Argos DCS System Use Agreement of the Month
– July 2014
British Antarctic Survey
Polar Oceans Gliders
This goal of this project is to operate Webb Slocum oceanographic glider(s) in the waters of the Southern Ocean, specifically adjacent to the western Antarctic Peninsula. This is one of the most rapidly changing regions in the world, with very strong atmospheric warming, significant ice retreat, and marked changes in ocean temperature, salinity & biogeochemical properties. It is also one of the most difficult regions in the world from which to gather long-term coherent datasets, due to its remoteness and the harshness of conditions.
Remote in situ technology has a strong role in developing the science of this area, since ship operations here are strongly limited by season, and satellite measurements are often confounded by the frequent cloud cover. Our project is to procure and deploy one or more Slocum gliders from the British Antarctic Survey research station at Rothera, on Adelaide Island adjacent to the western Peninsula. This is a year-round manned station, and we conduct weekly oceanographic measurements from here already, however these measurements are constrained to a near-shore location, and whilst they offer an excellent temporal resolution, there is no significant spatial coverage. The Slocum glider(s) will add this spatial coverage, by flying surveys around the broader region of Rothera, collecting data on temperature, salinity and chlorophyll concentrations across the western peninsula shelf.
The work is fully funded by the UK Natural Environment Research Council, via funds provided to British Antarctic Survey. The project also has strong links with the Palmer Long-Term Ecological research (LTER) programme, which operates the same glider technology during its annual research cruises to the Antarctic Peninsula, and from its base at Palmer Station, farther north along the Peninsula from Rothera. We have very close links with Palmer LTER, and will operate our glider(s) in a synergistic way with theirs, so as to maximize the scientific gain.