We have experience using the Wirewalker™ to address an assortment of scientific and monitoring challenges. Here are a few recent examples:
Open Ocean Drifts.
The rapidly evolving open ocean. The upper ocean responds to, and influences, the atmosphere across a range of time scales. It is also home to important biogeochemical transformations that modulate the ocean’s impact on the carbon cycle, drives its productivity and thus influences global fisheries, and controls the ventilation (oxygenation) of the ocean interior. In this example, a 13.5 day, 2,414, 7.7 min per 100m profile Wirewalker drift in the open ocean shows the variability of the ocean boundary layer and the stratified region below. Observations gathered from a CTD, bio-optical, dissolved oxygen, and microstructure temperature sensors allow diagnosis of the rapid time evolution of the fluxes of those properties.
Coastal oceanography: The coastal ocean has the most productive fisheries in the world, but also suffers from significant man-made perturbations. Investigating the dynamics of the coastal ocean, and monitoring its health, are thus vital concerns of oceanographers, policy-makers, and government. In this example, an array of 3 Wirewalkers was deployed offshore of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography to study the process of breaking internal waves in the coastal ocean. In Southern California, nutrient fluxes due to these waves control the productivity and character of the phytoplankton. This figure is a 96h snapshot of a 25 day, 54,000 profile deployment of the three Wirewalker moorings.
Coastal Monitoring: Wastewater
Environmental monitoring: The profound influence of humankind on the oceans is a pressing environmental concern. Scientific, policy, and regulatory efforts are all in play to mitigate this impact, but their effectiveness is limited by a lack of information regarding the ocean’s variability and response to perturbation. The Wirewalker platform provides an excellent platform from which to monitor human impacts on the ocean. In this example, a planned 26 day wastewater diversion in Southern California was monitored by a Wirewalker mooring. These observations show the vital role that high-frequency physical dynamics play in the far-field dispersion and mixing of the effluent plume, as well as the processes associated with the energetic effluent discharge. Both influence the fate of the plume, and its potential to contaminate coastal areas.