What's New Archive
In April, PMEL and JISAO scientists and engineers teamed up with Saildrone, Inc. to test two Saildrones in the harsh environment of the Bering Sea for the first time. The unmanned instruments sailed from Dutch Harbor, AK on April 22. They have traveled over 2,000 miles each since then, taking over 40 million measurements as they sail north following the ice retreat. With the Arctic environment changing rapidly, the success of these vehicles couldn’t come at a better time. The measurements taken across the eastern Bering Sea have the potential to provide a comprehensive picture of the changes that occur in the late spring environment when the ice is retreating.
PMEL’s Earth-Ocean Interactions program led by Oregon State University Cooperative Institute for Marine Resources Studies scientist, Dr. Bill Chadwick, has just launched a new blog aimed at analyzing and forecasting when the next eruption at Axial Seamount might occur. Axial Seamount is the most active submarine volcano in the NE Pacific. Located on the Juan de Fuca Ridge off the coast of Oregon, it was chosen as the site of the world's first underwater volcano observatory called NeMO and is now a node on the new Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) cabled observatory. Axial erupted most recently in 1998 and 2011.
Scientists from PMEL, Oregon State University, and University of North Carolina at Wilmington will be monitoring Axial closely. Watch the blog for forecast updates.
Led by Dr. Jeremy Mathis, PMEL teamed up with the University of Alaska and the Alaska Ocean Observing System this summer and early fall to use new unmanned tools to study how melting glaciers in Alaska’s Prince William Sound may be intensifying ocean acidification in the sound and on the Gulf of Alaska continental shelf. PMEL engineers outfitted two Carbon Wave Gliders and one underwater Slocum glider with sensors to help better understand the unique processes of glacial melt water and how they change the chemistry of the water column in Prince William Sound.
To read more about this project please visit the NOAA Research News website.
Scientists and engineers from PMEL's Vents Program successfully flew an ocean glider for exploring for underwater volcanic plumes and eruptions in the South Pacific on May 8. Over the two day mission, the glider travelled about 50km and was "flown" by engineers located 5000 miles away in Washington and Oregon.
You can read more about this glider mission, including an update on the active underwater volcano, West Mata, on the Lau Eruptions blog.
PMEL scientists, Dr. Tim Bates and Dr. Patricia Quinn, will lead the US component of the Coordinated Investigation of Climate-Cryosphere Interactions (CICCI) project based out of Svalbard, Norway during the month of April. PMEL will fly two Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) equipped with sensors to measure aerosol properties to help understand the processes controlling the distribution of black carbon in the Arctic atmosphere.
Scientists and engineers at PMEL recently returned from an expedition in the Arctic where they launched two small, new, remotely-operated, unmanned aircraft to measure black soot. The soot is produced by burning diesel fuel, agricultural fires, forest fires, and wood-burning stoves, and is transported by winds to the Arctic, where it darkens the surface of snow and ice, enhancing melting and solar warming.
Last month PMEL's carbon and engineering groups deployed two autonomous wave powered research vessels to study ocean acidification along the Washington and Oregon coasts. These seven foot long vessels automatically measure surface water and atmospheric carbon dioxide, pH, temperature and salinity along a path determined by PMEL scientists who guide the vessels from the laboratory via satellite. This maiden voyage for these vessels is coordinated with traditional sampling approaches to ensure that these new technologies make the same high-quality measurements that are PMEL’s hallmark.
PMEL engineers have successfully deployed two moorings in the Atlantic Ocean as part of NASA’s multi-year Salinity Processes in the Upper Ocean Regional Study (SPURS). The moorings are the first to a PMEL invented device, called a prawler that crawls up and down the mooring line measuring temperature and salinity along the way. The prawler, about the size of a paint can, will measure the upper 1,600 feet of the ocean and uses wave energy to crawl back to the top to begin another profile.
PMEL engineers and JISAO and CIMRS scientists delivered several instruments to the University of Washington during the month of May that will be plugged in to the Regional Scale Nodes cabled observatory at Axial Seamount later this summer. Building on the success of PMEL’s NeMO seafloor observatory PMEL, 5 bottom pressure recording and tilt recorders and 3 time series vent fluid samplers for chemistry and microbiology built at PMEL will be part of the Ocean Observatory Initiative (OOI) cabled observatory program funded by the National Science Foundation.
The instruments will be plugged into the cabled observatory this summer using the ship R/V Thomson and the ROPOS Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV).
PMEL engineers deployed a Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunamis (DART®) 4th generation monitoring system off the coast of Oregon last week. This system is an enhanced version of the DART®-ETD (Easy to Deploy) technology developed at NOAA-PMEL that incorporates advancements in sensors, software and power management to detect and measure near-field tsunami with unprecedented resolution. An improved pressure sensor will be able to detect and measure a tsunami closer to the earthquake source providing valuable information to warning centers even faster.
Please visit the DART® website for more information on this technology.