18th Turn of the Pioneer Array in April

Sixteen science party members will be on board the R/V Neil Armstrong during April for each of two legs comprising the eighteenth turn of the Pioneer Array, where moorings are recovered and new ones deployed. This April cruise will be extremely busy, with 32 overall objectives, as well as other ancillary operations.  Pioneer 18 is the first cruise since 2020, when COVID-19 protocols were implemented, to support a larger science party to conduct ancillary activities.

The cruise plan calls for deployment of eight moorings and three gliders and recovery of 10 moorings. Autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) missions will be conducted in the vicinity of the moored array, providing additional ocean observing measurements. CTD casts and water sampling will be done in conjunction with deployment/recovery operations and ship vs. buoy meteorological comparisons will be made at each Coastal Surface Mooring site.

[media-caption path="/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/DSC0507.jpg" link="#"]During Pioneer 18, ten moorings will be recovered. Once close to the ship, crew members grab the moorings with a hook, and direct them to the stern of the ship to be brought onboard. Credit: Darlene Trew Crist ©WHOI.[/media-caption]

“We are pleased to be approaching full capability for Pioneer 18 after multiple cruises with COVID-related restrictions,” said Al Plueddemann, chief scientist for Pioneer 18 and lead for the Ocean Observatories Initiative Coastal and Global Scale Node of which the Pioneer Array is part. “There is a lot to accomplish over our 21 days at sea, and having the opportunity again to bring collaborating scientists onboard will make full use of the ship and our time at sea.”

On Leg 1, Scientists Mei Sato of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) will join Pioneer 18 to conduct zooplankton sonar testing, Peter Duley of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will conduct Marine Mammal Observations, and a student from the University of Rhode Island will oversee a glider deployment. Additionally, unattended underway sampling will be conducted in support of the Northeast U.S. Shelf (NES) Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) project on Leg 1. On Leg 2, NES-LTER efforts will increase, with four participants (two from WHOI and two from the University of Rhode Island) onboard to conduct activities that include CTD and ring net casts and incubations, as well as continuing unattended underway sampling.

[media-caption path="/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/IMG_6146.jpeg" link="#"]Plans are to deploy three gliders that will collect data in the water column between the Pioneer moorings for the next sixth months. Credit: Darlene Trew Crist ©WHOI.[/media-caption]

Weather conditions and time constraints during the Pioneer 17 cruise precluded complete recovery of the Offshore and Upstream Offshore Profiler Moorings. Additional objectives for Pioneer 18, to be conducted if time and conditions permit, include completing the recovery of these two moorings, as well as several anchor recoveries using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), glider tests, and surveys in the vicinity of the Pioneer moored array using shipboard systems (CTD, ADCP, EK-80).

“We have a very ambitious agenda for Pioneer-18, but our team is experienced and well-equipped to complete this large list of tasks ,” added Plueddemann. “We just need a good weather window to get the job done.”

Pioneer 18 team members will be sharing their progress during the month of April.  Bookmark this page and follow along.

 

 

 

 

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Tracking Fish with Acoustics

New RAFOS Ocean Acoustic Monitoring (ROAM) tags have recently been designed to allow geolocation of underwater assets, including pelagic fishes, over large areas in the ocean and even deep into the ocean’s twilight zone.

[caption id="attachment_22879" align="alignleft" width="350"] The ROAM tag is small (30 mm x 10 mm) and light enough (8 gm in water) to be attached to an ocean glider with no adverse impacts on performance. Here are two ROAM tags attached to OOI test glider 363 before deployment from the R/V Armstrong during the Pioneer 17 cruise. Credit: ©WHOI, Diana Wickman.[/caption]

An opportunity to test the new ROAM tags arose in conjunction with the October 2021 Pioneer Array mooring service cruise. “We had recently deployed moored sound sources in deep water between Cape Cod and Bermuda,” said Simon Thorrold who, with University of Rhode Island colleagues Melissa Omand and Godi Fischer, is leading the ROAM fish tag development. “One of our goals was to determine whether tagged fish near the continental slope south of New England could be detected using these distant sources.” Thorrold reached out to the OOI team to see if there was potential for a short-term test at the Pioneer Array site, located 75 nautical miles south of Martha’s Vineyard at the shelf-slope interface.

OOI Project Scientist Al Plueddemann and the OOI glider team determined that a glider test planned during the mooring service cruise in late October would be happening at the right place and the right time to be useful for testing the acoustic tags. “This technology is something we would like to consider for OOI, and in particular for the Pioneer Array in its new southern Mid- Atlantic Bight location,” said Plueddemann, “so the potential for a test was of interest to us.”

