About OceanScope

From 2000 to 2007 the integrated science and outreach OceanLab program on Explorer of the Seas not only yielded invaluable data but provided more than 90,000 cruise ship guests the opportunity to become familiar with ocean science and to meet ocean scientists through lectures and laboratory tours.  The operation required the continual presence of a shipboard technician who maintained a sophisticated suite of scientific instruments similar to those aboard oceanographic research vessels.  Many components required manual intervention and frequent servicing.  With shrinking science budgets this was simply an unsustainable business model.

With funds provided by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL), we began to develop autonomous remotely controllable measurement systems.  These next-generation data acquisition systems run for many months at a time without physical operator interaction delivering data automatically to both the shore side scientific community (and where relevant) to ship operators concerned with attaining maximal fuel economy.  This next-generation system we called AMOS (Automated Meteorological and Oceanographic System) is now operational on three RCCL vessels (the RCL Allure of the Seas, Adventure of the Seas and the Celebrity's Equinox).  In summer 2019 we expect that newly installed instruments on Celebrity's Flora in the Galapagos will become operational. 

Since 2015 additional instrumentation onboard, the M-AERI measuring satellite comparable sea surface temperatures, a pCO2 system for ocean carbon dioxide measurements and ADCP’s measuring ocean currents have received next generation upgrades. The pilot systems aboard the Explorer of the Seas were renewed and upgraded for installation upon Adventure of the Seas when Explorer of the Seas was refurbished and relocated to the Far East in 2016.

This transformation, and the growing recognition of the data obtainable from commercial vessels in regular transit is invaluable, and has generated an international response, known as OceanScope.  The OceanScope program is envisioned as a fleet of commercial vessels with automated instrumentation spanning the global ocean and serving as “satellites of the sea.” The report of the international group proposing OceanScope is located where. OceanScope is very much the “legacy” of the UM-RCCL collaboration and with its implementation, the UM-RCCL collaboration is expected to continue to serve as technology test-beds over the coming years.