OCEAN OBSERVING PLATFORMS

HOW CAN WE MEASURE THE OCEAN?

There are many different ways to collect ocean data, and generally the method is chosen depending on what one wants to measure and how much money one has. I've split the main measuring platforms that are used into three main sections:

 1.  Marine robotic vehicles

useful for 3D studies, i.e. for phenomena that spread both vertically and horizontally, like oil spills or animal migrations

2.  Surface and profiling instruments

useful for 1D or 2D studies, especially long-term, like how oxygen varies with depth in a specific location 

3.  Other fundamental methods

ships, submarines, and satellites: these methods show the progression of research platforms throughout history

CONFUSION WITH CLASSIFICATION

It is very probable that some people will disagree with how I've categorized marine vehicles. The lines between the different types are still fairly blurred and there is no universal agreement. Below is a general overview of vehicle types as well as a more detailed look at naming differences.

classification styles

THE ALPHABET SOUP

Most of the (many) acronyms

LOCAL VARIATIONS

Science vs. military/commercial

why is classification so difficult?

THE DIFFICULTIES

A comparison with biology

... and a final analogy.

A LITTLE MORE ABOUT GLIDERS:

The "phytoplankton" of the underwater robotics world

Last revised: May 5, 2020​

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© 2020 ALLISON SUEYI CHUA

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