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
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:
The high-resolution, near-repeat Expendable Bathythermograph (XBT) and Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) transect sampling in Drake Passage is designed to study modes of variability in ocean temperature, salinity, currents and backscatter in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) on seasonal to interannual time scales and on space scales from current cores to eddies. These data represent the only year around shipboard measurements in the Southern Ocean. With almost two decades of data now available, the primary science objectives are to analyze the Drake Passage time series and (1) describe and relate the seasonal and long-term ocean energy distribution to wind, buoyancy and topographic forcing and sinks, and (2) describe and relate seasonal and long-term changes in the ACC fronts, water masses and upwelling to biogeochemical variability. This project is a continuation of the longstanding support for the XBT and ADCP underway science projects currently operational on the ARSV Laurence M Gould (LMG).

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