The Float Park: A New Tool for a Cost-Effective Collection of Lagrangian Time Series with Dual Release RAFOS Floats

Walter Zenk Institut für Meereskunde an der Universität Kiel, Kiel, Germany

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Andreas Pinck Institut für Meereskunde an der Universität Kiel, Kiel, Germany

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Sylvia Becker Institut für Meereskunde an der Universität Kiel, Kiel, Germany

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Pierre Tillier SeaScan, Inc., Falmouth, Massachusetts

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Abstract

The World Ocean Circulation Experiment has established Lagrangian observations with neutrally buoyant floats as a routine tool in the study of deep-sea currents. Here a novel variant of the well-proven RAFOS concept for seeding floats at locations where they can be triggered on a timed basis is introduced. This cost-effective method obviates the need to revisit sites with a high-priced research vessel each time floats are to be deployed. It enables multiple Lagrangian time series, for example, for the observation of intermediate point sources of water masses, which are independent but have identical start points. This can be done even in environmentally challenging regions such as below the ice. The successfully tested autonomous float park concept does not rely on a release carousel moored on the seafloor. Instead, a second release was added to the standard RAFOS float for optional delay of regular drift missions. A float park can easily be installed by a conductivity–temperature–depth recorder system with a slightly modified rosette sampler.

Corresponding author address: Walter Zenk, Institut für Meereskunde an der Universität Kiel, Düsternbrooker Weg 20, D-24105 Kiel, Germany.

Email: wzenk@ifm.uni-kiel.de

Abstract

The World Ocean Circulation Experiment has established Lagrangian observations with neutrally buoyant floats as a routine tool in the study of deep-sea currents. Here a novel variant of the well-proven RAFOS concept for seeding floats at locations where they can be triggered on a timed basis is introduced. This cost-effective method obviates the need to revisit sites with a high-priced research vessel each time floats are to be deployed. It enables multiple Lagrangian time series, for example, for the observation of intermediate point sources of water masses, which are independent but have identical start points. This can be done even in environmentally challenging regions such as below the ice. The successfully tested autonomous float park concept does not rely on a release carousel moored on the seafloor. Instead, a second release was added to the standard RAFOS float for optional delay of regular drift missions. A float park can easily be installed by a conductivity–temperature–depth recorder system with a slightly modified rosette sampler.

Corresponding author address: Walter Zenk, Institut für Meereskunde an der Universität Kiel, Düsternbrooker Weg 20, D-24105 Kiel, Germany.

Email: wzenk@ifm.uni-kiel.de

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  • Zenk, W., 1997: North Atlantic anticipates biggest float fleet ever. Int. WOCE Newsl.,27, 32–34.

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