Development Of Advanced Instrumentation For Operational Oceanography
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Operational oceanography is an applied science requiring new instrumentation to perform cost effective surveys. The use of XBT probes from Voluntary Observing Ships is a good way to obtain temperature profiles, but it is limited by the cost of the probes and of the operators on board. An automatic multiple XBT launcher was developed, to work unattended and be recharged by a crew member, without the need for a technician. Keywords: operational oceanography, marine monitoring, XBT, voluntary observing ships. 1 Introduction The assessment of environmental conditions requires a series of measurements, with a good spatial and temporal resolution. The high cost and limits of traditional oceanographic surveys stimulate the use of new techniques to obtain a proper coverage. So, traditional moorings and oceanographic cruises are complemented with autonomous devices (e.g. drifters and gliders) and with the use of "ships of opportunity". In the framework of the EU funded "Mediterranean ocean Forecasting System Toward Environmental Prediction" (MFSTEP), several experiences were performed both in the use and in the development of advanced instrumentation. Started in 1999 as a part of the "Mediterranean ocean Forecasting System Pilot Project" (MFSPP), a Voluntary Observing Ship (VOS) program is still collecting temperature XBT profiles along seven Mediterranean transects, designed to study, in each of the sub-basins (the Algero-Provençal, the Tyrrhenian, the south Adriatic, the Ionian and the Levantine), the variability of the main circulation features . Although less expensive than dedicated oceanographic cruises, the
operational oceanography, marine monitoring, XBT, voluntary observing ships.