2012-2013 Science Planning Summaries
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Southern Ocean current observations from the U.S. Antarctic research vessels
Time- and depth-averaged ocean currents (a) and standard deviation ellipses (b) calculated from 262 Drake Passage ADCP transects between 1999 and 2011. Climatological locations of the main Antarctic Circumpolar Current fronts are shown as thick gray lines: from north to south. Graphic courtesy of Teri Chereskin. 

Program Manager:
Dr. Peter Milne

NSF/PLR Award 1341431

ASC POC/Implementer:
Addie Coyac / Robert Kluckhohn

Dr. Teresa Chereskin (Principal Investigator)

University of California San Diego
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
La Jolla, California

Supporting Stations:  ARSV Laurence M. Gould, RV/IB Nathaniel B. Palmer
Research Locations:  All vessel cruise tracks

Project Description:
This project builds upon a successful 13-year collaboration that developed the capability to routinely acquire, process, and archive ocean-current measurements from hull-mounted shipboard acoustic Doppler current profilers (ADCPs) onboard the RVIB Nathaniel B. Palmer (NBP) and ARSV Laurence M. Gould (LMG) research vessels. The long-term science objectives are to measure the seasonal and interannual variability of upper-ocean currents within the Drake Passage, to combine this information with similar temperature observations to study the variability in the heat exchange, and to characterize the velocity and acoustic backscatter structure in the Southern Ocean on a variety of time and space scales. The onboard equipment includes 150 kHz narrow-band ADCPs (running since the start of the project) and newer 38 kHz phased-array ADCPs (installed on the LMG in 2004 and on the NBP in 2009). The collected, quality controlled data are used by a wide variety of Antarctic science programs and are easily accessible for retrospective analyses, planning future observations, and validating numerical models.

Field Season Overview:
Each year, two project participants attend a port call timed so that they can perform work onboard both vessels. The work includes routine maintenance, updates, and upgrades as needed for the data acquisition computers. Occasionally a participant may sail a cruise for more comprehensive work on the systems. During cruises, the equipment collects underway data and contract staff technicians start/stop data acquisition, monitor and troubleshoot as needed, and archive the data. At the end of each cruise, the ADCP data is included on the distribution to onboard PIs and hard drives are sent to the project PIs.

Deploying Team Members:

  • Julia Hummon

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Curator: Esther L. Hill PhD, Antarctic Support Contract   |   NSF Official: Alexandra Isern, Division of Polar Programs