The glider team determined that the small (30×10 mm), light (8 gm in water) tags would have no measurable impact on glider performance and could be safely accommodated on the test glider. The tags were mounted to the glider by fitting the tags into plastic loop clamps and then securing the loop clamps to existing threaded holes in the glider hull. During the three-day test deployment, the glider made one dive to 50m, one dive to 200m, three dives to 500m, and approximately 76 dives to 200m.

The glider data and acoustic tag data are being evaluated, and will provide information about fish tag performance and the potential for future use within the OOI arrays.

This article was written by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution colleagues: Senior Scientist Simon Thorrold and Senior Engineering Assistant II Diana Wickman.

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OOI’s Contributions to Understanding the Changing Ocean Cited in Boston Globe

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Research Scientist Glen Gawarkiewicz cites how he uses OOI data to figure out what is happening in the changing ocean in an article on that appeared on the front page of the Boston Globe on December 28, 2021.

In a record-breaking year of weather, signs of a changed world.

[caption id="attachment_22801" align="alignnone" width="1610"] A resident walked through floodwaters left by Hurricane Ida in La Place Louisiana on August 30, 2921. Credit: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via the Boston Globe.[/caption] Read More

Gulf Stream Species in Cold North Waters Spur Scientific Discovery

In early 2017, something strange was going on in the waters off the coast of Rhode Island.  Fishers were pulling up a very unusual bycatch of Gulf Stream flounder and juvenile Black Sea bass. The Gulf Stream flounder are typically found in warmer waters, and while black sea bass are a very common fish, they are typically not present in cold water in the middle of winter, particularly not their juveniles. The fish coming up in their nets were so unusual for this time of the year, that a member of the Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation (CFRF) sent a photograph to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) scientist Glen Gawarkiewicz asking what he thought might be causing these tropical fish to end up in cold New England waters in the dead of winter.

[media-caption path="/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/KIMG0396-2.jpg" link="#"]Anna Mercer from CFRF sent this photo of Gulf Stream flounder and juvenile Black Sea Bass to Glen Gawarkiewicz, launching an investigation that resulted in three research papers.[/media-caption]

“One fun thing about my relationship with the fishing community now is if they see unusual things, they send them to me. And then I’ll usually go right to the Pioneer Array website,  look at the data and see if there’s some kind of a story, I can tell about the oceanographic conditions that might have given rise to unusual features, or unusual fish,” said Gawarkiewicz.

This query about an unusual catch prompted a scientific investigation whose results were recently published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans. The authors, WHOI colleagues Ke Chen, Glen Gawarkiewicz, and Jiayan Yang, identified for the first time the cause and multi-faceted dynamics at play in a subsurface marine heat wave (a high temperature anomaly event), expanding views of contributing factors to such ocean-altering events. They pinpointed the interplay between smaller scale cyclonic eddies and warm water intrusions that created an anomalous marine heat wave.

The research team started with the traditional hypothesis that warm core rings at the shelf break were pushing warm and salty water onto the shelf towards shore, generating a marine heat wave. But  after analyzing the fishing data and oceanographic data from the Pioneer Array, the team was not able to pinpoint the exact process causing the marine heat wave.  Chen took up the challenge and created a numerical model simulating ocean conditions during November 2016-February 2017.

The model, which was at an exceptionally fine scale of 1 kilometer resolution, captured what the team saw from the data. The model revealed warm core rings were not solely responsible for the increase in temperature of water moving into shore, but rather the heated, salty water was being moved by a combination of previously overlooked smaller scale cyclone-like eddies (circular currents of water) in the periphery of the warm core ring. The model also revealed a very persistent wind blowing from west to east in late January 2017 that worked jointly with the cyclonic eddies that had already changed the outer shelf conditions.

The winds brought the warm and salty water from the shelf break to around 50 meters depth for a distance larger than 100 kilometers over five-six days. The intrusion was localized. It moved along the slope,  climbed up the shelf, and moved onshore.

“So this remarkable intrusion was really different from what has been known of the dynamics contributing to onshore intrusions for this region, “explained Chen. “It is a very new and exciting finding that such intrusions can be a combination of smaller scale eddies and wind causing warm water intrusions at a particular location.”  The model shows the complexity of such intrusions that may result from multiple sources and conditions.  “It provides a more complete picture of conditions and how they might ultimately impact what fish are caught and where they are caught,” added Chen.

Gawarkiewicz concluded, “The Pioneer Array has just worked wonders for our relationship with the fishing industry and has also allowed us to see ongoing changes in this ocean region that keep accelerating.  The Pioneer Array just brilliantly combines both the cutting-edge research, like the modeling Ke is doing, with the real dire societal need of identifying and ultimately understanding changing ocean conditions. I only wish that we could have a Pioneer Array, basically in every region of the country.”

