What is going on up there? – The Chukchi Sea Ecosystem Mooring

Carol Janzen1, Molly McCammon1, Seth L Danielson2, Peter Winsor3, Russell R Hopcroft3, Catherine Lalande4, Kathleen Stafford5, Claudine Hauri3 and Andrew M. P. McDonnell3, (1)Alaska Ocean Observing System, Anchorage, AK, United States, (2)UAF, College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, Fairbanks, AK, United States, (3)University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, United States, (4)Université Laval, Québec-Océan, Biology Department, Québec City, QC, Canada, (5)Applied Physics Laboratory University of Washington, Seattle, WA, United States
As Arctic regions are projected to strongly reflect the impacts of a changing climate, an effort is underway to make sustained, year-round measurements of concurrent physical and biogeochemical parameters in the Arctic. Deploying highly instrumented year-round moorings in the water is no simple feat, given harsh Arctic conditions that include the presence of sea ice and deep ice keels during much of the year. Enter the late-breaking ecosystem mooring located in the northeast Chukchi Sea. This mooring complements established biophysical moorings elsewhere in the northern Bering and Chukchi seas, including those maintained by NOAA-PMEL (M8), UW-APL (Bering Strait) and JAMSTEC moorings. (southern Chukchi and Barrow Canyon). The mooring described here is located on the southern flank of Hanna Shoal and provides a multi-disciplinary approach to year-round observations within a biological hotspot. The Chukchi Ecosystem Mooring is equipped with a sensor suite aimed to monitor and document the state of ocean acidification, nutrient and carbon cycles, particles, waves, currents and physical properties, and even passive and active acoustic monitoring for zooplankton, fish, and marine mammals. Having the simultaneous interdisciplinary measurements provides data valuable to an ecosystem-based approach to research and resource management. The fully outfitted observatory is providing an unprecedented view into the mechanistic workings of the Chukchi Shelf Ecosystem. The first mooring was deployed in September 2014 and recovered in August 2015. The August 2015 deployment consisted of three moorings, each with incremental sensor packages to complete the ecosystem sensor suite. The mooring construction and instrumentation are described in detail, including introduction to the advances in sensor technologies that enable such deployments. Year one data recovery summaries and plots are provided to demonstrate the capabilities.