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Until a few years ago, I was only a “casual” follower of global warming and anthropogenic climate change in both the popular media and the scientific literature. While my “gut” told me that it was both “real” and “important”, I was not focused on the details and was certainly not an “activist”. That began to change following my Guest Investigator appointment at WHOI in July 2010. I serendipitously reconnected with my original advisor from 40 years prior, Susumu Honjo, now an Emeritus Scientist at WHOI and the founder of McLane Research Laboratories. Sus immediately conscripted me onto the Scientific Steering Committee for a major initiative he was championing along with Tim Eglinton and Craig Taylor to create a Global Biogeochemical Flux Observatory (GBF-O) as an extension of the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI). I was soon immersed in the details of the “biological pump” that transports and transforms CO2, fixed in surface waters by phytoplankton, to the deep ocean where it is sequestered for millenia. I found myself presenting a keynote address on GBF-O at the American Geophysical Union’s annual meeting, despite the fact that I had never really been a practicing oceanographer. This led to an Opinion piece published by CNN entitled, “Why we need a Hubble for the seas” - a theme that you will find continued here. As I went deeper into the science of global carbon cycling, including deliberate attempts to enhance the activity of the biological pump by “ocean fertilization” with trace amounts of iron, I also began to explore the consequences of rapidly increasing atmospheric CO2 that is driving global warming and climate change. I finally watched Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” and, while not quite the hard science that I was seeking, it launched me into further reading on the topic by more authoritative sources. It was James Hansen’s “Storms of My Grandchildren” that was pivotal in the further evolution of my own thinking, resonating with my responsibilities as a scientist and a citizen to both of my young granddaughters. Along with Sus, I was invited to present a series of lectures to celebrate the 125th Anniversary of Toyo University in March 2013, where I first outlined my own thoughts in a talk entitled, “The Oceans and Global Warming - Victim or Savior?”. This would become the core concept behind Seaquester and propel me to formally launch the venture. It also became readily apparent to me that the key technology needed to unlock the science underlying the biological pump and ocean fertilization, as well as autonomous scientific discovery in the oceans more generally, was the platform I call ATOEM (Autonomous Transient Ocean Event Monitoring) that I first presented at UUST 2013 in August and which has now been published in the Journal of Unmanned System Technology (JUST). You will learn about ATOEM in far greater detail here as it is now the focus of our initial fundraising efforts. My challenge now is to convince others like you to become activists in the face of anthropogenic climate change and support our efforts here at Seaquester as well as those of others who are committed to preventing the global catastrophe that is now in the making. I welcome you to follow our further evolution, encourage you to spread the word, and hope that you will support us financially in achieving our goals. My heartfelt thanks to those who join our quest!
Sequestering CO2 in the deep ocean...