April 1, 2006
Despite a ship strike that caused significant damage and harsh winter conditions, a surface buoy and mooring have survived a record six months in the Gulf Stream, recording both atmospheric and ocean conditions. The mooring was deployed in October 2005 and was serviced during a recent cruise by WHOI scientists and technicians aboard research vessel Oceanus, who repaired some of the meteorological sensors. None of the subsurface components or the surface buoy itself was changed, and the mooring, designed for a one-year lifetime, is still on station. Recovery and redeployment for a second year-long mission is scheduled for November 2006. Currents can run up to four knots in the Gulf Stream, and until now no surface mooring deployed in deep water has survived wind, waves and currents more than two weeks. It is a major step in efforts to observe ocean conditions 24/7 in all seasons.