HALF A DOZEN AUTOMOBILES AND KITES
In 1955, renowned oceanographer Henry Stommel compared our approaches of observing the ocean to meteorologists studying the atmosphere with:
"half a dozen automobiles and kites to which air sounding instruments were attached and doing all their work on dark moonless nights when they couldn't see what was happening in their medium."
Advances in science and engineering have given us the ability to study the ocean with more detail and accuracy than ever before. However, the focus on competitive specialization in academia has impeded this progress, so despite these advances,
current technology still fails to successfully resolve the difficulty of taking
multiple measurements over a large, ever-changing landscape.
Scientists create hypotheses
but often struggle to construct adequate equipment.
Engineers create tools
but often remain unaware of their full potential.
Progress is lost in the lack of communication between the
natural and applied sciences.
IT IS NOW 2023.
95% OF THE OCEAN REMAINS UNCHARTED.
Perhaps Stommel would have called this the age of
"a dozen automobiles and kites".
Stommel, H.M., 1955. “Discussions on the relationship between meteorology and oceanography”. J. Mar. Res., 14, 504-510.
Last revised: February 28, 2023