Engineer Mike Kirk with self-contained wave recorder - Photo: Marc Tule
Studies of ocean and earth sciences are technology-intensive. Scientists spend long periods of time at sea and on land deploying a wide range of instruments. They process enormous volumes of data. The development of specialized equipment and data-handling systems is an activity that crosses a number of disciplines, combining the expertise of biologists, geologists, oceanographers, and engineers.
For 40 years, Scripps has operated the unique seagoing laboratory known as FLIP, for Floating Instrument Platform. A spar buoy, FLIP is designed to stand on station in an upright position and remain highly stable for prolonged periods of time.
As part of a global network, an array of geophysical sensors at Scripps's Pi on Flats Observatory in the desert east of San Diego monitors seismic, radionuclide, hydroacoustic, and infrasound phenomena.
The Coastal Data Information Program (CDIP) deploys a network of moored buoys along the California coast. Data on sea-surface conditions and the coastal environment acquired by program scientists are archived and disseminated for use by coastal engineers, planners and managers, scientists, mariners, and surfers.
The Visualization Center at Scripps is the world's first such facility dedicated to earth and ocean sciences. Three-dimensional images projected onto a curved, floor-to-ceiling screen immerse viewers in a virtual world. The system displays multiple video input sources simultaneously and is equipped with technology that permits stereographic 3-D viewing of high-resolution images. It is networked with a similar center at San Diego State University so that researchers at both institutions can transmit data and images simultaneously while collaborating on their analysis.
The Real-Time Observatories, Applications, and Data Management Network (ROADNet) extends the information superhighway to undeveloped areas and the high seas. Providing end-to-end, real-time, wireless network connectivity for environmental data, it connects existing scientific wireless networks along the Southern California Bight and into the Sierra Nevada Range, to offshore moorings, and to Scripps research vessels on the high seas.