Sheri White – Mooring lead (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute)
The Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) is a US National Science Foundation (NSF) funding program to create a permanent long-term presence in the ocean for scientific measurements. OOI consists of a number of arrays of mooring and vehicles – a regional Cabled Array off of the US West Coast, 2 Coastal Arrays off of the US East and West Coasts, and 3 Global Arrays. The Global Arrays are located in the Irminger Sea, south of Greenland, in the Gulf of Alaska, and in the Southern Ocean west of Chile. All of the data collected is made freely available to the public http://oceanobservatories.org/.
The OOI Southern Ocean Array, consisting of 1 Surface Mooring, 3 Subsurface Mooring, and autonomous gliders, was first deployed in March 2015. It was redeployed in December 2015, and November 2016. In 2017, the NSF elected to discontinue operations at the Southern Ocean Array site. However, the recovery cruise in November 2017 was unable to recover all of the moorings due to weather conditions.
The OOI surface mooring (image courtesy Eleanor Haigh)
On the DY096 CUSTARD Cruise, we have deployed a new Surface Mooring at the Array, integrated with 2 lab-on-a-chip sensors (for nitrate and silicate) developed at the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton. This mooring will collect measurements for a year until we return in January 2020 to recover it.
The OOI Southern Ocean Array location is one characterized by strong air-sea interaction and wintertime water mass formation. It is thus at a location important to understanding the large-scale global thermohaline circulation. It is also an exceptionally data sparse region historically, lacking observations of the surface meteorology, air-sea fluxes, variability of the water column physics, chemistry, and biology.
Sheri White overseeing deployment of the mooring (image courtesy Eleanor Haigh)