REPORT ON JAMSTEC SEMINAR 14 FEBRUARY 2007
JAMSTEC Seminar 2007
Wednesday 14 February 2007
Venue: Keidanren Hall
by Seiko Oya
I attended JAMSTEC's annual seminar titled "Science
and Technology Opening the Way to Ocean-Planet Frontier"
on 14 February.
Aim of the seminar was to "introduce JAMSTEC's
activities, achievements and future plans to the general public"
and introduce various efforts "to understand the entire global
system as an Ocean-Planet from the viewpoint of the ocean".
For speaker and summary of each talk, please see page 2.
A recent IPCC (International
Panel on Climate Change) report suggests that temperatures would
rise by between 1.8 and 4.0°C in the 21st century. As evidences
of global warming have been so clearly observed in recent years,
JAMSTEC recognizes the increasing importance of their roles in
climate change research.
IPCC's suggestions to reduce
CO2 include its ocean disposal and ocean sequestration to which
JAMSTEC's ocean drilling/observation technologies could make a
Urashima, their main deep sea
cruising autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) is operated with
For earthquake prediction, "ocean-floor
network system" has been under development. This project
will involve setting up seismic and water pressure meters at 20
points on bottom of the sea around Tonankai seismogenic zone off
Kii Peninsula. The data will be taken 24 hours and transmitted
to Meteorological Agency and relative universities and research
institutes for analysis.
Introduction of recently launched
"CHIKYU" (the Earth), the world's best Drilling Vessel
(D/V) was highlight of the seminar. Talk was given by Dr Taira,
project leader and Director-General of Center for Deep Earth Exploration.
He first thanked various sponsoring/co-operative organizations
such as MEXT, MHI, Mitsui Ship Building, Hachinohe Municipal Government
(in Aomori Prefecture. It provided a testing site) and many other
companies. CHIKYU features Riser Drilling Technology with Blow-Out
Preventor (BOP). The riser is installed at so-called "Moon
Pool" located in the middle of the ship. It will start Nankai
Trough Drilling of Kii Peninsula as part of Integrated Ocean Drilling
Program (IODP) starting this fall. Please see Page 4 for CHIKYU's
The New Challenge of JAMSTEC
Dr Kiyoshi Suyehiro, Executive Director (R&D)
Suyehiro is a seismologist and oversees Research
and Development activities of JAMSTEC. He led the "Immediate
Study of the Great Sumatran Earthquake and Tsunami Disasters"
immediately after the event and identified the tsunami source
in early 2005. He will present emerging challenges for JAMSTEC
as the uncertainties of the Earth's future seem to increase.
"Connection"; From Scientific and Technological
Points of View
Part 1: Science and Technology Connecting Sea
Surface with Sea Floor.
Observational research of ocean's
absorption capacity of carbon dioxide.
Dr Makio Honda (Sub Leader of Mutsu Institute for
He has been studying western North Atlantic Ocean
using automatic observation system from the early 1990s. Clarify
chemical component for a little bit of dead plankton or its excrement
and a cup of seawater, and elucidate the ocean's control ability
of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration.
Part 2: Science and Technology Connecting Geosphere
Challenge to exploration of
biosphere under the seafloor.
Dr Fumio Inagaki (Sub Leader of Kochi Institute for
Core Sample Research (KOCHI)).
Add a fresh dimension of "earth microbiology"
to the drilling earth science which is centering on Integrated
Ocean Drilling Program (IODP), elucidate whole picture of unknown
biosphere under the deep seafloor. Attempt to clarify the material
circulation that those life activities are involved in and metabolic
function of unknown microbial species.
Part 3 : Science Technology Connecting Micro Structural
Evolution in Rock with Massive Fault Motion
Understanding the Scaling and
Hierarchy of Fracture Phenomena and its Application.
Dr Hide Sakaguchi (Group Leader, Institute for Research
on Earth Evolution (IFREE)).
From many observations and experimental data related
to interior earth evolution we will perform more accurate prediction
of plate motion behaviour, not based on speculative or conceptual
models but based on physical models with the help of computer
simulations of fracture and flow of geo-materials.
