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Research Vessel Winds Down Visit to Vietnam as Part of Joint Oceanographic Research Program

U.S. scientists and Vietnamese researchers will discuss coastal ocean circulation and land-ocean environmental trends this week as the R/V Roger Revelle, an auxiliary general purpose oceanographic research vessel (AGOR 28), continues its nine-day port call in the city of Da Nang.

Owned by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and operated by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the advanced research vessel arrived in Vietnam June 22.

Its visit highlights partnership between ONR and the Vietnamese Ministry of Science and Technology as part of a five-year research endeavor, the Joint Vietnam-U.S. Research Program on the Oceanography of the Vietnamese East Sea and Land-Ocean Interaction.

ONR promotes scientific research and technology development on behalf of the U.S. Navy. The five-year oceanographic research program will pair U.S. scientists from leading universities and research institutions to execute joint research on the complex ocean dynamics of the Vietnamese East Sea and its interactions with the Mekong River. The program also will include training; exchanges between U.S. and Vietnamese scientists and university students; and joint publication of research results in international, peer-reviewed journals.

"The circulation and structure of the Vietnamese East Sea is strongly driven by monsoon winds and precipitation," said Scott Harper, ONR program manager for the project. "This leads to interesting seasonal variability that can be hard to model or predict without a good basic understanding of the physical processes involved. Through this project, we will be able to improve forecasts from our integrated weather, wave and ocean models in the Western Pacific, which will enable safer and more efficient naval operations."

Harper added that it will be interesting to see if global change has impacted the region's oceanography in any way, and to explore what changes might be expected in the future.

"Science expands our knowledge of the world and deepens our understanding of each other," said David B. Shear, U.S. ambassador to the country. "This program will strengthen relationships between the U.S. and Vietnamese scientific communities and provide key information to help Vietnam address pressing environmental challenges, such as climate change."

Dr. Nguyen Quan, Vietnamese minister for science and technology, and a delegation of other officials joined Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder at ONR headquarters in Arlington, Va., June 20 to discuss the collaborative initiative.

Participating universities and research institutions include: Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, the University of Washington, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Oregon State University, with Vietnamese scientists from Institute of Geology and Marine Geophysics, the Nha Trang Institute of Oceanography, the Institute of Marine Environment and Resources, the Vietnam Administration of Seas and Islands, and other scientific agencies and universities in Vietnam.

ONR provides the science and technology necessary to maintain the Navy and Marine Corps' technological advantage. Through its affiliates, ONR is a leader in science and technology with engagement in 50 states, 30 countries, 1,035 institutions of higher learning and more than 900 industry partners. ONR employs approximately 1,065 people, comprising uniformed, civilian and contract personnel, with additional employees at the Naval Research Lab in Washington, D.C.

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Peter Vietti | EurekAlert!
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