Pioneer Array.

Location of the Pioneer Array.

Plan view map of thePioneer Array.

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Plan view map of the multi-scale Pioneer Array in the context of other regional observing elements. A moored array will be centered at the shelf break in the Middle-Atlantic Bight south of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. AUVs will sample the frontal region in the vicinity of the moored array, and gliders will resolve mesoscale features on the outer shelf and the slope sea between the shelf break front and the Gulf Stream.

Schematic diagram of the Pioneer Array.

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Schematic diagram of the Pioneer Array platforms to deployed in the Mid-Atlantic Bight. A combination of surface moorings, moored  profilers, AUVs and gliders make up the multi-scale array. (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

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Pioneer Array Animation

  • Pioneer Array
    This artist's conception represents the coastal "pioneer array." The first installation of this moveable array will occur along the "continental shelf-break" off the coast of southern New England, the boundary where coastal waters meet the open ocean. It is a dynamic intersection where ocean currents meet in weather-like "fronts," and where the nutrients, pollutants, minerals, creatures, and waters of the coast are exchanged with the deep ocean.
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The Pioneer Array

Location, Central Mooring: 40° 03’N, 70°45’W
Water Depth: 150 meters at center of moored array
AUV sampling area (approximate): 80 x 80 km box centered on moored array
Glider sampling area (approximate): 150 x 150 km box over outer shelf and slope sea

Platform Types:
EOM surface moorings, surface-piercing winched profilers, subsurface wire-following profiler moorings, AUVs and gliders

Description of Infrastructure:
  • Three electrical-optical-mechanical (EOM) surface moorings 
  • Three multi-function nodes at the base of each EOM mooring; two supporting AUV docks
  • Five coastal wire-following profilers
  • Two coastal surface-piercing profilers
  • Two AUV docking stations
  • Three AUVs
  • Six gliders
The backbone of the Pioneer Array will be a frontal-scale moored array with three electro-opitical-mechanical (EOM) surface moorings and seven profiler moorings. Each EOM mooring will incorporate a surface buoy with multiple sources of power generation and multiple surface and subsurface communications systems. Each EOM mooring will be terminated by a multi-function node (MFN) at its base. Two MFNs will incorporate docking stations for AUVs, while the third will be designed to support integration of science user instrumentation. All three MFNs will be capable of supporting multiple onboard (e.g., frame-mounted) sensors as well as external sensor packages connected by ROV wet-mateable connectors. Five profiler moorings will support wire-crawler type profiling packages with a multidisciplinary sensor suite, and will have surface expressions for data telemetry. Two winched profilers will use a buoyant sensor body capable of profiling from a few meters above the bottom through the air-sea interface. In order to provide synoptic, mult-scale observations of the outer shelf, shelf break frontal region, and slope sea, the moored array will be supplemented by nine mobile platforms – six gliders and three AUVs. The role of the gliders will be to monitor the mesoscale field of the slope sea and outer shelf, resolving rings, eddies and meanders from the Gulf Stream as they impinge on the shelf break front. The AUVs will be the primary tools for resolving cross- and along-front “eddy fluxes” due to frontal instabilities, wind forcing, and mesoscale variability.