There exists a well-developed and maturing framework for understanding and predicting the circulation of water masses at scales of the world ocean down to the scales of ports and harbors. Ocean circulation models employing data-assimilative techniques, and operating in real time, can benefit from observational infrastructure established and maintained by researchers, governments, and other organizations around the globe. As an example, observations from moored instruments which facilitate the measurements of current velocities can be used to constrain or adjust the predictions made by ocean circulation models (OCM). There are, however, properties of oceanic flows which are less conducive to direct observation, yet, if observed and assimilated into circulation models, could constrain and likely enhance the predictive skill of OCMs. Applications which stand to gain from improvements to the predictive ability of OCMs include the prediction of the drift trajectories of people/objects lost at sea (Hannah et al. 2004), the prediction of the transport of radioactive wastes (Nakano et al. 2012; Tsumune et al., 2012), oil (Paris et al. 2012; LeHénaff et al. 2012; Dietrich et al. 2012), drilling muds (Niu et al. 2009), as well as, other pollutants.
L'Esperance, John Christopher, "Instrumenting the unmanned surface vehicle, Dorado with a novel, miniature gas chromatograph: Toward a rapidly-deployable, operational protocol for studying dispersion in the ocean" (2015). Link Foundation Ocean Engineering and Instrumentation Fellowship Reports. 10.