Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 30 Issue 02

View Issue TOC
Volume 30, No. 2
Pages 15 - 17

Autonomous Instruments Significantly Expand Ocean Observing: An Introduction to the Special Issue

Craig M. Lee Theresa Paluszkiewicz Daniel L. RudnickMelissa M. OmandRobert E. Todd
First Paragraph

Oceanography relies heavily on observations to fuel new ideas and drive advances, creating a strong coupling between the science and the technological developments that enable new measurements. Novel observations, such as those that resolve new properties or scales, often lead to advances in understanding. Physical, biological, and chemical processes unfold over a broad range of scales—seconds to decades and millimeters to ocean basins—with critical interactions between scales. Observational studies work within a tradespace that balances spatial and temporal resolution, scope, and resource constraints. New platforms and sensors, along with the novel observational approaches they enable, address this challenge by providing access to an expanding range of temporal and spatial scales.


Lee, C.M., T. Paluszkiewicz, D.L. Rudnick, M.M. Omand, and R.E. Todd. 2017. Autonomous instruments significantly expand ocean observing: An introduction to the special issue on autonomous and Lagrangian platforms and sensors (ALPS). Oceanography 30(2):15–17, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2017.211.


Dickey, T.D., E.C. Itsweire, M.A. Moline, and M.J. Perry. 2008. Introduction to the Limnology and Oceanography Special Issue on Autonomous and Lagrangian Platforms and Sensors (ALPS). Limnology and Oceanography 53, https://doi.org/​10.4319/lo.2008.53.5_part_2.2057.

Riser, S.C., H.J. Freeland, D. Roemmich, S. Wijffels, A. Troisi, M. Belbéoch, D. Gilbert, J. Xu, S. Pouliquen, A. Thresher, and others. 2016. Fifteen years of ocean observations with the global Argo array. Nature Climate Change 5:145–153, https://doi.org/10.1038/nclimate2872.

Rudnick, D.L. 2016. Ocean research enabled by underwater gliders. Annual Review of Marine Science 8:9.1–9.23, https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-marine-122414-033913.

Rudnick, D.L., and M.J. Perry, eds. 2003. ALPS: Autonomous and Lagrangian Platforms and Sensors: A Report of the Workshop Held March 31–April 3, 2003. 64pp., https://geo-prose.com/pdfs/alps_report.pdf.