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TAO Proceedings - TIP 8

Report of the eighth session of the TAO Implementation Panel
St. Raphael, France 15 October 1999

The eighth session of the TAO Implementation Panel (TIP-8) was held at the Hotel Maeva Latitudes in St Raphael, France, on 15 October 1999. The meeting was convened with the assistance of the local organizing committee for the OCEANOBS99 conference, which was held the following week in St Raphael. The purposes of TIP-8 were to review the present status of the TAO array; to address technical and logistic

Other TIP pages
TIP homepage
TIP-7, Ivory Coast, November 1998
TIP-9, Australia, November 2000

issues related to its maintenance; and to provide a forum for discussion of enhancements and expansions of the array for climate studies. Representatives from the US, Japan, and France were in attendance. Written input was provided by delegates from India and the People's Republic of China.

The meeting opened with a review of variations in the tropical Pacific since TIP-7 (held in November 1998). In the past year, the ocean has continued to be unusually cold indicative of persistent La Nina conditions. ENSO forecast models suggest these conditions will persist for the next several months.

Richard Reynolds delivered a keynote presentation on some of the uses of TAO data for operational ocean analyses and ENSO forecasts at NOAA/NCEP. He emphasized the value of having higher temporal resolution (hourly) SST data in real-time to resolve the diurnal cycle for global SST analyses. He also stressed the need for more surface and subsurface salinity data, particularly in the western Pacific, for ocean analyses and for ocean-atmosphere forecast model initialization.

The following topics were also discussed at the meeting.

  • Shiptime: In 1999, 344 days at sea were required to support the TAO array. NOAA ships (Ka'imimoana, Ron Brown) accounted for 268 days, JAMSTEC ships (Kaiyo, Mirai) accounted for 76 days. It is estimated that at least this amount of shiptime will be required in 2000.
  • TAO data return: For all variables, data return between January 1997-September 1999 was 90% (180-125W), 80% (110W-95W), and 79% (137-165E). Lower data return in the eastern and western Pacific is ascribed largely to fishing vandalism.
  • Fishing vandalism: Efforts to reduce the effects of fishing vandalism on data return and equipment survivability were discussed. These efforts included a poster presentation by PMEL and IRD investigators at an international Fish Aggregation Device (FAD) conference in Martinique in October 1999. Also, described were continued outreach efforts via distribution of brochures to fisheries agencies, fishing associations, and fishermen about the TAO, TRITON, and PIRATA programs.
  • TRITON: ATLAS moorings will be phased out of the western Pacific along 137E, 147E and 156E by the end of 1999, to be replaced with JAMSTEC TRITON moorings. As a prelude to this transition, data from several multi-month side-by-side deployments of TRITON and ATLAS buoys during 1998 and 1999 were compared for various locations in the western Pacific to ensure interchangeability of the mooring measurements. Real-time and delayed mode TAO/TRITON data will be made available via the GTS and dir the World Wide Web as a seamless data stream. TRITON/ATLAS/IMET intercomparison:
  • Recognizing that TRITON, ATLAS and IMET meteorological data will be used extensively for climate studies in the future, a specially designed land-based intercomparison study will be conducted at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in the summer of 2000. The purpose is to establish the comparabilty of meteorological measurements made by the various systems when placed in very close proximity to one another. The incomparison will last two months.
  • IRD/ORSTOM SSS data base: In accord with a recommendation made at TIP-7, a sea surface salinity (SSS) data archive has been established at the IRD/ORSTOM laboratory in Noumea. SSS data from thermosalinographs on research vessels and VOS in the tropical Pacific are now available from this facility for the period 1991-1998.
  • Survival of ATLAS moorings in hurricanes/typhoons: The issue of whether an ATLAS mooring could survive hurricane force winds was addressed by showing the track of super typhoon Paka which passed directly over an ATLAS mooring at 8N, 165E on 12 December 1997. At the time of encounter, surface winds were 110 knots (56 m/s) according the analyses from the Guam Typhoon Warning Center. The buoy survived the passage of the storm, and continued to provide good data except for the loss of its anemometer (rated only to 50 m/s) and a raingauge.
  • The PRC: Written input from Dr. Jianping Xu of the People's Republic of China indicated that the State Oceanic Administration is interested in becoming actively involved in supporting the TAO array. Discussions are underway on how best to coordinate potential PRC contributions.
  • PIRATA: The status of PIRATA, which is jointly sponsored by France, Brazil and the U.S., was reviewed. The array is scheduled for completion with the deployment of ATLAS moorings at two sites along 10W in early November 1999 from the RV Antea. The full array will consist of 12 moorings spanning 0-35W, 10S-15N, and will be in place until the end of 2000. Planning for a 5-year continuation of PIRATA beyond its initial pilot phase is also underway.
  • Indian Ocean: JAMSTEC plans for two TRITON buoy deployments in November 2000 in the Indian Ocean (5S, 95E; 0, 90E) were described. Ongoing and planned Indian buoy programs were also described by written input.
  • TAO involvement in related climate oriented field programs: A summary was presented on TAO participation during the past year in the Department of Energy (DOE)/Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) program, including the NAURU99 process study; the NASA/TRMM program, including the KWAJEX TRMM validation study; and expansions/enhancements of TAO along 95W as part of the Pan American Studies (PACS)/Eastern Pacific Investigation of Climate (EPIC) program.

Recommendations at TIP-8 included:

  • Higher resolution (hourly) SST data in real-time from ATLAS moorings, if technically feasible.
  • More moored salinity measurements in the upper 100 m, especially near the equator between 156E and 170W.
  • The creation of a common shipboard ADCP archive of NOAA and JAMSTEC data routinely collected while servicing moorings of the TAO/TRITON array. This archive would be established at the existing US National Oceanographic Data Center/University of Hawaii shipboard ADCP data center under direction of Pat Caldwell. Data from this archive would be freely available.
  • Production of a short (15 minute) video on the effects of fishing vandalism, targeted at the fisheries community.
  • The chairman of the CLIVAR Upper Ocean Panel recommended that the TAO Panel expand its terms of reference to assume responsibilty for coordinating implementation efforts of all moored buoy programs targeted at climate studies in the global tropics. The panel endorsed this recommendation and will draft a revised version of its terms of reference for review by the CLIVAR UOP and by its other parent body, the Ocean Observations Panel for Climate (OOPC).

The next TAO panel meeting (TIP-9) is scheduled for Perth, Australia on 16-17 November 2000 in conjuction with an Australian GOOS meeting.

The TAO Panel is jointly sponsored by the GOOS, GCOS, and CLIVAR.

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