Clockwork Ocean – Exploring the submesoscale from the air and water

We, Sebastian Essink and Amala Mahadevan, are participating in an experiment in the Baltic Sea being led by Burkard Baschek of Institute for Coastal Research at Helmholtz Center, Geesthacht. The aim is to study sub-kilometer scale eddies in the ocean, that have life spans of less than a day, and are a part of the eddying flow field of the ocean that covers a wide range of scales.  The research is being conducted from a Zeppelin, multiple airplanes, and 3  research vessels and more details are at the Clockwork Ocean website  http://www.uhrwerk-ozean.de/expedition/index.html.en 

This blog relates our experience. Sebastian and I have come from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, as this experiment uses some novel methods of measurement and addresses a scale that is difficult to observe with conventional means.  It is the first time that the ocean is being measured from an air-ship. The plan is to use  hyper-spectral and infrared imagery from the air to get very high resolution information of the sea surface temperature and color (chlorophyll and other pigments), and at the same time, use research vessels to sample features in water. The airplanes will scout out features and survey, the air-ship will park itself above the research site and the veIMG_0842ssels will tow instruments through the water. In addition, a high frequency radar will be used on a research vessel to get high-resolution measurements of surface currents.