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Surveying the Upper Ocean with the Ocean Surveyor: A New Phased Array Doppler Current Profiler

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  • 1 Institut für Meereskunde an der Universität Kiel, Kiel, Germany
  • | 2 RD Instruments, San Diego, California
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Abstract

A new shipboard current profiler, a 75-kHz ocean surveyor, was operationally used during two research cruises in the tropical Atlantic and the subpolar North Atlantic, respectively. Here, a report is presented on the first experience with this instrument in two very different current regimes, in the Tropics with large vertical shears, and in the subpolar regime with mainly barotropic flow. The ocean surveyor continuously measured currents in the upper ocean from near the surface to about 500–700-m depth. The measurement range showed a dependence on the regional and temporal variations of scattering particles and on the intensity of swell and wind waves. Statistical comparisons are performed with on-station lowered acoustic Doppler current profiler (LADCP) profiles and underway measurements by classic shipboard acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) measurements. Accuracy estimates for hourly averaged ocean surveyor currents result in errors of about 1 cm s–1 for on-station data and of 2–4 cm s–1 for underway measurements, depending on the regional abundance of scatterers and on the weather conditions encountered.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Jürgen Fischer, Institut für Meereskunde, Düsternbrooker Weg 20, Kiel 24105, Germany. Email: jfischer@ifm.uni-kiel.de

Abstract

A new shipboard current profiler, a 75-kHz ocean surveyor, was operationally used during two research cruises in the tropical Atlantic and the subpolar North Atlantic, respectively. Here, a report is presented on the first experience with this instrument in two very different current regimes, in the Tropics with large vertical shears, and in the subpolar regime with mainly barotropic flow. The ocean surveyor continuously measured currents in the upper ocean from near the surface to about 500–700-m depth. The measurement range showed a dependence on the regional and temporal variations of scattering particles and on the intensity of swell and wind waves. Statistical comparisons are performed with on-station lowered acoustic Doppler current profiler (LADCP) profiles and underway measurements by classic shipboard acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) measurements. Accuracy estimates for hourly averaged ocean surveyor currents result in errors of about 1 cm s–1 for on-station data and of 2–4 cm s–1 for underway measurements, depending on the regional abundance of scatterers and on the weather conditions encountered.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Jürgen Fischer, Institut für Meereskunde, Düsternbrooker Weg 20, Kiel 24105, Germany. Email: jfischer@ifm.uni-kiel.de

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