Each day during the month of April, the Institute will feature one of the 30 ‘perspectives’ from the One Ocean report. These short articles include a diverse range of views regarding oceans management in New Zealand. Enjoy!


Dr Susan Avery, President and Director of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts

Ocean research institutions in fifty years’ time

Our planet is a complex, dynamic system of interactions between the atmosphere, ocean, land, snow, ice, and everything that lives here.

In that planetary clockwork, the ocean is a key cog. It drives heat, water and nutrients around the globe.It maintains essential ecosystems. In short, it makes our planet habitable.

We know the ocean is changing rapidly. It is warming, becoming more acidic and losing sea ice. Sea levels are rising. It is overfished and more polluted by chemicals and noise. At the same time,industries are expanding into the ocean for resources.

These changes will have impacts on agriculture, fisheries, water, food, energy supplies, coastal infrastructure,transportation and natural events such as tsunamis and extreme weather – all of which profoundly affect our economy, health, welfare and national security.

The future of the ocean is uncertain, which means our future is uncertain. But technology advances are allowing Earth scientists better access to the ocean to make observations and gain knowledge. Networks of instruments and of people are poised to tackle larger questions about how the Earth system operates. In many ways, the ocean community is positioned to do what atmospheric scientists began in the 1950s – to dramatically expand our understanding and predictive capabilities for weather.

If we expand our ocean exploration and observations, we will make new discoveries,increase understanding, reduce uncertainties and produce better projections about future conditions for the ocean and our planet. As a result, we will inform adaptation policies for governments,resource managers, businesses and people. We will improve governance of the ocean and the entire planetary commons and help ensure our survival.

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