2022-2023 Science Planning Summary
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2022-2023 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

High resolution underway air-sea observations in Drake Passage for climate science

ARSV Laurence M. Gould beginning its journey into the Drake Passage. Photo by Cynthia Spence. Image courtesy of NSF/USAP Photo Library. Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
O-317-L Research Location(s): Drake Passage


Event Number:
NSF / OPP Award 2001646

Program Director:
Dr. David Porter

ASC POC/Implementer:
David Rivera / Bruce Felix

Principal Investigator(s)

Dr. Teresa Chereskin
University of California San Diego
Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Project Web Site:


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


On frequent crossings of the Drake Passage by the ARSV Laurence M. Gould (LMG), a range of underway measurements are taken. These data represent one of the few repeating year-round shipboard measurements in the Southern Ocean, with more than two decades of data now available. The primary science objectives of this project are to continue to analyze this Drake Passage time series. Some of the analyses are: (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 Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) fronts, water masses, and upwelling to biogeochemical and climate variability. High-resolution, near-repeat Expendable Bathythermograph (XBT) and Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) transect sampling in Drake Passage is used to study modes of variability in ocean temperature, salinity, currents and backscatter in the ACC on seasonal to interannual time frames, and on spatial scales from current cores to eddies. This project is a continuation of the longstanding support for collecting the ADCP and other underway data on United States Antarctic Program vessels, such as the LMG.

Field Season Overview

O-317-L will collect ocean current and acoustic backscatter measurements from hull-mounted shipboard acoustic Doppler profilers (ADCPs) onboard the LMG. Data will be collected on all cruises with support from the shipboard electronic technicians (ETs). The operational support from LMG ETs will be similar to that required during previous years of the project. Logistical support from the ETs consists of starting/stopping data acquisition, monitoring and archiving data at sea. During cruises 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. Daily email transmission will be sent from the ADCP computer to allow for shore monitoring of data quality. Data will be copied to USB drives and sent to the principal investigator.