U. Arizona: Global Ocean Data Illuminate Earth's Future Climate

Float Deployment

As global climate change accelerates with increasingly substantial impacts on communities worldwide, the need to understand and make reliable projections of future climate becomes ever more imperative.

The National Science Foundation-funded Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modeling, or SOCCOM, project is meeting this need by deploying 200 robotic floats in the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica to capture real-time biological, geological and chemical (often called "biogeochemical") data.

With the help of CyVerse, the NSF-funded and University of Arizona-led national data management project, SOCCOM hopes soon to expand the network of floats to monitor carbon cycling throughout the world's swiftly changing oceans.

"We have an international agreement to reduce carbon and other greenhouse gases. Now is the time to act," says Joellen Russell, an oceanographer and climate modeler in the UA's Department of Geosciences, who heads up SOCCOM’s modeling efforts. "But we need to count the carbon in order to manage the carbon."

SOCCOM is a coalition led by Princeton University and includes the UA,Scripps Institute of OceanographyUniversity of WashingtonMonterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), Climate CentralNational Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NSF and NASA.

Read More: https://uanews.arizona.edu/story/global-ocean-data-illuminate-earths-future-climate


Update on GO-SHIP Deployment of SOCCOM floats

Melissa Miller, a technician deploying SOCCOM floats from a GO-SHIP cruise on the R/V Investigator, offers her perspective on the brave new world of autonomous observations.

Melissa Miller, a technician deploying SOCCOM floats from a GO-SHIP cruise on the R/V Investigator, offers her perspective on the brave new world of autonomous observations. Read More: http://melissatruth.com/i-for-one-welcome-our-new-float-overlords/

SOCCOM Annual Meeting May 9-11

Our Annual Meeting for SOCCOM participants and invited guests was held May 9-11 at Scripps Institution of Oceanography – log in for details.

SOCCOM Update Featured in SOOS Newsletter

An update on SOCCOM accomplishments was featured in the May 1, 2016 edition of the SOOS Newsletter.

The Southern Ocean Carbon & Climate Observations and Modeling (SOCCOM) Project is in its second season of deploying autonomous biogeochemical floats to make sustained observations of the carbon cycle.  SOCCOM is a six-year initiative to transform our understanding of the Southern Ocean by creating a network of these robotic floats, as well as carrying out shipboard measurements, instrument and sensor development, and data analysis, including state estimation in conjunction with a high-resolution earth system modeling program. SOCCOM is funded by the National Science Foundation’s Division of Polar Programs, with additional support from NOAA and NASA.

SOCCOM Update in Featured in SOOS Newsletter

Read More: http://www.soos.aq/news/current-news/307-soccom-project-update

Nature: SOCCOM Launches Robotic Ocean Probes to Measure Global Warming Impacts

The Southern Ocean guards its secrets well. Strong winds and punishing waves have kept all except the hardiest sailors at bay. But a new generation of robotic explorers is helping scientists to document the region’s influence on the global climate. These devices are leading a technological wave that could soon give researchers unprecedented access to oceans worldwide.

Oceanographers are already using data from the more than 3,900 floats in the international Argo array. These automated probes periodically dive to depths of 2,000 metres, measuring temperature and salinity before resurfacing to transmit their observations to a satellite (see ‘Diving deeper’). The US$21-million Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modeling Project (SOCCOM) is going a step further, deploying around 200 advanced probes to monitor several indicators of seawater chemistry and biological activity in the waters around Antarctica. A primary aim is to track the prodigious amount of carbon dioxide that flows into the Southern Ocean.

Read More: http://www.nature.com/news/massive-network-of-robotic-ocean-probes-gets-smart-upgrade-1.19621

SOCCOM Webinar on ORCAS Study

Britt Stephens of NCAR was the presenter for our April 8 webinar, "Oceanography at 460 knots: The O2/N2 Ratio and CO2 Airborne Southern Ocean (ORCAS) Study."  To view a recording of the webinar, click here.

SOCCOM-U. Tasmania Cruise Deploying Floats in South Indian Ocean

Isa Rosso

Isa Rosso, a SOCCOM postdoc from Scripps Institution of Oceanography is currently aboard SOCCOM’s third float deployment cruise of the season in the South Indian Ocean, which is being carried out in partnership with the University of Tasmania on Australia’s R/V Investigator.

The cruise departed from Fremantle, Australia, and is headed to Hobart, Tasmania. Along the way Isa is deploying 7 SOCCOM biogeochemical (BGC) floats  (2 are already at work) - you can keep up with the cruise through her blog and via posts from other Investigator crew members here.  You can also take a virtual tour of the Investigator at the CSIRO website.

Visit our website to access upcoming float and shipboard data for the University of Tasmania (HEOBI) cruise

Join the SOCCOM Webinar Series

GoToWebinarDetails for the SOCCOM 2017-2018 Webinar Series will be forthcoming.



Follow Veronica Tamsitt on the First SOCCOM Cruise of the Season

Veronica TamsmittVeronica Tamsitt is a SOCCOM graduate student at the University of California, San Diego – Scripps Institution of Oceanography who will be spending the next month onboard a US Antarctic Program icebreaker in the Southern Ocean. Veronica will be deploying and calibrating our biogeochemical floats off the coast of Chile in partnership with a research cruise run by the Ocean Observatories Initiative – read her updates on science at sea, wild weather (hopefully not too wild!) and SOCCOM research on her blog:


Google Hangout: Climate Change and the Southern Ocean

You can view the recording of our December 3rd Google Hangout on YouTube:

Google Hangout: Climate Change and the Southern Ocean

Google Hangout
► YouTube Page: https://youtu.be/IAMMDBeeix4

This year wraps up with big climate and weather news – on international efforts in Paris to reach a global agreement on limiting emissions, about the strong El Nino in play in the Pacific Ocean, and with the acknowledgment that this year will be the hottest ever recorded.
Join us for a Google Hangout that explores the critical role the Southern Ocean plays as it relates to current events, and hear from some of the world’s leading climate scientists and educators as they reveal what new research gleaned from robotic floats tells us about the huge and important body of water that encircles Antarctica.


December 3, 11:30am ET/ 8:30am PT


  • Moderator: Heidi Cullen, Climate Central
  • Panelists: Joellen Russell, University of Arizona
  • Lynne Talley, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  • Greg Brusseau, University of Washington
  • Veronica Tamsitt, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  • Isa Rosso, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  • Ron Banas, Princeton Day School
  • Jack Madani, Princeton Day School


The hangout is part of an ongoing series and outreach effort by the Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modeling (SOCCOM) program, a $21 million NSF-funded initiative that uses robotic floats equipped with new technology to study and model changes in the Southern Ocean.