ASA 129th Meeting - Washington, DC - 1995 May 30 .. Jun 06

2aAO14. Observing the ocean in the 1990s: Where do we stand now?

Carl Wunsch

Dept. of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Room 54-1524, MIT, Cambridge, MA 02139

Thirteen years ago, a paper with almost the same name as this present session was published by Munk and Wunsch. Ways in which oceanographers were likely to be observing the ocean 10 years later was speculated upon. The special focus was climate-scale problems with acoustic tomography and satellite altimetry as the natural complementary observational technologies. At the time, the tomographic idea was only about 4 years old, and now that it is half-way through the 1990s, it is interesting and perhaps useful to look back to understand the extent to which the vision of the role of tomography in oceanography has come to pass. A number of problems will be considered, from the technical to the sociological and attempt to make yet another forecast of where tomography in oceanography might be in another 10 years.