TPOS Mission 2: October 3, 2018 - February 2019
The second TPOS mission was designed focus on the ability of the Saildrone to make observations along the equator, and involved comparisons against various TAO moorings. The exact course of this mission was dependent upon conditions and events observed at the time, with the route to be directed by scientists while the vehicles are underway, highlighting the adaptability of the Saildrone.
This mission is part of a series of Saildrone missions to the tropical Pacific, each focused on specific targeted phenomena for different phases of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Mission 1 (September 2017 – May 2018) occurred during the “Recharge” phase of ENSO, where the cold tongue was developed. This Mission 2 may occur during a “Discharge” phase, with a warm anomaly in the Central and Eastern Pacific regions of the Nino3.4 Index. Future Mission 3 (early 2019) will likely capture the end of the “Discharge” phase, when the warm water is spread to its easternmost extent.
This mission was also intended to test the operability and usefulness of the Saildrone platform as part of the larger Tropical Pacific Observing System (TPOS). The Saildrones deployed on mission 2 had difficulty navigating unfavorable equatorial conditions and were recalled to Hawaii on December 13, 2018. Mission days were later added to mission 3 after hardware and software updates improved low latitude navigation.
For more details about the mission, be sure to check out the OCS Saildrone TPOS Mission 2 Blog.