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Development and Testing of the AXBT Real-Time Editing System (ARES)

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  • 1 Joint Program in Oceanography/Applied Ocean Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology–Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Cambridge and Woods Hole, Massachusetts
  • | 2 Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts
  • | 3 U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland
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Abstract

Airborne expendable bathythermographs (AXBTs) are air-launched, single-use temperature–depth probes that telemeter temperature observations as VHF-modulated frequencies. This study describes the AXBT Real-Time Editing System (ARES), which is composed of two components: the ARES Data Acquisition System, which receives telemetered temperature–depth profiles with no external hardware other than a VHF radio receiver, and the ARES Profile Editing System, which quality controls AXBT temperature–depth profiles. The ARES Data Acquisition System performs fast Fourier transforms on windowed segments of the demodulated signal transmitted from the AXBT. For each segment, temperature is determined from peak frequency and depth from elapsed time since profile start. Valid signals are distinguished from noise by comparing peak signal levels and signal-to-noise ratios to predetermined thresholds. When evaluated using 387 profiles, the ARES Data Acquisition System produced temperature–depth profiles nearly identical to those generated using a Sippican MK-21 processor, while reducing the amount of noise from VHF interference included in those profiles. The ARES Profile Editor applies a series of automated checks to identify and correct common profile discrepancies before displaying the profile on an editing interface that provides simple user controls to make additional corrections. When evaluated against 1177 tropical Atlantic and Pacific AXBT profiles, the ARES automated quality control system successfully corrected 87% of the profiles without any required manual intervention. Necessary future work includes improvements to the automated quality control algorithm and algorithm evaluation against a broader dataset of temperature–depth profiles from around the world across all seasons.

© 2021 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: Casey R. Densmore, densmore@alum.mit.edu

Abstract

Airborne expendable bathythermographs (AXBTs) are air-launched, single-use temperature–depth probes that telemeter temperature observations as VHF-modulated frequencies. This study describes the AXBT Real-Time Editing System (ARES), which is composed of two components: the ARES Data Acquisition System, which receives telemetered temperature–depth profiles with no external hardware other than a VHF radio receiver, and the ARES Profile Editing System, which quality controls AXBT temperature–depth profiles. The ARES Data Acquisition System performs fast Fourier transforms on windowed segments of the demodulated signal transmitted from the AXBT. For each segment, temperature is determined from peak frequency and depth from elapsed time since profile start. Valid signals are distinguished from noise by comparing peak signal levels and signal-to-noise ratios to predetermined thresholds. When evaluated using 387 profiles, the ARES Data Acquisition System produced temperature–depth profiles nearly identical to those generated using a Sippican MK-21 processor, while reducing the amount of noise from VHF interference included in those profiles. The ARES Profile Editor applies a series of automated checks to identify and correct common profile discrepancies before displaying the profile on an editing interface that provides simple user controls to make additional corrections. When evaluated against 1177 tropical Atlantic and Pacific AXBT profiles, the ARES automated quality control system successfully corrected 87% of the profiles without any required manual intervention. Necessary future work includes improvements to the automated quality control algorithm and algorithm evaluation against a broader dataset of temperature–depth profiles from around the world across all seasons.

© 2021 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: Casey R. Densmore, densmore@alum.mit.edu
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