The advent of vastly cheaper and remotely positioned sensors is transforming many aspects of observational earth sciences. Earth-orbiting satellites are one example.
Another is the Argo network of in-ocean autonomous robots measuring heat, salinity and now biochemical properties down to two kilometers in the ocean.
Until recently large-scale processes in the ocean were virtually invisible to us. It is of course far too expensive to cover all the oceans with research ships. Satellite observation enabled constant measurements, but only at the surface.
The Argo network is required to view the oceans in depth. The first floats were deployed in 1999 and the collaborative network of more than 20 nations reached its goal for complete ocean coverage in 2007 when the 3,000th float was deployed in the south Pacific Ocean.
Data from this global experiment have profound ramifications for Australian and Australian Industry.
Tony Haymet is a distinguished scientist, educator, policy advisor and business development leader, and an elected fellow of the Australian Academy of Engineering (ATSE).
He was the tenth Director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and UCSD Vice-Chancellor for Marine Sciences, having led the Institution for 7 years, and now Emeritus Director & Vice-Chancellor and Distinguished Professor Emeritus.
Scripps is a 115-year-old, US$200 million earth science institution of 1600+ people addressing societally relevant issues in the fields of the solid earth, seismology, oceans & atmosphere, fisheries and marine biology.
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