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We envision an integrated approach to observation of the global ocean on a regular and long-term basis in partnership with the shipping industry as an essential component of the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS).

The challenge here for Science Research on Commercial Ships (Science RoCS) is threefold:

  • Fostering cooperation between the shipping industry and the scientific community at a level that will be transformative for societally relevant ocean science;
  • Promoting cross-disciplinary ocean science by simultaneously collecting multiple data streams near the air/sea interface (via meteorological sensors and the ship’s seawater intake) and within the water column (via acoustic sensors and deployment of autonomous sensors);
  • Spurring a technological revolution in observational oceanography by developing new turnkey, maritime-industry-appropriate scientific equipment.

The resulting freely distributed data will be a fundamental resource for understanding the climatic state and health of our planet and will also provide systematic ground truth information about the state of the ocean surface and lower atmosphere to interpret and assess remotely sensed data and numerical model output. This transformative impact will be bolstered by cooperation of those within the scientific community—comprising scientists, engineers, data managers and research vessel operators—as well as close coordination with commercial vessel operators and federal funding agencies.