Today, research is led by expeditions or campaigns that target a particular science question. The FMRI transformation represents a new paradigm with in-situ infrastructure providing a continuous stream of data that that can address any number of scientific challenges. The FMRI Digital & AI theme will deliver the capability to realise the opportunities presented by a research infrastructure that is both connected and distributed in ways not previously considered.

Enabling net zero science

In November 2022, the FMRI Programme hosted an expert workshop to explore the interdependencies between Digital Infrastructure, Digital Twins of the Ocean (DiTTOs) and In-situ Observing Infrastructure.

The workshop found that the uptake of net zero observing capabilities will depend on building an infrastructure that allows scientists to engage in their research remotely. The development of increased bandwidth communications, improved data flows and shore-side command-control infrastructure will open the door to virtual participation in science missions. It will allow researchers around the world to collaborate seamlessly with technicians on green research ships. Near real time data will also enable responsive re-tasking of autonomous infrastructure to investigate areas of scientific interest, thereby maximising the quality and impact of gathered data. These changes will also make oceanography a more inclusive discipline for those who may be unable to join field expeditions.

The links between Digital Twins of the Ocean (DiTTOs), Digital Infrastructure and In-situ Observing Infrastructure. What is needed to deliver a fully integrated digital ecosystem?

Integrating Digital Twins of the Ocean (DiTTOs) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) with in-situ observational infrastructure will also help to optimise networked fleets. Live feedback about potential energy savings, faults, better routes for scientific sampling and de-risking missions will all inform marine planning decisions that might not be obvious to the user.

Integrating digital twins into the net zero oceanographic research infrastructure will open the possibility of more complex and better targeted operations that increase their scientific value.