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NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown sets sail to boost ocean data for weather prediction
Monica Allen
/ Categories: Research Headlines, 2018

NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown sets sail to boost ocean data for weather prediction

NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown steamed out of Charleston, South Carolina, on February 15, 2018, for a multi-stage trip around the world to improve ocean data that informs United States and global weather prediction.

NOAA's ocean workhorse steamed out of Charleston, South Carolina, on Feb. 15, 2018, for a a round-the-world mission to improve ocean observing. Credit: NOAA

Ron Brown’s first mission will be to investigate ocean currents in the North Atlantic Ocean that influence global climateFrom there, NOAA’s ocean workhorse will journey south to the tropical Atlantic Ocean to replace four instrumented observing moorings in the Prediction and Research Moored Array in the Atlantic or PIRATA. The PIRATA moorings are part of a larger tropical observing system of buoys that provides ocean and atmospheric data that helps the U.S. and other nations predict droughts, floods, hurricanes and other weather affecting millions of people in the Americas and Africa.

Brazil recently issued an official postage stamp with photographs of the Ron Brown and vessels from Brazil and France to celebrate 20 years of collaboration between Brazil, France and the United States on the PIRATA ocean observing system.  

From the waters of the Atlantic, the Ron Brown will travel around the southern tip of Africa and into the Indian Ocean, where it will conduct two major research campaigns to advance ocean observing.

Brazil's postal service issued this stamp to celebrate 20 years of collaboration between Brazil, France and the United States on the Prediction and Research Moored Array in the Atlantic, or PIRATA. Courtesy of the Brazil Postal Service

The first campaign will be to sample ocean and atmospheric conditions in the western Indian Ocean, which has not been sampled since 1995. This new data will help scientists better understand how environmental changes in the Indian Ocean may be contributing to sea level rise, expanding ocean dead zones and more intense monsoons in the region.

The second campaign is to launch three new moorings in the Arabian Sea as part of the Research Moored Array for African-Asian-Australian Monsoon Analysis and Prediction or RAMA, which is designed to understand the role of the Indian Ocean in driving monsoons. One third of the world’s population depends on monsoon-driven rainfall for agricultural production, so improving our understanding and ability to predict monsoons has been a longstanding objective of the international scientific community.

Stay tuned for more information as we follow Ron Brown over the next eight-month-long journey round the world.

For more information, please contact Monica Allen, director of public affairs for NOAA Research, at

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Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) - or "NOAA Research" - provides the research foundation for understanding the complex systems that support our planet. Working in partnership with other organizational units of the NOAA, a bureau of the Department of Commerce, NOAA Research enables better forecasts, earlier warnings for natural disasters, and a greater understanding of the Earth. Our role is to provide unbiased science to better manage the environment, nationally, and globally.


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