For decades, oceanography was severely constrained by data availability, but now we are drowning in a flood of data. Oceanography has been revolutionized through the development of new observing technologies (eg. satellites, autonomous floats, and gliders) that deliver vast amounts of data every day. Alongside these observations, a new class of of numerical models has emerged which simulate the ocean with ever increasing detail and realism. While new measurements are undoubtedly important, it is also true that most existing data remains severely unexploited due to the challenges of finding, acquiring, processing, and visualizing the large, complex, heterogeneous datasets. To leverage our past investments in ocean observations and modeling, and to fully exploit new observations, we must transform our infrastructure and tools for working with ocean data.

To meet this challenge, we need an international collaboration to accelerate the development of cloud-based data infrastructure for oceanography: OpenOceanCloud. This partnership between universities, research institutes, and industry will leverage open data, open-source software, and cloud computing to build a collaboration platform that can be used by students and researchers across the world. Currently, data intensive ocean research is only accessible to privileged institutions with the resources for high performance computing and data storage. OpenOceanCloud will break down this barrier, providing a research platform to the thousands of potential oceanographers who lack such resources. Access to vast data sets and powerful computing environments can help remove the barriers related to low-bandwidth internet, intermittent power, and limited cyber infrastructure. With this infrastructure, anyone can do science, anywhere, and this empowers communities that have been historically excluded from full participation in oceanography.

Institutional Partners

Pangeo Logo

Pangeo is an open, distributed, international community of scientists and software developers. The goal of Pangeo is to catalyze the development of innovative open-source software and infrastructure for big-data geoscience. The OpenOceanCloud concept emerged from discussions within the Pangeo community.


Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, part of Columbia University’s Earth Institute, seeks fundamental knowledge about the origin, evolution, and future of the natural world. LDEO scientists study the planet from its deepest interior to the outer reaches of its atmosphere, on every continent and in every ocean, providing a rational basis for the difficult choices facing humanity. LDEO is home to OpenOceanCloud co-leader Ryan Abernathey.


Metadata Game Changers, LLC is a small, data management consultancy focused on helping research repositories build and sustain connections with the researcher community. MGC supports a number of projects including Openscapes. Metadata Game Changers is home to OpenOceanCloud collaborator, Erin Robinson.


The Consortium for Ocean Leadership is a consortium of the leading ocean science and technology institutions from academia, aquaria, and industry. Based in Washington, D.C., COL advances ocean research, innovation, education, and sound policy. COL is home to OpenOceanCloud collaborators, Andrea McCurdy and Leslie Smith.


Farallon Institute is a nonprofit scientific organization dedicated to understanding how the ocean impacts our lives and how we, in turn, impact the ocean. Farallon Institute is home to OpenOceanCloud collaborator, Chelle Gentemann.


We are pursuing the OpenOceanCloud vision via engagement with the UN Ocean Decade and associated national actions.

Ocean Decade Laboratories: A Predicted Ocean (15 - 17 Sept, 2021)

TheUN Ocean Decade Laboratories are a creative, interactive platform to support action for the Ocean Decade around the globe. OpenOceanCloud will take parted in the Predicted Ocean Laboratory 15 - 17 Sept, 2021.

Our event is an asynchronous global sprint, leveraging technology to bring together a distributed international community. We will work together to identify the organizational, technical and community activities needed to advance OpenOceanCloud. The outcome of this brainstorming session will be published as a community whitepaper.

Participate in the OpenOceanCloud Laboratory

OceanDecade: U.S. Launch Meeting (Feb 2021)

The U.S. Ocean Decade Launch Meeting consisted of a 2-day virtual meeting. OpenOceanCloud was proposed as an Ocean Shot Concept, defined as

an ambitious, transformational research concept that draws inspiration and expertise from multiple disciplines and fundamentally advances ocean science for sustainable development.

A record of our participation can be found in the Ocean Shot Directory (search for “OceanCloud”). Our submission was selected out of hundreds for a plenary talk in plenary session 5.

For convenience, the original full presentation video is here:

And the slides are here: