Building the integrated observational network of “Transparent Ocean”

TitleBuilding the integrated observational network of “Transparent Ocean”
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsWu, L, Chen, Z, Lin, X, Liu, Y
JournalChinese Science Bulletin (Chinese Version)
Type of ArticleJournal Article
Keywordsmarine observation and exploration technology, three-dimensional observation network, Transparent Ocean, transparent state

We live in an exciting era for ocean science, particularly when compared to three decades ago when the ocean was vastly underexplored. Progress can only be made through discovery, observation, understanding of the ocean from the surface to the deep sea, from global to local processes, and from physics, biogeochemistry to ecology. Ocean observation is the basis of oceanic scientific research and is a key to global competition in marine science and technology. Breakthroughs depend on innovation in marine observation and exploration technology. Based on the current frontier issues of ocean science, we report ways to build a three-dimensional observation network of “Transparent Ocean”. The network will effectively promote China’s construction of an international collaborative innovation network for marine science. The three-dimensional observation network “Transparent Ocean” focuses on building an intelligent mobile platform and integrates satellites, fixed platforms, vessel network, and submarine observation systems to make the oceans truly transparent. This network includes four sub-programs. (1) An Ocean Star Cluster Program, which resolves ocean variability at sub-meso and sub-week scales with a centimeter-level accuracy, to partially reveal the marine life system and ecosystem with a 10-m vertical interval in the euphotic layer, moving a significant step forward towards a “Transparent Ocean” down to the vicinity of thermocline both dynamically and bio-optically. (2) An Air-Sea Interface Program, which aims to build an observational network that integrates fixed and mobile platforms to achieve a three-dimensional view of key elements/variables of the air-sea interface. (3) A Starry Deep Sea Program, which builds a deep sea observation system with deep Argo, deep gliders, deep-sea autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), intelligent buoys, and other facilities. The system will provide support for information procurement through deep sea navigation and positioning technology. (4) An Undersea Perspective Program, which integrates seabed observation network, communication, navigation and positioning, with intelligent charging technologies to build an intelligent exploration network from water to the seabed. In addition, there is a Deep Blue Brain Project, which will build a marine internet of things with the goal to enhance the ability of intelligent services from data to customers. To date, breakthroughs have been made in research and development of cutting-edge marine technologies, providing new means for ocean observation and exploration. With respect to the ocean observation network, China has built a pilot mooring network with over one hundred sub-surface moorings and almost ten surface buoys in the western Pacific, South China Sea and the Indian Ocean over the past decade. In the next decade, it is essential to integrate observations, process studies and prediction/projection, so as to meet multiple demands of end users.


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