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See Boston Globe article on December 28, 2021 for other ways OOI data are contributing to scientific understanding of the changing ocean.

 

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Videos of OOI’s Virtual Booth Sessions at AGU

In case you missed any sessions at OOI’s Virtual Booth at the AGU Fall 2021 meeting, you can watch them here at your leisure:

[embed]https://vimeo.com/657572792[/embed] [embed]https://vimeo.com/657554340[/embed] [embed]https://vimeo.com/657568018[/embed] [embed]https://vimeo.com/657540648[/embed] [embed]https://vimeo.com/657477409[/embed] [embed]https://vimeo.com/657874176[/embed] [embed]https://vimeo.com/657995699[/embed] Read More

Testing of New Glider Models Underway

Last fall, the Coastal Endurance team conducted an initial test run of a Slocum G3 glider to determine its capabilities and operational differences to the G2 glider, currently used by the Endurance and Coastal & Global Scale Nodes (CGSN) teams.  The test was prompted by glider vendor Teledyne’s announcement that it would no longer support the G2 glider past 2023.

Both the Endurance and CGSN teams have since expanded testing. The Endurance team recently completed a two-month deployment of a G3 glider, with plans to deploy another later this summer. The CGSN team, which operates the Pioneer and two global arrays, is testing three G3 gliders. One is being tested for use as a coastal glider at the Pioneer Array and the other two are being configured for the Irminger Sea and Station Papa global sites.

“Recent testing at the Pioneer Array was really valuable for us,” said Peter Brickley, CGSN Observatory Operations Lead. “We got a chance to see that our missions were workable, we found and made the changes that were needed, and we were also able to get a better estimate of how much energy these things were going to use.”

[media-caption path="https://oceanobservatories.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/IMG_3107-2-1-scaled.jpg" link="#"]Diana Wickman of the CGSN team at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is responsible for keeping the CGSN gliders operational.  Here she has stripped the exterior of the glider to ensure that all internal parts are functional.  Once refurbished, the gliders are tested in a water tank before being deployed at sea. Credit: Jade Lin ©WHOI.[/media-caption]The G3 gliders use more power than the G2 gliders, so the logistics of when and where they are deployed will require some adjustments. When powered by primary lithium batteries, for example, the G2 gliders can be deployed for about 90 days. The initial tests of the G3 gliders showed they could last in the water for around 75 days using primary lithium batteries. For trial runs using rechargeable batteries, the time in the water for the G3 gliders was reduced to about 30 days.

OOI is working with the vendor to evaluate operational alternatives to extend the operating window of the G3 gliders.

Improvements may require tweaking

“The rechargeable batteries are a really cool feature, but because they are about half of the energy density of the usual batteries, we’re going to have to adjust sampling schemes and plans for time in the water when we use the rechargeable batteries,” said Stuart Pearce, who works with the Endurance gliders. For now, the Endurance team intends to test the rechargeable batteries in the near shore gliders in the spring and summer when they can reliably get out to sea to recover and deploy the gliders.

G3 gliders also come equipped with larger volume buoyancy pumps than the G2 models in response to users’ feedback. “The gliders rise and fall in the water column by changing their volume and therefore density,” explained Pearce. “The new gliders have 800-1000 cubic centimeters of fluid volume to rise and dive with, compared to the 500 cubic centimeters of volume in the G2 gliders. This means that the G3 gliders can climb and dive in a greater buoyancy range.” One option being explored is whether power consumption can be reduced by adjusting the volume of the reservoir fluid needed to make the glider rise and fall.

The new G3 gliders incorporate some changes that address feedback from OOI and other users who have operated G2 gliders. “If you put anything in the ocean and use it as much as we do, you will find things that unexpectedly fail,” said Peter Brickley, CGSN Observatory Operations Lead. “We’ve been operating gliders since 2013, so we have lots of experience. In the early days, for example, we had a lot of problems with the digifin, the steering rudder that’s on the back of the vehicle. We worked closely with Teledyne to document and study this issue and they ultimately made needed improvements.” Other issues have been similarly addressed over the years.

Integrating the new G3 gliders into its Global Arrays may offer greater reliability as older G2 models are phased out. Diana Wickman, Senior Engineering Assistant II at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution who keeps the CGSN gliders operational, explained “We need the equipment to work really well, and it needs to work for the entire year. At Pioneer, if we have problems, we can replace vehicles that are struggling with vehicles that we can refurbish in-house, but we simply can’t do that at the global sites.”

