AOML scientists and partners from an assortment of universities and Cooperative Institutes successfully completed the most comprehensive ocean acidification sampling of the Gulf of Mexico to date with the conclusion of the fourth Gulf of Mexico Ecosystems and Carbon Cruise, also known as the GOMECC-4 cruise. The research effort aboard the NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown began out of Key West, Florida on September 13, 2021 with 25 scientists and graduate students aboard. It ended 39 days later on October 21 with a port stop in St. Petersburg, Florida.
NOAA’s Western Boundary Time Series (WBTS) project, alongside partner projects RAPID and MOCHA, have been awarded the inaugural “Ocean Observing Team Award” by The Oceanography Society (TOS). This award recognizes innovation and excellence in sustained ocean observing for scientific and practical applications. The WBTS/RAPID/MOCHA team is recognized for significantly improving our understanding of Atlantic circulation through the breakthrough design of a basin-wide observing system using endpoint measurements to measure the variability of the overturning circulation across wide areas of the ocean. This design provided continuous, cost-effective measurements that led to a transformation in ocean observing and advances in scientific knowledge.
On July 18, NOAA AOML and partner scientists will depart on the Gulf of Mexico Ecosystems and Carbon Cycle (GOMECC-3) research cruise in support of NOAA’s Ocean Acidification Monitoring Program. This isn’t the first time researchers will head to sea in this region. Previous cruises have taken place along the east and Gulf of Mexico (GOM) coasts of the US in both 2007 and 2012. Together, these cruises provide coastal ocean measurements of unprecedented quality that are used both to improve our understanding of where ocean acidification (OA) is happening and how ocean chemistry patterns are changing over time. This will be the most comprehensive OA cruise to date in this region, set to include sampling in the international waters of Mexico for the first time. Ocean acidification is a global issue with global impacts, and international collaboration like this is vital to understanding and adapting to our changing oceans.
In October, AOML scientists, technicians and engineers involved in the Western Boundary Time Series (WBTS) project completed the 100th successful dropsonde cruise in the Florida Current since the project’s inception in 2000. The dropsonde cruises measure volume transport in the Florida Current using an out-of-service telephone cable between Florida and Grand Bahama Island.
AOML physical oceanographers Molly Baringer, Ulises Rivero, Pedro Pena, Andrew Stefanick, Grant Rawson, Jay Hooper and Francis Bringas conducted a Western Boundary Times Series cruise aboard the UNOLS R/V Endeavor on February 15, 2015. Molly Baringer, AOML Deputy Director, served as chief scientist and was supported by additional crew from the University of Puerto Rico. Scientists measured full water column values of salinity, temperature, and oxygen. Scientists also telemetered data from a series of moorings along the 26th north parallel for a joint NOAA and National Science Foundation program designed to monitor the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation current. Francis Bringas also conducted a fall rate experiment that consisted of deploying 200 XBTs from different launch heights.