Lab 1 – The collection of oceanographic data

Learning outcomes

After completing this lab students will be able to:

  • LO1. Recognize several of the common sensors and platforms used to collect oceanographic data
  • LO2. Locate OOI arrays on a world map by latitude/longitude and ocean basin name
  • LO3. Determine latitude and longitude for locations
  • L04. Identify OOI tools used in examples of scientific research
Endurance array and slope base mooring as an example of an OOI array.

OOI Endurance array

The ocean has vast resources for humans, it supplies food, medicines, jobs in fisheries, the transportation of goods, tourism and recreation. All of these industries are more efficient if they can predict ocean processes.  For example, it doesn’t make sense to go fishing in an area if your target fish are not there.  Ship routes may need to be changed when there is bad weather and poor sea conditions predicted. Tourism activities that depend on weather, water clarity, or whale sightings opportunities all benefit if the operators have an understanding of the local ocean conditions. These are all examples where the knowledge of oceanography can be beneficial for businesses.

The labs in this collection use data collected in the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI).  You will be introduced to the ways in which data are collected, but first watch the video below which explains how these data are available to everyone.  As you watch, you will get quick glimpses of some of the platforms described in more detail in next activity (Lab 1.1).  In particular watch for a buoy containing lots of instruments to measure atmospheric conditions, an instrument on the seafloor measureing fluids seeping out of the sea bed and a glider being launched.  These gliders contain instruments to measure water properties such as temperature and salinity.


OOI- Access to the Ocean Video

In this Lab we will look at some of the different ways that oceanographic data are collected. These data help oceanographers make decisions on questions like “When are conditions optimal for fishing?”, “When will waves become extreme and thus potentially be dangerous?” “How is climate change affecting the ocean?” These questions won’t be answered in this lab, but instead you will learn about the data collection tools that oceanographers use to answer such questions. Then you will be equipped for the rest of the labs in this lab manual.

Activities in this Lab