NOAA 2000-822
Contact: Jeanne Kouhestani


After two years that included an around-the-world voyage to study global climate variability and a year in the Pacific conducting projects ranging from exploration of underwater volcanoes to deployment of international climate-monitoring buoys, the NOAA ship Ronald H. Brown is returning to its home port of Charleston, S.C., on Saturday, Nov. 25, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said today.

"Brown is uniquely equipped to handle a broad range of research objectives," said Capt. Roger Parsons, NOAA Corps, commanding officer. "We've spent the past two years primarily in the Pacific because most global climate systems that affect the United States originate there. We were also tasked to study hydrothermal vents along the Juan de Fuca Ridge off Oregon; study the physical and biological processes that affect the growth of commercially valuable fish stocks in Alaskan waters; and deploy or service a variety of buoys and sea floor sensors in the Pacific that provide NOAA scientists with ocean and atmospheric data for tsunami detection, climate prediction, El Niño/La Niña forecasting, and ocean bio-geochemistry studies. It's been an exciting two years, but we're glad to be back home."

NOAA's newest, state-of-the-art oceanographic research vessel was commissioned in Charleston in 1997. The 274-ft. Brown has meteorological and ocean data-collecting capabilities – including a Doppler radar to study storm dynamics at sea – that are unique in the U.S. civilian fleet. Because NOAA's most recent oceanographic and atmospheric research has been conducted primarily in the Pacific and Indian oceans by the agency's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle, Wash., Brown hasn't been back to Charleston since December 1998.

"The success of much of our research conducted aboard Brown lies in finding small pieces to the large climate puzzle," said Eddie Bernard, director of the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory. "The scientists were able to study areas of open ocean that have not been studied before in such detail. We hope this will give us answers to the many questions we have about how natural and human-made forces affect our climate and, ultimately, the way we live."

Ronald H. Brown is scheduled to undergo routine maintenance in Charleston until late January, at which time it is scheduled to return to the Pacific Ocean to study the exchange of carbon dioxide between the atmosphere and ocean.

NOTE TO EDITORS: For media wishing to photograph or film the ship as it comes in, estimated time of arrival is 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 25, at the U.S. Coast Guard Vessel Support Facility, Pier PAPA, South Hobson Ave., in North Charleston. The Commanding Officer, Capt. Roger Parsons, and the Executive Officer, Cmdr. George White, will be available for interviews between12:30 and 2:00 p.m. on Nov. 25.

A fact sheet listing the ship's projects is available from the contacts listed above