State allocates $61 million for Scripps Oceanography programs

A rendering depicts the research vessel that Scripps Oceanography will design and build with $35 million in state funding.
A rendering depicts the research vessel the Scripps Institution of Oceanography will design and build with $35 million in state funding. (Courtesy of Scripps Institution of Oceanography)

When the state issued its budget for the coming year, it contained more than $61 million for projects and programs at UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla.

The funds include $35 million to design and build a new coastal research vessel with a first-of-its-kind hydrogen-hybrid propulsion system, $15 million for the ALERTWildfire program to install 1,000 cameras, $10 million toward the state Department of Water Resources atmospheric rivers research program and $1.5 million for the state Parks and Recreation Department oceanography program to support observations maintained by the Coastal Data Information Program at Scripps.

Research vessel

Margaret Leinen, vice chancellor for marine sciences at UC San Diego and director of Scripps Oceanography, said the largest expenditure — the yet-to-be-named research vessel — would replace the RV Robert Gordon Sproul, which has been in use since 1981, and will join the SIO fleet.

The expeditions the vessels undertake “are keys to solving problems as well as just understanding them, really providing the solutions we so desperately need today,” Leinen said. They include studies of ocean acidification, marine fisheries, El Niño storms, harmful algae blooms, sea-level rise, atmospheric rivers and more.

The new vessel, by running largely on hydrogen, “will allow us to observe our rapidly changing coastal environment and protect that environment by not emitting CO2,” she said.

Ashley Mackin-Solomon, La Jolla Light, 25 July 2021. Full article.

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