Marine & Environmental Sciences Faculty Articles



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Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology



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Ocean waves, Remote sensing, Turbulence, Energy dissipation, Equipment and supplies


High-resolution probes mounted on the bow of the vessel at a 1.7-m depth in an undisturbed region ahead of the moving vessel were used for microstructure and turbulence measurements in the near-surface layer of the ocean during TOGA COARE. The probes measured temperature, conductivity, pressure, three-component fluctuation velocity, and two components of acceleration. Accumulation of large amounts of high-quality nearsurface data poses a difficult challenge, and deployment from the bow of a ship, such as is done with these sensors, requires rugged, well-calibrated, and low-noise sensors. The heaving motion of the ship that causes the sensors to break through the surface requires data processing algorithms unique to this application. Due to the presence of surface waves and the associated pitching of the vessel, the bow probes ‘‘scanned’’ the near-surface layer of the ocean. Combining the bow sensor’s signals with the ship’s thermosalinograph pumping water from 3-m depth resulted in the near-surface dataset with both fine temporal/spatial resolution and high absolute accuracy. Contour plots calculated using the bow signals reveal the spatial structure of the diurnal thermocline and rain-formed halocline. The localization in narrow frequency bands of the vibrations of the bow sensors allows calculation of dissipation rates. The characteristics of the sensors and the data processing algorithms related to the periodic surface penetration by the sensors are discussed in this paper.







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©1998 American Meteorological Society (AMS). Permission to use figures, tables, and brief excerpts from this work in scientific and educational works is hereby granted provided that the source is acknowledged. Any use of material in this work that is determined to be “fair use” under Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act September 2010 Page 2 or that satisfies the conditions specified in Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright Act (17 USC §108, as revised by P.L. 94-553) does not require the AMS’s permission. Republication, systematic reproduction, posting in electronic form, such as on a web site or in a searchable database, or other uses of this material, except as exempted by the above statement, requires written permission or a license from the AMS. Additional details are provided in the AMS Copyright Policy, available on the AMS Web site located at ( or from the AMS at 617-227-2425 or

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NSF grant #: OCE9216891; ONR grant #s: N00014-961-0832, N00014-96-1-0836

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