National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory

Physical Oceanography Division

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New Antenna System Improves Reliability While Drastically Cutting Costs

PHOD and CIMAS personnel successfully designed, built, and tested a new Iridium-based antenna for transmission of XBT observations, resulting in an annual savings in data transmission costs of approximately $200,000 per year (a direct benefit to the National Weather Service who paid for the XBT data transmission).  The new system can transmit data from for any ocean or land-based platform, with no restrictions on data format, with a potential for continued cost savings for NOAA.  The antenna has been transitioned into operations on all XBT transects carried out by AOML and Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The Iridium system has been simultaneously implemented and tested in other AOML observing systems, including ThermoSalinoGraph (TSG) and pCO2 systems. As a result of this transition, the cost of data transmissions for XBTs went from $18 to $0.80 per XBT profile. This project, funded by NOAA/AOML and the Climate Observations Division of the NOAA Climate Program Office, was carried out by Mr. Pedro Pena, Ms. Caridad I. Gonzalez, Mr. Ulises Rivero, Dr. Francis  Bringas, and Dr. Gustavo Goni.

An Iridium antenna (inside in the red circle) was installed aboard the container ship CMA CGM Racine by PhOD scientific rider Ricardo Domingues in January before it embarked upon the AX07 transect. During the 3-week transatlantic crossing from Miami, Florida and Gibraltar, Ricardo deployed approximately 270 XBT probes.