2016-2017 Science Planning Summaries
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2016-2017 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

Southern Ocean Carbon and climate Observations and Modeling (SOCCOM)

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Event Number:

Program Manager:
Dr. Peter Milne

ASC POC/Implementer:
Chelsea Wegner / Adam Jenkins

Principal Investigator

Dr. Jorge l Sarmiento

Princeton University
Department of Geosciences
Princeton, New Jersey

Project Web Site:


Supporting Stations: RV/IB Nathaniel B. Palmer
Research Locations: Transit from Punta Arenas, Chile to McMurdo Station


The Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica is the primary window through which the intermediate, deep, and bottom waters of the ocean interact with the surface and thus the atmosphere. In the past 20 years, observational analyses and model simulations have transformed understanding of the Southern Ocean, suggesting that the ocean south of 30° S, occupying just 30% of the total surface ocean area, has a profound influence on the Earth’s climate and ecosystems. The SOCCOM (Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modelling) project is implementing sustained observations of the carbon cycle, together with mesoscale eddying models linked to the observations. The deployment of autonomous profiling floats with biogeochemical sensors and sea-ice avoidance software will extend current seasonally limited observations of biogeochemical properties into nearly continuous coverage in time, with horizontal spatial coverage over the entire Southern Ocean and vertical coverage to 2000 meters.

Field Season Overview

SOCCOM will deploy up to 12 biogeochemical Argo-equivalent floats from NBP17-01, at locations just north of the sea ice zone along the cruise track. Each float deployment requires a nearly simultaneous CTD/rosette cast from the RVIB Nathaniel B. Palmer (NBP), to at least 2000 m depth, to collect water column calibration profiles of chemistry, optical properties, and T/S. The CTD/rosette station will be occupied first, and then the float deployed as the ship moves slowly away from the station. Four of these locations will be in the Drake Passage. Two of these floats will likely be in the Argentine EEZ and will require clearance. Team members will deploythe remaining eight along the track to McMurdo. In addition, the team will deploy eight core Argo floats that do not require a CTD station.

Deploying Team Members

  • Ellen Briggs
  • Joseph Gum
  • Melissa Miller
  • Stephen Riser
  • Greta Shum