Long-Term Monitoring of Gas Emissions at Southern Hydrate Ridge

Methane bubble emissions detected by the MARUM overview sonar over the Southern Hydrate Ridge summit. The location and size of the bubble plumes vary considerably over time.

Identifying the parameters that control or influence seabed methane release is important to refining understanding of the carbon cycle. Data from the Regional Cabled Array are providing time-series required to quantify the flux of methane from the seafloor.

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Call for Lightning Talks at OOIFB Town Hall

The Ocean Observatories Initiative Facilities Board (OOIFB) will host a Town Hall at the 2022 Fall AGU Meeting on December 12th from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm Central Time.  The Town Hall will be offered in-person, as well as virtually. The community will have the opportunity to hear the latest information about the OOI Facility Board activities, OOI facility, Pioneer Array relocation plans, and learn about research using OOI data.

The Town Hall will also include a series of lightning presentations where scientists are invited to present one slide in one minute explaining how they have used (or plan to use) freely available observatory data in their respective research.  This is your opportunity to highlight your experience with OOI.  We hope you will consider presenting a slide in the lightning session.

Time during the Town Hall is limited and we expect to be able to schedule about six lightning talks during the Town Hall.  However, all submitted lightning talks will have the opportunity to be presented during the Fall AGU Meeting.  The OOIFB has teamed with the OOI booth exhibitor to offer a time slot during the meeting to highlight all of the lightning talks.

Sign-up now to present a lightning talk – If you are using (or plan to use) OOI data and wish to present a lightning talk during the Town Hall, please please apply using the: LIGHTNING TALK FORM by November 21st.  From the applications submitted, we will work to select six lightning talks for the Town Hall that can highlight the exciting research that is being done across the entire OOI Facility.

Funding Available for AGU Fall Meeting Registration Fee – Please note, all participants and presenters during the OOIFB Town Hall must be registered for the 2022 AGU Fall Meeting.  Funding is available to offset the registration fees for students and early career scientists (ECS) who are presenting a lightning talk.  Funding is limited and the first 8 student/ECS applications will be considered for reimbursement.  The Lightning Talk application form includes space for requesting registration fee reimbursement.

The workshop is aimed at researchers who are using or are considering using OOI data and/or adding instrumentation to OOI infrastructure and educators at all levels interested in using data from the OOI’s Arrays.   We hope to see you at the OOIFB Town Hall!

Event:                    OOI Facility Board Town Hall

When:                    Monday, December 12, 2022 from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm Central Time

Lightning Talks:   Apply online here: The form will be open until November 21st.

Where:                  In person at McCormick Place, Room S106a or Virtual Participation.

The Town Hall agenda and additional details are available here.

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New Controller Latest in OOI Innovations

Having equipment in the water around the clock for six months at a time provides many challenges for the land-based OOI engineering team charged with keeping the equipment operational so there is a continual flow of data to shore. Maintaining consistent, reliable power for the ocean observing equipment is at the top of this list of challenges.

OOI’s data-collecting instruments attached to the moorings run on batteries charged by renewable wind and solar energy. OOI is in the process of replacing the current solar panels with new panels that are more efficient at generating energy, even when shaded. To supplement this upgrade, the OOI arrays are also being outfitted with a brand-new solar controller to manage the energy going into the batteries. Like with the new solar panels, OOI engineers looked for a controller that was available commercially for easier repair and replacement.

“What was important to us was finding a way to use these new solar panels in the best, most optimal way,” said Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) engineer Marshall Swartz. “We looked for a company that would help us specify and build a customized algorithm for a controller that would optimize the functionality of the panels by taking into account battery temperatures.”

[media-caption path="/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/DSC0486-2.jpeg" link="#"]Buoys get quite the workout when they are in the water for six months and more. Powered by wind, solar, and batteries, OOI has recently improved the way energy from the solar panels is managed with new controllers.  Credit: ©WHOI, Darlene Trew Crist. [/media-caption]

Some larger, older controllers can consume up to 3-5% of the energy coming into the device, but the new controller is smaller and more efficient, helping to optimize the amount of energy harvested.

Temperature conditions play a big role in how effectively the energy is managed. Changing battery temperatures require the controller to adjust its charge settings to maintain battery life and capacity. The controllers used on OOI moorings sense battery temperature and automatically adjust to assure best conditions to assure reliable operation.

“It’s really essential for us to maintain the proper charge levels for existing temperature conditions,” said Swartz. The OOI buoys encounter a wide range of temperatures: from subfreezing temperatures up to 40°C (over 100°F) when a buoy is sitting in the parking lot before it is deployed. When the buoys are deployed, water temperatures can vary widely from -1 to 33°C (~30 to 91°F), depending on seasonal conditions.

The new controller automatically regulates the amount of electricity going into the battery under such varying temperature conditions. If the  wind turbines are generating more energy than the battery needs, for example, the controllers direct excess power into an external load that dissipates heat and adds resistance to the spinning of the wind turbines, preventing the turbines from spinning too fast, possibly damaging their bearings.

“As parts of the OOI infrastructure need replacing or to be upgraded, this offers us the opportunity to find more efficient, and often times, off-the-shelf, less-expensive replacements that will help us keep the arrays functioning and data flowing,” Swartz said. “It’s a winning combination for all parts of the operation.”


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Questions about Potential Pioneer Array Move Answered

On Wednesday 13 January, the National Science Foundation and the Ocean Observatories Initiative Facilities Board held a microlab to answers questions about the process for deciding if, and if so where, the Pioneer Array might be relocated.  The microlab was designed to provide potential applicants with information about the selection process as well as technical details about the Pioneer Array to be considered for potential new locations.

All feasible location options will be considered – new geographic areas, as well as maintaining the Pioneer Array in its current location – during a two-phased Innovation Labs, which all are invited to apply to participate in. Selection of a new OOI Pioneer Array location will be driven by community input on the important science questions that can be addressed with observations from a new Array location.

The answers to the questions posed during the microlab will be helpful to all potential applicants. The answers can be found here.

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