Education: Solving Old Problems With New Technology

Before technological advancements in oceanographic instrumentation, scientists often collected data in a very linear, simplistic way: using ships and taking measurements one point at a time. This was effective, but left many gaps in the whole ocean story. Today, autonomous in-water instruments and satellites are being used to fill in those gaps.

Graph of brightness temperature vs. sea surface temperature

Dr. Yi Chao explains how satellite technology has evolved throughout the years to deal with the challenge of measuring ocean salinity from space.
Data swaths using the Aquarius instrument

In this clip, Dr. Gary Lagerloef discusses how scientists were able to increase the accuracy of the Aquarius satellite through adequate sampling and broader spatial coverage.
SPURS glider survey

Dr. Fred Bingham introduces viewers to an at-sea glider system, including their importance and function in modern oceanographic research.
Schematic of ARGO profile operation

Dr. Stephen Riser explains what an Argo float is and how it has increased scientists' knowledge of global ocean salinity since its implementation.
TOPEX/Poseidon satellite

Ocean-observing satellites are able to measure a variety of properties including weather, salinity, temperature, and ocean color. Dr. Eric Lindstrom talks about the evolution of these satellites and how they have progressed to give us more detailed views of the worlds oceans from space.
Graph of a freshening event in the SPURS region

Dr. Stephen Riser explains the importance of advancing oceanographic research equipment and why a rain event over the ocean can tell us a lot about how the ocean works to move water from place to place.
Sea surface salinity for the SPURS region

Dr. Fred Bingham talks how using both satellites and in-situ equipment is creating a more accurate picture of processes occurring in the salty Atlantic.
International space station

Dr. Eric Lindstrom talks about the connection between ocean-going vessels and ocean-observing satellites and how both are vital in learning more about how ocean circulation works and affects our planet.
Wave glider deployed from the R/V Knorr

What Are Wave Gliders? (00:03:43)  Planning and Carrying Out Investigations Analyzing and Interpreting Data Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions 
In this clip, Dr. Fred Bingham gives an overview of the various components aboard a wave glider.
Map of annual mean seawater salinity at 1km depth

Dr. Stephen Riser explains that sea surface salinity can vary not only throughout the global ocean, but also from surface to deep.
SPURS sampling schematic

The process of studying the ocean has changed dramatically since the first ocean explorers set out on ships. Dr. Eric Lindstrom explains that modern-day oceanographers are using new technology to create a "sensor web" to study ocean interactions - changing the face of oceanography.
Flux buoy locations

What's Above a Mooring? (00:03:21)  Asking Questions and Defining Problems Planning and Carrying Out Investigations Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information 
Surface moorings collect continuous data from a single point in the ocean. Dr. Tom Farrar explains the types of instrumentation often found atop one of these moorings.