NOAA 2001-R817
Contact: Jeanne Kouhestani


After nearly a year in the Pacific Ocean that included studying climate systems that affect the weather and climate variability across the globe, probing submarine volcanoes that vent superheated plumes into the northeastern Pacific, and exploring the deep Astoria Canyon off the Oregon coast, the NOAA research vessel Ronald H. Brown will return to its home port in Charleston, S.C., in mid-December.

Since it left Charleston last January, the ship transited the Panama Canal twice and circumnavigated the Pacific Ocean from southern latitudes to the Bering Sea, and from the U.S. West Coast to the East China Sea and Sea of Japan. Scientists representing many organizations and disciplines worked aboard during the year, studying global climate variability, greenhouse gases, underwater volcanoes and hydrothermal vents, and geologic, physical and biological processes that affect the growth and populations of fish stocks off the Pacific Northwest and in Alaskan waters.

In addition, Brown recovered, deployed and repaired deep ocean moorings in the North Pacific and Gulf of Alaska that detect and warn of tsunamis and geologic events, and others in the eastern Equatorial Pacific that provide oceanic and atmospheric data essential to the study and prediction of El Niño and La Niña events.

During the year, Brown hosted more than 260 scientists from the U.S. and eighteen foreign countries.

"Brown and its crew have demonstrated once again the ship's unique and truly remarkable capability as a multipurpose ocean research platform, able to satisfy the needs of an extraordinarily diverse group of scientists," said the ship's commanding officer, Captain Donald Dreves, NOAA Corps.

Ronald H. Brown is a state-of-the-art oceanographic research vessel that was commissioned in Charleston, S.C., in 1997. The 274-foot ship is operated and managed by NOAA's Office of Marine and Aviation Operations, which includes civilians and officers of the NOAA Commissioned Corps, one of the nation's seven uniformed services. The largest ship in the NOAA fleet, Brown is equipped with state-of-the-art atmospheric, meteorological and ocean sensors, and data collection systems to handle a broad range of research objectives. It carries one of only three ship-mounted Doppler radar systems in the world.

The ship will be in Charleston for repairs, crew training and leave taking for just one month. It sails in mid-January, beginning its 2002 research schedule with a voyage to Brazil. Research projects in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea follow. The ship will return to Charleston many times during the year to exchange scientific parties and begin new projects. For more information about Brown, visit

NOTE TO EDITORS: The commanding officer and executive officer of Brown will be available for interviews upon the ship's arrival in port this week. If you are interested in meeting the ship or interviewing the officers, please contact Jeanne Kouhestani at (301) 713-3431, Ext. 220.