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Pioneer Array Mooring Deployments and AUV Testing

A notable accomplishment on the Pioneer-4 cruise was deployment of the Pioneer REMUS-600 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV). The AUV conducted a cross-frontal transect coordinated with a seven-station shipboard CTD survey. (Photo: Sheri White, WHOI/CGSN)

(Click to enlarge) A notable accomplishment on the Pioneer-4 cruise was deployment of the Pioneer REMUS-600 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV). The AUV conducted a cross-frontal transect coordinated with a seven-station shipboard CTD survey. (Photo: Sheri White, WHOI/CGSN)

An OOI team, led by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), conducted the fourth phase of infrastructure deployment for the Pioneer Array during 28 April – 14 May on the R/V Atlantis.

The team deployed five Coastal Profiler Moorings (CPMs), recovered three CPMs, and recovered three Coastal Gliders on the first leg of the cruise. On the second leg, three Coastal Surface Moorings (CSMs), one Coastal Surface Piercing Profiler and three Coastal Gliders were deployed, and one CSM was recovered. In addition to the deployments and recoveries, operations on the two cruise legs included CTD casts at each mooring site, a cross-shelf CTD survey coordinated with an AUV transect, and a variety of small-scale bathymetry surveys.

The region of the New England continental shelf where the Pioneer Array is located is characterized by sharp gradients in ocean temperature, salinity and other properties across the shelf, currents that flow along the shelf, and strong biological productivity. The Pioneer Array will provide oceanographic and meteorological observations from this highly productive region, allowing scientists to examine several important coastal processes including shelf break fronts, frontal upwelling, and the role of filaments and eddies in cross-shelf exchange of parameters such as nutrients, heat, and biomass.

“I am grateful for the excellent support from the WHOI science team, the Captain and crew of the Atlantis, and the shore-side support groups” said Al Plueddemann, Chief Scientist on the cruise from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. “We are particularly excited to have nine moorings in the water making multi-disciplinary observations as the New England shelf experiences several close encounters from Gulf Stream rings and filaments.”

By the fall of 2015 the Pioneer Array will complete its transition to the Operations and Maintenance phase, with a mooring and glider service cruise scheduled for October 12-31 on the R/V Atlantis.

The OOI team installed the initial infrastructure of the Pioneer Array in November 2013, which included the Central CSM, Upstream Inshore CPM, and Upstream Offshore CPM. Click here to read more about the Pioneer Array Initial Deployment. The second phase of the Pioneer Array installation took place in April 2014 with the recovery of the Central CSM and two CPMs, as well as the deployment of five CPMs and three Coastal Gliders. Click here to read about the second Pioneer Array Deployment. The third phase of the installation took place in October and December 2014, where the five CPMs were recovered and replaced, three CSMs were installed, and five Coastal Gliders were deployed. Click here to read about the third Pioneer Array deployment

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