The Air-Sea Interaction
at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution are overseeing the construction
of the Air-Sea Interaction Tower (ASIT) off the south shore of Martha’s
Vineyard as part of the Coupled
Boundary Layers and Air-Sea Transfer (CBLAST) program. Funding
for the ASIT in the CBLAST program is provided by the Office of Naval
Research (ONR). The CBLAST main experiment will take place in the summer
of 2003 using the ASIT, buoys, moorings, aircraft, and research vessels.
The main objectives of this program are to improve our understanding
of ocean-atmosphere interactions in low to moderate winds and to improve
marine weather forecasts and ocean circulation models. Towards
these objectives, the ASIT will be instrumented from top to bottom with
sensors capable of directly measuring momentum, heat, and mass exchange
between the atmosphere and ocean.
The ASIT is located 2 miles due south of Edgartown Great Pond in 50 feet of water. ASIT extends approximately 76 feet into the marine atmosphere and is roughly the same height as the Buzzard’s Bay Tower located west of Cuttyhunk. It has been specifically designed to make measurements in the ocean and atmosphere to investigate ocean processes that include air-sea interactions, ocean mixing, gas exchange, bio-optics, and sediment transport. It is substantially less bulky than the Buzzards Bay Tower to minimize flow distortion by the structure and improve the quality of these measurements.
For life beyond this experiment, the ASIT is designed to survive the extreme conditions encountered offshore for at least 10 years. However, it is currently permitted to operate for the next 5 years and its continued operations will be evaluated at that time.
The ASIT was designed by Appledore Engineering Inc. and is being constructed by RDA Construction Corp. of South Boston, MA. It is directly connected to the Martha’s Vineyard Coastal Observatory (MVCO) for data transmission. Data from the ASIT will be integrated with the MVCO data and is available to all users via the MVCO web site. The data will include wind speed and direction, air and sea temperature, wave height and direction, and currents at the offshore site. The ASIT is a one-of-a kind platform for studying coastal processes in the Atlantic Ocean. We expect it to be used by researchers, educators, and students from around the world during its lifetime.