Development of Element Technology for Next Generation
of Cruise Vehicle
Part 1 : Technology for Accurate, Long-hour Cruise
Decentralized processing system
by multiple micro CPU.
Dr Hiroshi Yoshida (Research Scientist of Marine
Technology Center (MARITEC)).
Engaged in development of Autonomous Underwater Vehicle
(AUV) Urashima, 10,000 metres class unmanned research vehicle,
he is in favour of development of underwater robot, aiming to
establish observation system utilization for such as seafloor
study, marine research, (micro)organism study.
Part 2 : Technology for Long Distance Acoustic Communication
Long distance horizontal acoustic
communication by phase conjugate wave.
Dr Takuya Shimura (Research Scientist of Marine Technology
Among development of acoustic technology necessary
for underwater communication and positioning, he is studying long
distance acoustic communication, and aiming to contribute for
development of real time communication with long-range cruise
type unmanned research vehicle.
Establishment of Ocean-floor Network System to
elucidate Mega-Thrust Earthquakes occurrence mechanism around
the Nankai Trough
Telescope project of Mega-thrust
Dr Yoshiyuki Kaneda, (Director of Department of Ocean-floor
Network System Development for Earthquakes and Tsunamis (DONET),
Marine Technology Center (MARITEC)).
As an executive director of seismological research
project, he is developing advanced ocean-floor network system
around the Tonankai seismogenic zone off Kii Peninsula, to promote
seismological research and disaster prevention/mitigation.
Latest Status of the Deep-sea Drilling Vessel
Dr Asahiko Taira, (Executive Director / Director-General
of Center for Deep Earth Exploration (CDEX)).
He serves as Director-General of the operation department
of the D/V "Chikyu", is challenging many tasks in order
to respond to Japanese, American and European researchers' expectations
for Nankai Trough Drilling off Kii Peninsula which is incorporated
into Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) starting this fall.
Special Lecture: Expectations for Promotion of
Marine Research and Industrial Development
Mr Naochika Namba, (The corporate advisor of
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI)).
Mr Namba joined MHI in April 1962. After he holds
the prominent positions such as the director of Kobe Shipyard
& Machinery Works, Executive vice president and General Manager
of Shipbuilding & Ocean Development Headquarters, now he is
the corporate advisor of MHI. He was the president of the Japan
Society of Naval Architects and Ocean Engineers from May 2003
to May 2005. He participated in Expert Panel on Basic Policy,
Council for Science and Technology Policy, Cabinet Office to drawing
up the third Science and Technology Basic Plan. And then he held
the post of Technology commission member of Panel on Infrastructure
Development/ Council of Transport Policy for Ministry of Land,
Infrastructure and Transport Japan. In this lecture, he states
his expectation for the ocean-related most-advanced technologies
including the Key Technology of National Importance "Marine-Earth
observation and explore system", and its expansion to the
related industrial fields such as research/observation equipment
and robots by operating such technologies.
D/V CHIKYU'S MISSION
Observation and direct sampling of the seismogenic
Investigating the earthquake mechanism requires
surveys, direct observations, samples and monitoring under the
earth at the plate boundary. D/V CHIKYU, because it can drill
to the seismogenic zone, is the primary tool to obtain these crucial
pieces of information.
Research into life in the earth's crust and in
the sub-sea floor environment
Enormous amounts of microbes, more than those
on the earth's surface, live in the crust, which is a completely
different biosphere than the surface. Research into these microbes
in extreme environments may resolve the origin and evolution of
life on Earth.
Investigation of the internal structure of the
The main objective of D/V CHIKYU is to drill
through the earth's crust and reach the mantle, where no one has
ever explored before. We will open the door for direct understanding
the relationship between global-scale environmental change and
Investigation of the record and causes of global
Sediment cores obtained by D/V CHIKYU are valuable
records of global environmental change.
Detailed analysis of such records enables the
understanding of global change mechanisms and prediction of future