabilities are required that allow:

In addition to these features, the CI must provide the background messaging, governance and service frameworks that facilitate interaction in a shared environment, similar to the role of the operating system on a computer. All of this CI functionality either exists today or is in an advanced state of development.

The Analysis & Synthesis project merges the observing and modeling communities. Dr. Yi Chao, PI for JPL.s OurOcean Portal project, will lead a team that incorporates his work with the distributed workflow execution of Pegasus from the USC Information Science Institute and the work of the Multidisciplinary Simulation, Estimation, and Assimilation Systems (MSEAS) at MIT. The project will use, adapt, and further develop community-based numerical ocean models such as the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) and the dynamical model of MSEAS, combined with a suite of integrated applications, including a standard Web portal interface and Matlab, Kepler and WS-BPEL workflow editors that will support process and model specification, simulation, analysis, and visualization.

The Planning & Prosecution project leverages the consistent nested and autonomous capabilities of the integrated network of sensing, modeling and control resources. Dr. Henrik Schmidt, PI of MIT's Laboratory for Autonomous Marine Sensing Systems, leads this JPL and MIT team of engineers to integrate Dr. Schmidt's work on PLUSNet and Dr. Steve Chien of JPL's work on autonomous Earth observing sensor webs to develop a generalized design and control framework for ORION. The objective is to plan, schedule, and prosecute multi-objective observational programs. The project will use, and further develop, the behavior-based autonomous control software MOOS-IvP for fully autonomous event capture and characterization. The Mission Oriented Operating Suite (MOOS) is open source middleware for connecting software components on an autonomous platform. MOOS-IvP extends MOOS via Interval programming (IvP), a unique, new mathematical model for representing and solving multi-objective optimization problems for reconciling vehicle behaviors during missions.