Science Meetings

Autonomous Observation of Submesoscale Structure Within the Atlantic Salinity Maximum
Fratantoni, D.M. and Hodges, B.A. (26-Feb-14)

As a contribution to the Salinity Processes in the Upper Ocean Regional Study (SPURS) field program, we used a combination of high-endurance autonomous surface vehicles (the Liquid Robotics Wave Glider) and short-endurance autonomous underwater vehicles (the OceanServer Iver2) to characterize upper-ocean salinity structure and variability on historically undersampled scales. Even with the advent of globe-spanning remote sensing tools (e.g. Aquarius, SMOS), little is known about the character of upper-ocean salinity on time and space scales at and below the ocean mesoscale. This gap in our understanding, due largely to the relative complexity and expense of accurate in-situ salinity measurement compared with temperature, has consequences for the interpretation of (and confidence in) numerical models used for physical process studies and climate research. We will present novel measurements of the near-surface salinity field on scales from a few meters to 100 km resulting from an intensive year-long study of a 100 km square region near the tropical Atlantic salinity maximum.