Research in the Physical Oceanography Department centers on the description and understanding
of the evolving state of the ocean and its interaction with the atmosphere and Earth. While we have traditionally identified ourselves with making observations at sea, our scientists also make important contributions to numerical modeling, theory, laboratory experimentation, and instrument development.
The last year, once again, has been a busy one at sea. Bob
Pickart completed the field phases of two programs, his study
of deep convection in the Irminger Sea off the east coast
of Greenland and his investigation of the stability of the
inflowing Pacific water current along the south coast of the
Beaufort Sea. Nearby, Andrey Proshutinsky expanded his array
of moored profilers and current meters in the Beaufort Gyre.
Across the Pacific, off Japan, Nelson Hogg and Steve Jayne
began their study of the Kuroshio Extension Current by installing
an array of moored profilers stretching 500 kilometers (300
miles) across the current. Also in 2004, John Toole and colleagues
here and in the U.K. began a multi-year Station W program
to investigate interannual variations of the poleward flowing
Gulf Stream and equatorward flow beneath. A related effort
undertaken by Terry Joyce was a hydrographic section from
Cape Cod to Bermuda. In addition, Fiamma Straneo installed
a mooring in the Hudson Strait to measure freshwater efflux.
Surface moorings that measure air-sea fluxes were replaced
in the Atlantic (Al Plueddemann) and the Pacific (Bob Weller),
and a third air-sea flux site was established off Hawaii.
The intent of this program is to provide accurate fluxes in
order to ground truth those obtained indirectly, particularly
This year we also put some new technology to its first scientific
use. The maiden “flight” of an undersea autonomous glider,
Spray, was carried out in November from south of Cape Cod
to Bermuda under the direction of Breck Owens and colleagues
at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. During its seasaw
flight, it collected temperature and salinity data from the
surface to a depth of 1,000 meters (3,300 feet), thus duplicating
what could be done from a ship but more quickly and at lower
cost. A new mooring system, called Ultramoor, was installed
at Bob Pickart’s Irminger Sea site. It has been developed
by Dan Frye, Nelson Hogg, and others and has the goals of
lasting five years and sending data back to shore through
the periodic release of data-containing capsules, which send
their recorded data back to the lab via satellite. The first
capsule was released and the data recovered on schedule Thanksgiving
Continuing our expanding interest in the Arctic, Peter Winsor joined the staff as assistant scientist early in the year. Peter’s interests focus on Arctic oceanography and he has talents in seagoing observation, data interpretation, and numerical modeling.
Before his appointment to the scientific staff Peter had been a postdoctoral scholar working with Dave Chapman. It is with great sorrow that I report that Dave lost his fight with cancer during the summer. Funds are being solicited for a memorial and to endow a lecture series on coastal oceanography. In a tragic motorcycle accident, the department
also lost a talented young seagoing technician, Ryan Schrawder. A fund has also been established in his name to make an annual award to a similarly skilled employee at the institution’s annual employee recognition ceremony.
Nelson Hogg (email@example.com)