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UW awarded $23.5M to build floating robots as part of NSF project to monitor the world’s oceans

The ocean float lab in the UW Ocean Sciences Building is a hive of activity. Dozens of floats are in various stages of construction, both for the ongoing Argo program and the new SOCCOM project to study the Southern Ocean

The University of Washington is among leading U.S. oceanographic institutions that have received National Science Foundation funding to build and deploy 500 robotic ocean-monitoring floats to monitor the chemistry and biology of the world’s oceans. The National Science Foundation on October 29 approved a $53 million, five-year grant to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI); the UW; Scripps Institution of Oceanography; the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; and Princeton University. 

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Case studies illustrate how water utilities may adapt to climate change

The ship canal

Changing climate has far-reaching impacts, and is testing parts of society’s ability to continue doing business-as-usual.  Among these are water utilities, the entities responsible for delivering clean, fresh water to our nation’s households and managing wastewater and stormwater. Climate change affects not only rainfall and annual precipitation patterns—which has implications on the availability of freshwater—but can also stress the infrastructure and systems used to treat, deliver and manage water resources. 

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Big ships and underwater robots: heading out to sea with the Ocean Observatories Initiative

sablefish and Jason

It’s summertime, and that means scientists across the University of Washington College of the Environment are in the field collecting data. Researchers in the School of Oceanography are no different and are working off the Oregon coast on their annual expedition to maintain the long-running cabled ocean observatory. Part of the broader National Science Foundation’s Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI), UW oversees the Regional Cabled Observatory that spans several sites in Pacific Northwest waters, ranging from shallow coastal locales to deeper waters in the open ocean more than 300 miles offshore. 

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Apprentices build floats and careers in Argo Lab

Student Corinne Selethos works on an Argo Float.

In the basement of one of UW’s oceanography buildings, visitors see all sorts of strange, ocean-going equipment.  What are those long, yellow tube-things in there — and what on earth do they do? Turns out they’re an instrument known as an Argo float, and they are used globally to monitor ocean properties such as temperature, salinity, pressure and more recently, biogeochemical elements such as oxygen and nitrate. 

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UW hosts student robotics challenge Friday to mark 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 moon landing

A Lego Mindstorms robot, with a plastic astronaut strapped to the front, approaches the lunar lander.

This Saturday will mark a half century since the Apollo 11 mission landed on the moon and two U.S. astronauts, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, walked its surface. At the University of Washington, the NASA-funded Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline, or NEESP, is marking the occasion with a robotics challenge for middle and high school students from across the state. 

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