Continuous Seafloor Gas Hydrate Monitoring on the Ocean Networks Canada NEPTUNE Cabled Observatory

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Martin Scherwath1, Martin Heesemann1, Kate Moran1,2, Tania Lado Insua1, Miriam Roemer3, Michael Riedel2,4, George Spence2, Laurenz Thomsen5 and Autun Purser5, (1)Ocean Networks Canada, Victoria, BC, Canada, (2)University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada, (3)Marum and University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany, (4)Natural Resources Canada, Sidney, BC, Canada, (5)Jacobs University, Bremen, Germany
Long-term seafloor experiments provide high-resolution data that allow new kinds of observations on the dynamics and variability of gas hydrates. In the north-east Pacific, Canadian as well as US efforts on building cabled seafloor observatories enable the scientific community to study the Cascadia margin gas hydrates at various locations independent of dedicated ship cruises and unstable weather, without power saving restrictions and with near realtime access to the data and the ability to influence the in-situ data acquisition in reaction to events.

We show scientific highlights from Barkley Canyon and Clayoquot Slope off Vancouver Island on of the gas hydrate stability and variability on and below the seafloor as well as gas release into the water column, using some standard measurements from core instruments such as temperature, salinity, bottom pressure, currents, as well as sonar, seismometer and camera image data. Correlations of these various data sets shed light on the dependence of the observed gas hydrate dynamics on various environmental factors, some still subject to debate and longer-term monitoring requirements. Global efforts on cabling the seafloor elsewhere are underway and an exciting future on gas hydrate research lies ahead.

Ocean Networks Canada invites the research community to participate, propose experiments, download data and collaborate (www.oceannetworks.ca).