Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 22 Issue 02

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Volume 22, No. 2
Pages 128 - 145


Growing a Distributed Ocean Observatory: Our View from the COOL Room

Scott Glenn Oscar Schofield
Article Abstract

The Rutgers University (RU) Coastal Ocean Observation Lab (COOL) is an enduring product of the National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP). The key to its longevity is the academic, industry, and government partnerships that were formed through the NOPP process. These partnerships were galvanized by time at sea and then sustained through peer-reviewed proposals. The lab operates an advanced ocean observatory that has maintained a continuous presence on the New Jersey continental shelf since 1992. Key technologies for sustained spatial observations include locally acquired satellite infrared and ocean color imagery, a multistatic high-frequency radar array, and a fleet of autonomous underwater gliders. COOL provides a regional perspective that supports interdisciplinary process studies; provides a test bed, allowing rapid spiral development of sensors and platforms; and has anchored new “campaign” science programs where hundreds of scientists come together for intensive multi-institutional experiments. RU COOL is now a core component of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Mid-Atlantic Regional Ocean Observing System that, in 2007, began providing data for the full shelf from Cape Cod to Cape Hatteras. Looking to the future, in collaboration with partners from around the globe, the International Consortium of Ocean Observing Labs was formed to focus on improving global ocean observing. The NOPP approach was new and unique when introduced. Its philosophy of partnership among diverse groups was fundamental to the success of COOL and, we believe, will sustain international collaborations into the future.


Glenn, S., and O. Schofield. 2009. Growing a distributed ocean observatory: Our view from the COOL Room. Oceanography 22(2):128–145, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2009.44.


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