Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 02 Issue 01

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Volume 02, No. 1
Pages 22 - 25


The Slocum Mission

By Henry Stommel  
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It is difficult to realize that twenty-five years have passed since I first came to the Slocum Mission Control Center on Nonamesset Island, one of the Elizabeth Islands, in 1996. I was a post-doc in physical oceanography, and the Department of the Environment had just acquired the island from the descendants of a sea captain prominent in the China trade of the early nineteenth century. The government acquired Nonamesset to establish the World Ocean Observing System [WOOS], a facility capable of monitoring the global ocean, using a fleet of small neutrally-buoyant floats called Slocums that draw their power from the temperature stratification of the ocean. Nonamesset Island was chosen partly because it is isolated from the mainland of Cape Cod, but mostly because it is close to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the Marine Biological Laboratory, and a thriving scientific community.


Stommel, H. 1989. The Slocum Mission. Oceanography 2(1):22–25, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.1989.26.

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