TAO Home About the TAO project Data display pages Data access El Niño and La Niña information Site map
TAO TAO/NOPP overview

TAO/NOPP Mooring Overview

Monitoring the North Pacific for Improved Ocean, Weather, and Climate Forecasts

M. J. McPhaden, NOAA/Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory


As part of the Nation Ocean Partnership Program (NOPP), PMEL has been funded during 1997-99 to develop and deploy moorings in the North Pacific in collaboration with the University of Washington/Applied Physics Lab, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, NOAA/NESDIS, and the Naval Research Lab. The first of these moorings was deployed at Ocean Station PAPA (50N, 145W) from the NOAA Ship Ron Brown on 28 September 1998.

This mooring will be in place for one year, then recovered and redeployed in late 1999. A second mooring site, nominally at 35N, 165W, will be occupied in late 1999 with a similarly designed mooring. We have dubbed this second site MOMMA (Mid-Ocean Moored Measurement Array). The two moorings will sample contrasting climatic regimes of the subarctic gyre (PAPA) and subtropical gyre (MOMMA). The PAPA mooring will extend the measurements at this site which began in 1956, first as weather ship measurements (until 1981), then as cruises 3-4 times a year along Line P conducted by the Institute of Ocean Sciences (IOS) in Sydney, BC.


The overall objectives of our multi-institutional NOPP study are: The rationale for this project can be summarized as follows:


PMEL effort during the past year has been involved in mooring design, equipment acquisition, fabrication, testing, software development, organization of and participation in the deployment cruise, and interaction with the partners. A robust surface buoy and mooring have been designed for the high latitude deployments with an emphasis on stability and reliability to withstand the forces of typical winter storms. Instrumentation to measure surface meteorology, subsurface temperature, salinity and velocity has been integrated into a high capacity controller mounted in an instrument well on the buoy. Real-time data telemetry will utilize the GOES Data Collection System (DCS) with data retrieval via a 5-m antenna and a Direct Readout Ground Station (DRGS) that was recently acquired at PMEL. A nearby ATOC mooring communicates with the PAPA surface buoy via an acoustic modem, and a compressed file of acoustic travel time information will be transmitted via GOES. In addition, PMEL deployed an upward looking 153.6 kHz acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) at Station P.


Discussions with IOS/BC have been underway about coordinating field work and data analyses from the vicinity of PAPA in view of 3-4 cruise per year along Line P by the Canadian R/V Tully. We also are planning collaboration with the multi-discplinary team of O-SCOPE investigators representing UC Santa Barbara, PMEL, AOML, and Monterey Bay Acquarium Research Institute. This activity will involve engineering development for nutrient, chemical, and bio-optical measurements on PAPA and possibly MOMMA, as well as joint analyses of mooring data.

Funding for this NOPP study will expire near the end of FY 99. Continuation of the PMEL mooring work is planned, though sponsorship and partners for this continuation are not yet identified.


Principal Investigator:
Dr. Michael J. McPhaden

NOAA/Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory
7600 Sand Point Way NE
Seattle, WA 98115

(206) 526-6783

(206) 526-6744

Home | Project overview | Data display | Data delivery | El Niño & La Niña | Site map

TAO Project Office
| Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory
7600 Sand Point Way NE
Seattle, WA 98115
Credits | Disclaimer | Privacy Policy