Download the Exploration Variables Identified by NOAA Ocean Exploration report (pdf, 2.53 MB).
Through its exploration activities and unique capabilities, NOAA Ocean Exploration reduces unknowns and scientific gaps in deep-ocean areas (greater than 200 meters/656 feet water depth) and provides high-value environmental intelligence required by NOAA and the nation to address current and emerging science and management needs.
To better understand the extent to which we are collecting data needed to carry out our exploration mission, a cross-division working group was tasked with the review of the oceanographic data recommended for initial exploration of an area, referred to as exploration variables.
The working group identified 91 exploration variables through a literature review of 12 deep-sea publications and reports that synthesize discussions and workshops related to exploration data. Ultimately, the working group deemed 16 exploration variables as high priority for NOAA Ocean Exploration based on the number of mentions in the literature.
“Exploration Variables Identified by NOAA Ocean Exploration” reports on these high-priority exploration variables using NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer as a case study to understand how we address them through one of our primary assets. The report also describes the feasibility assessment process we use to determine whether or not we can effectively and efficiently incorporate new technologies and methods into our operations to meet gaps in our exploration practices. This report will serve as a guide for improving NOAA Ocean Exploration's operations.
The following 16 high-priority exploration variables for NOAA Ocean Exploration were identified from the literature review. NOAA Ocean Exploration will use them to guide improvements to operations.