A multidisciplinary, international community meeting was held in Germany to define the research goals of the new Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) New Ventures in Exploring Scientific Targets (INVEST) program. The meeting, attended by 584 participants from 21 countries and more than 200 institutions and agencies, featured 12 keynote lectures and 50 working groups. Participants defined five innovative research directions that are central to the study of the Earth system and that require ocean drilling.
First, climate change impacts can be studied through ocean drilling. The study of long-term climate change impacts on the environment is only possible through examination of the geologic record. Meeting attendees agreed that future ocean drilling is essential to the study of cryosphere dynamics and sea level change. Drilled ocean sediments will provide critical high-fidelity records of marine and terrestrial ecosystem responses and feedbacks to climate change. Ocean drilling is vital to studies of long-term changes in the hydrologic cycle as they relate to greenhouse gas and other forcings and to studies of the processes that account for abrupt climate changes and climate extremes.