In-situ ’Near-Surface’ Salinity Measurement in the Tropical Pacific Using an Autonomous, Low-Cost Drifter Buoy
[12-Feb-2018] Boyle, J.P.
Presented at the 2018 Ocean Sciences Meeting
In-situ 'near-surface' salinity data are presented as measured by an extremely small drifter buoy which was deployed in association with the Salinity Processes Upper-ocean Regional Study in the tropical Pacific (SPURS-2). This autonomous, wave-following buoy platform measures conductivity and temperature (~10 cm depth), sea state characteristics and near-surface water temperature (~2 cm depth).
Some of the data processing algorithms and engineered buoy systems (e.g., energy storage and power budgeting) are also briefly described. In particular, recent improvements to the low-power anti-fouling system are presented. The method used appears to be able to significantly decrease the effects of biofouling on the inductive conductivity probe (as observed during coastal surface water dockside experiments) while consuming approximately 15 mW electrical power.
Due to its low cost and ease of deployment, scores, perhaps hundreds of these novel instruments could be deployed from ships or aircraft during process studies or to provide surface validation for satellite-based measurements, particularly in high precipitation regions or in high wind/cold water environments where it may not be desirable to operate expensive research platforms.