Automated Underway Eddy Covariance System for Air–Sea Momentum, Heat, and CO2 Fluxes in the Southern Ocean

Brian J. Butterworth Atmospheric Sciences Research Center, University at Albany, State University of New York, Albany, New York

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Scott D. Miller Atmospheric Sciences Research Center, University at Albany, State University of New York, Albany, New York

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Abstract

A ruggedized closed-path eddy covariance (EC) system was designed for unattended direct measurements of air–sea momentum, heat, and CO2 flux, and was deployed on the Research Vessel Icebreaker (RV/IB) Nathaniel B. Palmer (NBP), an Antarctic research and supply vessel. The system operated for nine cruises during 18 months from January 2013 to June 2014 in the Southern Ocean and coastal Antarctica, sampling a wide variety of wind, wave, biological productivity, and ice conditions. The methods are described and the results are shown for two cruises chosen for their latitudinal range, inclusion of both open water and sea ice cover, and relatively large air–water CO2 concentration differences (ΔpCO2). Ship flow distortion was addressed by comparing mean winds, fluxes, and cospectra from an array of 3D anemometers at the NBP bow, comparing measured fluxes with bulk formulas, and implementing and evaluating several recently published data processing techniques. Quality-controlled momentum, heat, and CO2 flux data were obtained for 25% of the periods when NBP was at sea, with most (86%) of the rejected periods due to wind directions relative to the ship >±30° from the bow. In contrast to previous studies, no bias was apparent in measured CO2 fluxes for low |ΔpCO2|. The relationship between momentum flux and wind speed showed a clear dependence on the degree of sea ice cover, a result facilitated by the geographical coverage possible with a ship-based approach. These results indicate that ship-based unattended EC in high latitudes is feasible, and recommendations for deployments of underway systems in such environments are provided.

Corresponding author address: Scott D. Miller, Atmospheric Sciences Research Center, University at Albany, State University of New York, 251 Fuller Road, Albany, NY 12203. E-mail: smiller@albany.edu

Abstract

A ruggedized closed-path eddy covariance (EC) system was designed for unattended direct measurements of air–sea momentum, heat, and CO2 flux, and was deployed on the Research Vessel Icebreaker (RV/IB) Nathaniel B. Palmer (NBP), an Antarctic research and supply vessel. The system operated for nine cruises during 18 months from January 2013 to June 2014 in the Southern Ocean and coastal Antarctica, sampling a wide variety of wind, wave, biological productivity, and ice conditions. The methods are described and the results are shown for two cruises chosen for their latitudinal range, inclusion of both open water and sea ice cover, and relatively large air–water CO2 concentration differences (ΔpCO2). Ship flow distortion was addressed by comparing mean winds, fluxes, and cospectra from an array of 3D anemometers at the NBP bow, comparing measured fluxes with bulk formulas, and implementing and evaluating several recently published data processing techniques. Quality-controlled momentum, heat, and CO2 flux data were obtained for 25% of the periods when NBP was at sea, with most (86%) of the rejected periods due to wind directions relative to the ship >±30° from the bow. In contrast to previous studies, no bias was apparent in measured CO2 fluxes for low |ΔpCO2|. The relationship between momentum flux and wind speed showed a clear dependence on the degree of sea ice cover, a result facilitated by the geographical coverage possible with a ship-based approach. These results indicate that ship-based unattended EC in high latitudes is feasible, and recommendations for deployments of underway systems in such environments are provided.

Corresponding author address: Scott D. Miller, Atmospheric Sciences Research Center, University at Albany, State University of New York, 251 Fuller Road, Albany, NY 12203. E-mail: smiller@albany.edu
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