Observing the ocean with mobile instruments

Jim Bellingham, Ph.D.
MIT Sea Grant &
MBARI Adjunct

Wednesday, August 12, 1998
10:00 a.m.—Pacific Forum

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The present generation of oceanographic field programs is fundamentally limited by too few measurements, taken too slowly, at too great a cost. One approach to provide more extensive access to the ocean is to use robotic mobile platforms to characterize the ocean at different spatial and temporal resolutions. A range of mobile platforms is under development, from relatively fast survey vehicles to much slower, but longer endurance buoyancy-driven systems. However, design of sampling strategies to make the best use of many mobile platforms remains an unsolved problem for all but the simplest circumstances. Such strategies are necessary because even with the increase in sensing capability provided by many small platforms, most processes will still be undersampled. Thus the emerging challenge is to determine the most effective use of available observational assets to obtain the desired information, given the physics of the phenomena under study and the constraints of the platforms and sensors available.

This talk reviews some emerging paradigms for employing Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) and presents results from field experiments.

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 Last updated: December 19, 2000