Bloom Chasing With a Wave Glider: The MAGI (Mesoscale Features Aggregates Interaction) Project in the North Pacific
Monday, 14 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Satellite ocean color data over the past decade has revealed the existence of large phytoplankton blooms in the North Pacific Ocean - specifically in the region NE of Hawai´I near 30°N. These blooms cover thousands of km2, persist for weeks or longer, and are often dominated by nitrogen-fixing diatom symbioses. These events have proven difficult to study outside of the time series station ALOHA at Hawai´i. The limited data indicates that the 30°N blooms are longer-lived, larger, and occur at a greater temperature range than the blooms that develop closer to Hawai´i. In the NE Pacific, at least some of these blooms occur at or near the subtropical front, a salinity-defined temperature compensated frontal zone that has a number of fronts imbedded in it. Here we will report on the results from the MAGI (Mesoscale features Aggregates Interaction) project. In this project, we deployed a Liquid Robotics SV2 Wave Glider® in June, 2015 for a multiple (up to 6) month mission to sample these features and assist in characterizing the bloom dynamics of this region. The Wave Gliders are the first unmanned autonomous marine robots to use only the ocean's wave energy for propulsion. The gliders are navigated remotely allowing a dynamic route through the keying of unique waypoints. Waypoints can be changed to sample features as they develop in the near-real time satellite imagery. The wave glider named Honey Badger is equipped with a CTD, two C3 fluorometers (one with an anti-biofouling coating applied), a Turner Designs PhytoFlash, meteorology and wave sensors, a downward facing camera, a Vengmar passive acoustic monitor, and a towed LISST-Holo.