Ocean Observing


Ocean Observing

Most of the global ocean remains unexplored, yet we know it supports life on our planet and that it is changing in ways that may alter the support and services it provides. These changes are caused by the compounding factors of pollution (e.g., plastics, noise, oil spills), unsustainable fishing practices, and human-induced climate change. As these changes can impact food security, public health, coastal community resilience, and the economy, our need for information on ocean patterns, conditions, and processes is growing exponentially. High-quality, interoperable data is critical for understanding our ocean systems and using marine resources in sustainable ways. 

Humans have measured ocean properties for centuries using crude instruments (e.g., Charles Darwin and the Challenger Expedition). This was – and remains – no easy feat due to the vastness and depth of most of the ocean. Today, in addition to ships (e.g., R/V Sikuliaq, Okeanos Explorer, and the forthcoming RCRV Taani), scientists use sophisticated technologies including satellites, drones, autonomous underwater vehicles, radars, buoys, tide gauges, and tags on marine species. However, bringing all this collected data together for use in a standardized way has brought about a new challenge. Ocean experts in government, academia, and industry are working to address this wealth of collected data so that the value of the data can be maximized through integration and use by a growing number of stakeholders.

Topics To Explore

Webinar Series

View the NOSB’s ocean observing-related Professional Development Webinar Series recording to learn about global ocean observing techniques, with an emphasis on seafloor observations.


2022 Professional Development Webinars: Dr. Sean Hayes

January 20, 2022|

As climate change begins to have influences on the physical processes of the ocean there will be a variety of responses by most marine taxa. NOAA Fisheries is responsible for managing many if not most of these species in US waters. The presentation will highlight some general principles that can be expected, and then dive a little deeper into some case studies from several of NOAA’ Species in the Spotlight including seals, salmon, whales and more.

2022 Professional Development Webinars: Dr. Andrea Copping & Dorian Overhus

January 6, 2022|

As we combat climate change, marine renewable energy (MRE) has the potential to play an important role. However, we need to understand the impact tidal, wave, and ocean thermal energy devices may have on marine animals and the environment in order to deploy MRE devices in a responsible manner. This webinar will cover the importance of MRE and how it relates to climate change, what is known about environmental interactions, and next steps for the industry.

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