oceans of change

Oceans of Change, 2007

Ellen Sandor & (art)n: Chris Kemp and Janine Fron

Donna Cox, Robert Patterson, Stuart Levy, Matt Hall, Alex Betts and Lorne Leonard, National Center for Supercomputing Applications, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Yi Chao, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology

James Bellingham, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Virtual Photograph/PHSCologram: Duratrans, Kodalth, Plexiglas

24 x 40 inches

“For the sea as a whole, the alternation of day and night, the passage of the seasons, the procession of the years, are lost in its vastness, obliterated in its own changeless eternity. But the surface waters are different. The face of the sea is always changing. Crossed by colors, lights and moving shadows, sparkling in the sun, mysterious in the twilight, its aspects and its moods vary hour by hour.”-Rachel Carson

Oceans are the flywheel of our climate and our climate is changing. Fleets of robotic vehicles are enabling the observation and prediction of ocean processes by providing an adaptive observation system for the ocean interior. In 2003 during the AOSN II field experiment, the first large-scale deployment of vehicles was used to predict the evolution of episodic wind-driven upwelling in the environs of Monterey Bay. Twelve different institutions contributed to the effort, which was lead by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. The observing system included a communication framework that allowed observations to be transmitted to two real-time oceanographic models. The resulting system provided the oceanic equivalent of atmospheric weather prediction, with all the advantages that prediction entails. The visual models generated nowcasts and forecasts of ocean conditions, which in turn were adaptive sampling with the mobile platforms. The image shown here is a visualization of ocean currents and temperature. The Sea Around Us was written by the award-winning environmentalist, Rachel Carson, whose landmark book, Silent Spring started the grassroots environmental movement and inspired the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency in the United States.