Oliver Sun

3. Your affiliation
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

4. Your discipline
Physical Oceanography

5. Across all ocean science disciplines, please list 3 important scientific questions that you believe will drive ocean research over the decade.
1) Ocean and coupled atmosphere-ocean processes span a huge range of time and space scales. How well do we understand the interactions, e.g., between small-scale, high-frequency processes and daily to seasonal variability on up to long-term, basin-wide or global trends? To the extent that models can be said to “capture” these couplings in the present climate system, how true will this be for future climate scenarios?

2) How can we improve weather prediction and preparedness/mitigation — in particular with respect to severe storms/hurricanes/typhoons? Does there need to be an increased commitment to weather observation networks?

3) What or where are the observational constraints on climate prediction? If there are significant gaps in our observations, then what measurements should we be making and what is their feasibility? For example, what is the level of interest in maintaining long time series measurements whose benefit may be relatively limited in the short term?
6. Within your own discipline, please list 3 important scientific questions that you believe will drive ocean research over the next decade.
1) Longstanding questions about how the ocean “works”: a) How much wind energy is input into the oceans and where and how are energy from winds and tides dissipated? b) What are the effects on the circulation, vertical mixing and heat transport? c) What are the feedbacks into the atmosphere?

2) What are the heat, tracer, and energy/momentum fluxes at the top and bottom of the oceanic mixed layer, and what controls them?

3) Many of the advances in understanding over the past few decades have been about oceanic processes which are intermittent, localized, often strongly nonlinear (e.g., hydraulic overflows, bottom- and slope-intensified bores, solitary waves, wave-mean and/or wave-front interactions and breaking, physical-biogeochemical interactions, storm passage, many others). What new instruments and techniques are needed to better document these strongly nonlinear processes?

7. Please list 3 ideas for programs, technology, infrastructure, or facilities that you believe will play a major role in addressing the above questions over the next decade. Please consider both existing and new technology/facilities/infrastructure/programs that could be deployed in this timeframe. What mechanisms might be identified to best leverage these investments (interagency collaborations, international partnerships, etc.)?
The UNOLS ships will be vital for developing and collecting the observations needed to address the problems discussed above, and to respond to new goals and problems as they arise.

Support for new instruments is also needed. In particular, more and better small/low-cost instruments are sorely needed to take full advantage of autonomous vehicles and platforms.

Finally, long-term commitments to weather and climate observing systems are needed which go beyond the time scales of individual projects and careers.

8. Other comments pertinent to the committee’s charge.
Oft-stated goals such as encouraging risk taking, leaps in capability rather than incremental changes, increasing the number of Ph.D.s in math and sciences, etc., all depend upon a funding (and hiring) environment which is friendly to the above.