The air-sea interaction profiler (ASIP): An autonomous upwardly rising profiler for microstructure measurements in the upper ocean

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Abstract

The upper few meters of the ocean form a critical layer for air-sea interaction, but because of observational challenges this region is undersampled. However, the physical processes controlling momentum transfer, gas exchange, and heat transfer are all concentrated in the uppermost region of the ocean. To study this region, the Air-Sea Interaction Profiler (ASIP) was developed. This is an autonomous microstructure vertical profiling instrument that provides data from a maximum depth of 100m to the ocean surface and allows measurements to be performed in an undisturbed environment. The core sensor package on ASIP includes shear probes, microstructure and CTD-quality temperature and conductivity sensors, a photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) sensor, and an oxygen optode providing a repeated high-resolution dataset immediately below the air-sea interface. Autonomous profiling is accomplished with thrusters that submerge the positively buoyant instrument. Once the desired depth is reached, ASIP ascends through the water column acquiring data. At the surface, ASIP acquires its position and transmits this over the Iridium satellite network. ASIP is then placed in a low-power mode for a specified period, whereupon it repeats the profile cycle. Two-way communication over the Iridium network allows mission parameters to be changed in real time. ASIP has been used to study several scientific questions, such as the impact of diurnal warming on atmospheric processes, turbulence scaling in the upper ocean, parameterizing air-sea gas exchange, salinity gradients in the ocean surface boundary layer (OSBL), and consequences for remote sensing.

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Ward, B., Fristedt, T., Callaghan, A. H., Sutherland, G., Sanchez, X., Vialard, J., & Ten Doeschate, A. (2014). The air-sea interaction profiler (ASIP): An autonomous upwardly rising profiler for microstructure measurements in the upper ocean. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, 31(10), 2246–2267. https://doi.org/10.1175/JTECH-D-14-00010.1

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