Canada Foundation for Innovation commits $3.8M towards robotic ocean observing facility for the NE Pacific

October 18, 2017
Gliders like this will be deployed as part of C-PROOF, a facility that will allow for the autonomous observing of ocean temperatures, oxygen levels, biological productivity and ocean life in the NE Pacific. Photo credit: Tara Howatt

A team of oceanographers and ocean engineers from UBC, the University of Victoria and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans have recently been awarded $3.8 million from the Canada Foundation for Innovation toward a $9.5 million project to build a robotic ocean-observing facility in BC waters. The facility promises to provide invaluable data on weather, climate change, fish populations and wave energy through a better understanding of the dramatic changes occurring in the Northeast Pacific Ocean.

The Canadian Pacific Robotic Ocean Observing Facility (C-PROOF) is a proposed state-of-the-art facility that promises a step-change in our capacity for observing the Northeast Pacific Ocean. Ocean change, its potential for life, and its potential as a source of energy are still poorly understood largely because of a lack of observational data. C-PROOF will help to address this by deploying autonomous ocean observing platforms, such as instrumented ocean gliders and profiling floats, to explore and monitor both BC coastal and offshore waters to track life, quantify turbulence, and measure ocean nutrients. The facility will also deploy mooring arrays with innovative instrumentation capable of measuring ocean winds and waves with unprecedented fidelity.  In this way, it is posed to play a vital role in the growth of BC’s marine-energy technology sector through furthering the development of wind and wave moorings capable of exacting and continuous measurement of wave energy.

UBC oceanographers involved in leading the project include Stephanie Waterman, Roger Francois and Philippe Tortell.  Rich Pawlowicz, Susan Allen, and Brian Hunt are identified as key facility users.

Having secured $1.9 million cash and in-kind contributions from project partners, and now $3.8 million from the federal level, the fate of C-PROOF rests only with its application to the BC Knowledge Development Fund for the required provincial matching funds.  A decision on this funding is expected in December 2017.

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