2017-2018 Science Planning Summaries
United States Antarctic Program United States Antarctic Program Logo National Science Foundation Logo
2017-2018 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

Southern Ocean current observations from the U.S. Antarctic research vessels

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Event Number:
NSF/OPP Award 1542902

Program Manager:
Dr. Peter Milne

ASC POC/Implementer:
Rachel Shackelford / Bruce Felix

Principal Investigator

Dr. Teresa Chereskin

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


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


The Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) is the strongest ocean current in the world, with a flow rate more than 100 times greater than all the rivers on Earth combined. This project continues a long-term study of ocean properties and variability in the ACC by repeat transects across the Drake Passage from Punta Arenas, Chile to Palmer Station. This project will provide information about long-term trends and variability in Southern Ocean fronts, surface water mass properties, heat, and salinity budgets. This study will contribute to understanding the ACC response to atmospheric forcing on climate-relevant time scales, and its role in driving the Southern Ocean's meridional overturning circulation. This aspect of the project focuses on collecting acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP), thermosalinograph (TSG), fluorometer, and meteorological data on all ARSV Laurence M. Gould (LMG) cruises.

Field Season Overview

This science event collects ocean current and acoustic backscatter measurements from hull-mounted shipboard acoustic Doppler profilers (ADCPs) onboard the LMG. Data is collected on all cruises with support from the shipboard electronic technicians (ETs). That support consists of starting and stopping data acquisition, and monitoring and archiving data while at sea. During cruises events, ET or IT support may be required, as time allows, in the event that system maintenance or software changes need to be made while underway.