The winds seemed to have blown in favor of the Global Station Papa 8 team last month. Their mission to “turn” (recover old and deploy new) moorings went without incident, and two-years of data were recovered after COVID canceled the 2020 cruise.
On July 18, the seven members of the Station Papa 8 team set out aboard the R/V Sikuliaq from Seward, Alaska following a seven-day COVID isolation period. The weather was beautiful the first three days while in transit to Station Papa, located in the Gulf of Alaska in the Northeast Pacific, and weather remained favorable for work for the rest of the cruise.
Over the 16-day period at sea, the team successfully deployed and recovered two flanking moorings and one hybrid profiler mooring, and deployed and recovered two open ocean gliders. While on station, the team also conducted 11 CTD (conductivity, temperature, and depth) casts that help calibrate the instruments and validate the data they collect.
This eighth turn of the Station Papa Array was particularly important because the annual expedition to turn the array last year was canceled due to constraints imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Instrument data are downloaded upon recovery, and following a Quality Assessment/Quality Control (QA/QC) review, nearly two years of ocean observation data may have been recovered. As part of the review, OOI’s Coastal and Global Scale Node team will inspect the instruments for bio-fouling and reagent use to assess whether there was any significant impact to the data.
“We were really pleased to see that the instruments were still collecting and recording data, even after being in the water for almost two years,” said Kris Newhall, chief scientist of the Station Papa 8 expedition. “In spite of limited battery power and challenging conditions, most instruments continued to collect data for the duration of the two-year extended deployment.”[embed]http://https://vimeo.com/585980063[/embed] [media-caption path="http://https://vimeo.com/585980063" link="#"]Shown above is the recovery of a Global Station Papa Array subsurface mooring by the team aboard the R/V Sikuliaq. The mooring was coated with marine life that had been growing there for the past two years. The team cleaned the mooring as the ship transited to its next station. Video courtesy of Bern McKiernan. [/media-caption]
The periodic turning of the moorings present opportunities to incorporate design innovations into the arrays. The new moorings have improved controllers and new positioning beacons with GPS and flashers built into the housing, which will help increase performance and simplify recovery.
The team returned to Seward on August 2, then made their way back to their home port in Woods Hole, MA. The data retrieved from the moorings will help researchers investigate topics related to climate, ocean circulation, biological productivity, and ocean acidification in this important region of the Northeast Pacific.
This summer has been a busy time for OOI’s teams, who are actively engaged in ensuring that OOI’s arrays continue to provide data 24/7. Teams are turning – recovering and deploying – three arrays during July and August. The first expedition occurred earlier in July when a scientific and engineering team spent 16 days in the Northeast Pacific recovering and deploying ocean observing equipment at the Global Station Papa Array. The team recovered three subsurface moorings and deployed three new ones. They also deployed one open ocean glider, recovered one profiling glider, and conducted 11 CTD casts (which measure conductivity, temperature, and depth) to calibrate and validate the instruments on the array. After completing this eighth turn of the Station Papa Array, the team returned to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution by way of Seward, Alaska on the second of August.[embed]https://vimeo.com/580883575[/embed]
On 30 July, the Regional Cabled Array team embarked on the first of four legs of its 37-day Operations and Maintenance Cruise aboard the R/V Thomas G. Thompson. The ship, operated by the University of Washington, is hosting the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Jason, operated by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). During the cruise, Jason will be used to deploy and recover a diverse array of more than 200 instruments from the active Pacific seafloor. The science, engineering, and ROV teams will be joined this year by 19 students sailing as part of the University of Washington’s educational mission (VISIONS’21). A live video feed of the ship’s operations and Jason dives is available for the duration of the cruises.[media-caption path="https://oceanobservatories.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/r1472_elguapo.top_.web_-768x511-1.jpg" link="#"]The Regional Cabled Array team expects to share imagery as spectacular as this during its upcoming cruise. Shown here is the El Guapo hot spring, covered in life venting boiling fluids 4500 feet beneath the oceans surface. Credit: UW/NSF-OOI/CSSF; V11.[/media-caption]
On 3 August, a team from WHOI boarded the R/V Armstrong for a weeklong transit to recover and deploy the Global Irminger Sea Array, off the Southeast coast of Greenland. The array is located in one of the most important ocean regions in the northern hemisphere and provides data for scientists to better understand ocean convection and circulation, which have significant climate implications. A science and engineering team will be deploying and recovering a global surface mooring, a global hybrid profiler mooring, two global flanking moorings, and three gliders (two open ocean and one profiling) during the three-week expedition. The team will also carry out shipboard sampling and CTD casts to support the calibration and validation of platform sensors while underway. A novel aspect of this cruise is that near real-time CTD profiles will be made publicly available during the cruise. The profiles will be evaluated by onshore staff, who will provide feedback to the ship, and share online assessment of CTD results.
“This summer’s at-sea activities are the culmination of months of planning, testing, and logistical work that goes on behind the scenes to make these expeditions possible,” said John Trowbridge, OOI’s Principal Investigator and head of the Program Management Office. “A tremendous amount of human effort and ingenuity is required to keep the arrays operational year-round, particularly in some of the ocean’s most challenging environments like the Irminger Sea and on the seafloor at Axial Seamount. The data collected, however, are essential, providing scientists with the tools needed to understand our changing ocean.”
The progress of the expeditions will be reported on these pages and on OOI’s social media channels.[media-caption path="https://oceanobservatories.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Irminger-Surface-mooring-.jpg" link="#"]A global surface mooring in the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution stage area is outfitted and ready for deployment in the Irminger Sea Array. Photo: ©Jade Lin, WHOI[/media-caption]
After 20 months in the water, the Global Station Papa Array will be turned (old moorings recovered and new ones deployed) in July for the eighth time. Normally, this array is turned every year, but last year the trip was cancelled due to constraints imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. In early July, the OOI team will head to Seward, Alaska to begin preparations for this long-due operation.
The OOI team will arrive in Seward and load the R/V Sikuliaq with over 54 tons of equipment. Following one week of equipment mobilization and build, and a precautionary seven-day COVID isolation period, the team will depart for a 16-day cruise in the Northeast Pacific. The team will recover three Station Papa subsurface moorings and deploy three new ones. Along the way, they will also deploy two Open Ocean Gliders, recover one Profiling Glider, and conduct 11 CTD casts, which will help calibrate and validate the instruments on the array. The design of the moorings and gliders, as well as their planned locations, can be found here.
The robust array was designed for a 12-month deployment between turns, but due to COVID this interval had to be extended to 20 months. The extended duration may have affected data quality since bio-fouling on instruments accumulates over time. However, past experience with extended durations has been positive such that the team’s expectations regarding data quality is high.
“Regular maintenance is vital for keeping the arrays working and collecting data, so this cruise is an especially important one,” said Chief Scientist Kris Newhall, who leads the seven members of the Station Papa 8 team.
The moorings have several design updates, including improved controllers and new positioning beacons with GPS and flashers built into the housing. The upgrades will increase the performance of the moorings and simplify recovery operations.
The Global Station Papa Array is an important part of the OOI network, and the data it has collected is helping to shed light on the physical and biological dynamics for this region of the North Pacific.Read More