For now, the teams will continue with testing to make sure the new gliders will work for OOI’s purpose of long-term ocean monitoring.

OOI shares its glider data with the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) Glider Data Assembly Center and the OceanGliders project, which is a part of the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS). Both serve as repositories for researchers interested in using glider data.

 

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Scoping the New Pioneer Array in the Southern Mid-Atlantic Bight

A very engaged group of participants spent the week of June 21st thinking about how to optimize the Pioneer Array for its relocation to the southern Mid-Atlantic Bight (MAB) in 2024. The five-day Innovations Lab, sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) was led by the OOIFB (Ocean Observatories Initiative Facilities Board), a talented team of “Sparks”, Knowinnovation, Inc. (KI), and expertly supported by the OOI Facility. The group identified a range of representative interdisciplinary science questions that can be addressed using the Pioneer Array within the MAB and proposed optimum locations and potential configurations for the array.

Science question topics included air-sea interactions;  the influence of estuarine plumes and the Gulf Stream on cross-shelf and shelf-slope exchanges and their impacts on ocean chemistry and biology; benthic-pelagic coupling; and canyon processes. Participants converged on a general region (see boxes in Figure 1 below) that would best address the science questions.

[media-caption path="https://oceanobservatories.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Google-earth-map.png" link="#"]Figure 1. Southern MAB Pioneer Array regions. The red box indicates the region where moorings would be located and the larger green box indicates the region where mobile assets (gliders and AUVs) would operate.[/media-caption]

“The Innovations Lab was very successful, and we really appreciate the community sharing their innovative ideas with us in this essential first step,” said Kendra Daly, chair of the OOIFB. “The Innovations Lab provides an excellent start to a long process of fleshing out the details to ensure that the array provides data to investigate a broad range of interdisciplinary science questions, while also being robust enough to weather the challenging environmental conditions in the Mid-Atlantic Bight.”

The OOIFB will continue to engage with the OOI community to refine the array’s design for implementation over the next two years. The Innovations Lab showed that there is strong community interest in coastal science, the potential for new partnerships, and excitement about implementing the Pioneer Array in its new location.

 

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Applications for the Pioneer Array Innovations Lab 2 due May 31st

Applications to apply for the Pioneer Array Innovations Lab 2 are due on May 31st. The Lab will be held each day during the week of June 21-25 (about 5-6 hours each day). During this Lab, participants will work to identify the observatory opportunities that can be offered by the Pioneer Array at its new location at the Mid-Atlantic Bight. Details are provided below.

The application form for the Pioneer Array Innovations Lab 2 is available here.

To learn more or to apply, please visit here.

 

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OOI Pioneer Array to Relocate to MAB

It’s official, the next location of the OOI (Ocean Observatories Initiative) Coastal Pioneer Array is the Mid-Atlantic Bight (MAB) and the move will take place in 2024.  The geographic footprint championed during the NSF-sponsored Innovations Lab #1 is the region of the MAB between Cape Hatteras and Norfolk Canyon. This region offers opportunities to collect data on a wide variety of cross-disciplinary science topics including cross-shelf exchange, land-sea interactions associated with large estuarine systems, a highly productive ecosystem with major fisheries, and carbon cycle processes. This location also offers opportunities to improve our understanding of hurricane development, tracking and prediction, and offshore wind partnerships.

As background, the OOI has been in full operations since 2016. The OOI Pioneer Array was designed to be relocatable, and in 2020 the Ocean Observatories Initiative Facilities Board (OOIFB) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) launched a process to select the next OOI Pioneer Array location. A Phase 1 Innovations Lab was held in March 2021 to explore possible locations based on scientific questions of interest. The inputs received helped NSF make its decision to select the MAB.

A second (Phase 2) Innovations Lab is scheduled for the week of June 21-25.  During this Lab, participants will work to further identify and refine the opportunities afforded by the new Pioneer Array location. Selected participants will be exploring how the Pioneer Array sensors and platforms can be optimized to achieve science and education goals at the new site, based on environmental, logistical, and infrastructural considerations. Partnership and collaboration potentials at the new location will also be discussed.  The OOIFB, in partnership with Know Innovations, will again be facilitating the second Innovation Lab.

There is also an open to all Microlab scheduled for May 12th  if you are intrigued and want to learn more: (https://ooifb.org/meetings/pioneer-array-phase2/).

The ocean community is invited to help identify new design considerations that can enable exciting research endeavors at the chosen location.  Scientists, educators, and other stakeholders are encouraged to apply for the Phase 2 Innovations Lab. Please visit the OOIFB  website for more information.

 

 

 

 

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