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Global Surface Mooring

Out to Sea

A mammoth surface buoy rests on the fantail of the research vessel Neil Armstrong en route to the Irminger Sea off Greenland, where it will remain in the ocean for many months. The buoy floats on the surface, attached to a long mooring line that extends to an anchor on the seafloor. Sensors on the buoy gather meteorological data on the atmosphere above the ocean, while underwater instruments attached to the mooring line and anchor measure currents, temperature, and other seawater properties. The mooring is part of the Ocean Observatories Initiative, a $386 million project, funded by National Science Foundation, that establishes long-term platforms that can monitor ocean conditions 24/7 for decades. (Photo by Rebecca Travis, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

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