2012-2013 Science Planning Summaries
U.S. Antarctic Program - Science Support Section United States Antarctic Program United States Antarctic Program Logo National Science Foundation Logo
Collaborative research: Biogeochemical controls of the oxygen and carbon system in the Drake Passage

Program Manager:
Dr. Peter Milne

NSF/PLR Award 1341431

ASC POC/Implementer:
Addie Coyac / Robert Kluckhohn

Dr. Colm Sweeney (Principal Investigator)
http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/CO2External Non U.S. Government Site

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Global Monitoring Division (GMD)
Boulder, Colorado

Supporting Stations:  ARSV Laurence M. Gould
Research Locations:  Drake Passage

Project Description:
The Antarctic Circumpolar Current is the strongest wind-driven ocean current on the planet. Encircling the entire continent, it has a natural “chokepoint” in the form of the Drake Passage lying between South America and the Antarctic Peninsula. Since 1994, this project has collected data during all cruises of the LMG. The installed equipment measures the underway surface partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO2) and takes discrete samples of other parameters of interest to studying the carbon system such as total CO2 (TCO2), and isotopic (13C/12C and 14C/12C) ratios in surface TCO2. During the selected southbound Drake Passage transects of Janet Sprintall’s O-260, this group also obtains direct measurements from seawater samples and collects physical hydrographic data from the launched XBT and XCTD probes. Since 2012, this group has also conducted underway measurements of atmospheric O2/N2. The measurement set provides an opportunity to increase our understanding of the major processes that control spatial, seasonal and inter-annual variability of dissolved carbon dioxide (CO2) in the waters of the Drake Passage and biogeochemical fluxes in the Southern Ocean.

Field Season Overview:
Project participants deploy to one or two port calls per year to maintain and upgrade equipment. Onboard support staffers and technicians monitor the equipment, turn it on and off to avoid data collection in other nations’ Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ), and perform maintenance as needed. During Janet Sprintall’s O-260 Drake Passage transects, contract technicians collect water samples for this project. At the end of each cruise the data is distributed to the project PIs and collaborators as well as the onboard science parties.

Deploying Team Members:

  • Jonathan Bent
  • Britton Stephens (Co-PI)
  • Andrew Watt

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Curator: Ethan Norris, Antarctic Support Contract   |   NSF Official: Alexandra Isern, Division of Polar Programs