NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown Returns to Charleston After Four Months in Eastern Pacific

February 2, 2009

The NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown has returned to its homeport of Charleston, S.C., after spending four months in the eastern Pacific, most recently servicing an array of buoys which provide data for climate studies.

NOAA ship ronald H. Brown.

NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown.

High resolution (Credit: NOAA)

The Brown’s crew serviced  the Tropical Atmosphere Ocean Array, approximately 70 moored ocean buoys in the tropical Pacific Ocean designed for the study of year-to-year climate variations related to El Niño and La Niña.

Scientists use the ocean and weather  data from the buoy array to research the causes of El Niño and La Niña. The data also are fed into computer models that can predict the development of El Niño and La Niña up to one year in advance. The array consists of NOAA moorings in the eastern and central Pacific and Japanese moorings in the western Pacific. The array is supported by a multi-national partnership of institutions and is a major component of global ocean and global climate observing systems.

Prior to servicing the buoy array, crew of the Brown was part of a two-month NOAA, National Science Foundation, and NASA-sponsored investigation of the physical mechanisms that keep the ocean so cold in a large region of the Pacific. Ronald H. Brown joined five aircraft from the U.S. and Britain as well as a Peruvian research vessel in the study of oceanography, meteorology, and biology off the coast of Peru.

Named after the late secretary of commerce, NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown, a state-of-the-art oceanographic and atmospheric research platform, is the largest vessel in the NOAA fleet. With its highly advanced instruments and sensors, Ronald H. Brown travels worldwide supporting scientific studies to increase our understanding of the world's oceans and climate. The ship was commissioned on July 19, 1997 in its home port of Charleston.

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.