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 academic trend to subdivide the sciences and focus on specialization has led to the decline of the "Renaissance Man". Thus, despite these advances, current technology still fails to successfully resolve the problem of taking multiple measurements over a large, ever-changing landscape.
Scientists create hypotheses but often struggle with constructing adequate testing equipment.
Engineers create tools but often remain unaware of their potential scientific applications.
Much potential progress may be lost in the lack of communication between the natural and applied sciences.
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: April 19, 2020