Tenth Turn of Global Station Papa Array

The Global Station Papa Array is in the Gulf of Alaska at a critical region of the northeast Pacific Ocean. The region is extremely vulnerable to ocean acidification, has a productive fishery, low eddy variability, and is impacted by the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, often described as the as a long-lived El Niño-like pattern of Pacific climate variability.

A team of 10 scientists and engineers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and the University of Washington will be onboard the R/V Sikuliaq for 15 days in May to ensure that this Array continues to provide data from this important region. The team will deploy three OOI moorings, two open ocean gliders, and one profiling glider. A waverider mooring, which measures wave height and direction, will be deployed for the University of Washington. During the expedition, the team also will be conducting water sampling during recovery and deployments, and sampling while underway for instrument calibration purposes.

Located next to the NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) Surface Buoy and deep-water sound buoy, the Station Papa Array is an important contributor to a cooperatively studied region. The University of Washington operates a waverider mooring near the buoys. The US Coast Guard’s Research Vessel John P. Tully regularly collects data in the region. And the Department of Fisheries in Canada operates a glider line in the region.

[media-caption path="https://oceanobservatories.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/CGSN_Papa-10_IRR_Presentation_2023-05-01.jpg" link="#"]The Global Station Papa Array and complementary components. Credit Sarah Battle, NOAA/PMEL, adapted from OOI.[/media-caption]

This annual spring “turn” of the Array is no small undertaking. A successful turn requires months of equipment preparation and testing. After all instrumentation has been cleared to go, it is then shipped from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to Seward Alaska, where it is again tested as the moorings are assembled for loading onboard the Sikuliaq. Loading is complex, as well. All deck space is fully utilized and when loading is complete, 106,340 pounds of equipment will have been moved onto the ship.

“We have a good, experienced team and the Sikuliaq captain and crew couldn’t be better, “said Kris Newhall, Senior Project Manager at WHOI and Chief Scientist for Station Papa 10. “Our work in this region is really important for the data being generated are helping scientists to understand primary production, marine heat waves, and a whole lot more.”

Regular updates from the Station Papa 10 expedition will be reported here. Bookmark the page and follow along.

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