2002-2003 Science Planning Summary

Oceans & Climate

Dr. Bernhard Lettau
Program Manager


NSF/OPP 98-16226
Station: RV/IB Nathaniel B Palmer
RPSC POC: Paul Olsgaard
Research Site(s): Science of opportunity on cruises

Shipboard acoustic doppler current profiling on RVIB Nathaniel B. Palmer and RV Laurence M. Gould
Dr. Eric Firing
University of Hawaii Manoa
Dr. Teresa Chereskin
University of California, San Diego
Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Deploying Team Members: Julia M Hummon
Research Objectives: Currents in the Southern Ocean have a profound influence on the world's oceans, and therefore upon global temperature and the planet's ecosystem. Yet some remote regions receive little scientific attention. Using Doppler technology (sound-wave transmission and reflection), this project is exploring upper ocean current velocities. Researchers are building a quality-controlled data set in one such sparsely sampled and remote region, which nonetheless appears to play a significant role in global ocean circulation. They will develop and maintain a shipboard acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) program on board the USAP research ships Nathaniel B. Palmer and Laurence M. Gould.

Part of the long-term science goal is to characterize the temporal and spatial velocity structure in the Southern Ocean. This entails measuring the seasonal and annual changes in upper ocean currents within the Drake Passage and then combining this information with similar temperature observations to see how the heat exchange varies and how it drives upper ocean currents.

Field Season Overview:
For three years, this project's ADCP (acoustic Doppler current profiler) and TSG (thermosalinograph) instruments have been installed on the RV/IB Nathaniel B. Palmer. During each cruise, data is collected and automatically transmitted to the home institution. Principal investigators maintain a website where they make the raw data available. Shipboard electronics technicians and computer support staff maintain and monitor the systems. This field season, project team members will deploy to the RV/IB Nathaniel B. Palmer to maintain and upgrade the system.