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The Wire Flyer Towed Profiling System

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  • 1 Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island, Narragansett, Rhode Island
  • | 2 Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • | 3 Department of Ocean Engineering, University of Rhode Island, Narragansett, Rhode Island
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Abstract

The Wire Flyer towed vehicle is a new platform able to collect high-resolution water column sections. The vehicle is motivated by a desire to effectively capture spatial structures at the submesoscale. The vehicle fills a niche that is not achieved by other existing towed and repeat profiling systems. The Wire Flyer profiles up and down along a ship-towed cable autonomously using controllable wings for propulsion. At ship speeds between 2 and 5 kt (1.02–2.55 m s−1), the vehicle is able to profile over prescribed depth bands down to 1000 m. The vehicle carries sensors for conductivity, temperature, depth, oxygen, turbidity, chlorophyll, pH, and oxidation reduction potential. During normal operations the vehicle is typically commanded to cover vertical regions between 300 and 400 m in height with profiles that repeat at kilometer spacing. The vertical profiling speed can be user specified up to 150 m min−1. The high-density sampling capability at depths below the upper few hundred meters makes the vehicle distinct from other systems. During operations an acoustic modem is used to communicate with the vehicle to provide status information, data samples, and the ability to modify the sampling pattern. This paper provides an overview of the vehicle system, describes its operation, and presents results from several cruises.

© 2019 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Chris Roman, croman2@uri.edu

Abstract

The Wire Flyer towed vehicle is a new platform able to collect high-resolution water column sections. The vehicle is motivated by a desire to effectively capture spatial structures at the submesoscale. The vehicle fills a niche that is not achieved by other existing towed and repeat profiling systems. The Wire Flyer profiles up and down along a ship-towed cable autonomously using controllable wings for propulsion. At ship speeds between 2 and 5 kt (1.02–2.55 m s−1), the vehicle is able to profile over prescribed depth bands down to 1000 m. The vehicle carries sensors for conductivity, temperature, depth, oxygen, turbidity, chlorophyll, pH, and oxidation reduction potential. During normal operations the vehicle is typically commanded to cover vertical regions between 300 and 400 m in height with profiles that repeat at kilometer spacing. The vertical profiling speed can be user specified up to 150 m min−1. The high-density sampling capability at depths below the upper few hundred meters makes the vehicle distinct from other systems. During operations an acoustic modem is used to communicate with the vehicle to provide status information, data samples, and the ability to modify the sampling pattern. This paper provides an overview of the vehicle system, describes its operation, and presents results from several cruises.

© 2019 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Chris Roman, croman2@uri.edu
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