This trip aims to survey the Porcupine Abyssal plain sustained observatory (PAP-SO), from 25th March to 14th April. iFADO glider was already deployed during this campaign.
The Royal Research Ship Discovery left the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) in Southampton, on 25th March 2021, on DY130 to the Porcupine Abyssal Plain Sustained Observatory (PAP-SO). Dr Sue Hartman is leading the cruise, which is part of the Climate Linked Atlantic Sector Science (CLASS) project. The primary purpose of this cruise is to extend long-term observations at the PAP-SO that date back to 1985 and now support a number of national and international ocean observing initiatives including iFADO. The science and technical teams onboard will carry out a range of water column and seafloor sampling and data collection operations at the PAP-SO.
At the PAP-SO, the team is service a UK Met Office buoy that monitors Atlantic weather (wind speed and direction, relative humidity, air temperature, sea temperature, atmospheric pressure, sunlight, atmospheric CO2, wave height and period). This deep-ocean mooring, 5 km deep, is also equipped with NOC oceanographic sensors for essential ocean variables (salinity, temperature, CO2, O2, ocean acidity, phytoplankton pigments, nutrients, sunlight). A second PAP-SO mooring carries a series of sediment traps that monitor seasonal variations in the sinking particles that carry carbon to the deep-sea floor. We will be matching surface sampling to the satellite data provided by NEODAAS through iFADO funding. In addition to extensive water column and seafloor sediment sampling, the team will also use a remotely operated vehicle, HyBIS, to video and photograph the seafloor.
This cruise already deployed a UK underwater glider (funded by EU projects iFADO and GOCART and provided by the Marine Autonomous and Robotic Systems (MARS) at the NOC). It will profile to 1000 m and measure temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, phytoplankton pigments and particle abundance. DY130 is also linked to the US NASA-led EXPORTS programme, that will send three ships to the region in May 2021. Two US underwater gliders (funded by EXPORTS/NASA) were also already deployed on DY130 alongside the iFADO glider, and all three will continue to monitor the area when RRS Discovery returns to Southampton on 14th April.