Constructive interference: Light, optics and the ocean
Today, Optica joins the UN to celebrate the 31st World Oceans Day. We reflect on the role of light in the ocean and the atmosphere and the potential for optics to preserve our water for future generations.
The oceans play an important role in the cycles of absorption and emission of CO2 in the atmosphere. Light looms large. Photosynthesis drives the ocean food chain, growing microbes and photosynthetic plankton near the surface that are responsible for generating half of the oxygen in the atmosphere. RADAR and lidar (light-based RADAR) are used to monitor surface and coastal dynamics. Optics puts the remote in remote sensing. Visible light and infrared radiometers aboard the Suomi NPP satellite monitor microbes and plankton from space. Other IR instruments provide temperature, atmospheric moisture concentrations, and ozone coverage. And don’t forget that for more than two millennia, if you wanted to keep your crew and cargo off the rocks, light was the key to staying the course. P. Scott Carney, Optica's Chief Scientist
Hear from GEMM partners on the importance of water, the role of GEMM, and fun facts about the oceans.
Accepting applications 16 May - 21 July for US$100,000 prizes solving real-world challenges in our oceans and environment as well as health and information.
Westlake brings leading water quality and ocean monitoring to the GEMM Initiative.
Explore the official World Oceans Day site and learn how others are celebrating and protecting the ocean.
Optica Fellow Min Qiu shares his perspective on the growth of Westlake, and the role of optics in shaping the future.