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From the Director

Atmosphere and Oceans Research Institute: Future Prospects
 

Prof. Hiroshi NIINO The Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute (AORI) strives to provide a scientific foundation for future society and a sustainable global environment. Specifically, we aim to clarify the complex mechanisms of the oceans, atmosphere, and living organisms nurtured in these spheres as well as their evolution and variations. In addition, as a Joint Usage / Research Center for Atmosphere and Ocean Science, we collaborate with researchers at home and abroad using our facilities, which include research vessels. Besides producing world-leading research results, we strive to nurture talented professionals with global perspectives and pioneering spirits who are equipped with expert knowledge, comprehensive analytical skills, insight, practical strengths, and imagination. These researchers will lead the next generation of atmospheric and oceanic scientists.

In Japanese mythology, three noble Gods, Amaterasu (God of daytime), Tsukuyomi (God of night), and Susanoh (God of ocean) govern the world. This triad is similar to that in Greek mythology (Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon), signifying that the ocean was infinitely broad. In the age of discovery (15th – 17th century) as open-ocean navigation skills developed, society realized that the ocean was not infinitely broad. Today, the ocean is becoming even narrower with the explosion of human activities, and we can see the significant effects of humans even in the open ocean and on the deep ocean floor.

Research and smart management of the world’s oceans are essential to the future. This is especially important for Japan, which is surrounded by oceans. Japan has a long history of usage of marine resources as food, and currently has the sixth largest marine area in the world considering its territorial waters and economic exclusion zones. At AORI, researchers from various disciplines, including physics, chemistry, ocean floor science, biology, and fishery science collaborate in comprehensive studies on the oceans and the climate, which are scientifically and socially important modern issues.

On the other hand, AORI has some facility-related issues that need to be resolved. For example, we are making strides to restore the International Coastal Research Center (ICRC) in the town of Otsuchi, Iwate Prefecture on the Pacific coast, which suffered catastrophic damage due to the 2011 off the Pacific coast of Tohoku Earthquake and tsunamis. Reconstruction of the laboratory building and related facilities will be finished in the fiscal year of 2017. Additionally, we are enhancing our joint usage/research on the effects of tsunamis on different ecosystems and the restoration processes. Another issue is that R.V. Hakuho Maru, which is a national flagship research vessel, is now 27 years old, and we are preparing to replace her.

AORI, which is committed to education and joint usage/research activities, continues to lead the world in cutting-edge research in atmospheric and ocean sciences. We thank you for your continued support in these endeavors.

Director of AORI   TSUDA, Atsushi