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Blog: mooring deployments in the Ross Sea - 19 February

The sea is so cold and calm today that ‘grease ice’ is forming when the ship stops to deploy gear, this is the milky-looking substance in the water near the edge of the vessel. It is the precursor to ‘plate ice’ when the sea starts to freeze.
Sadie Mills, NIWA

It is -4°C degrees outside and our third day of intensive oceanographic work continues. The cloud has descended around us again so we can’t see the coastline, and it has started to snow.

We asked Aitana Forcén-Vázquez from MetOcean/University of Auckland to explain to us what a mooring is and what it does: basically a mooring is a rope anchored to the ocean floor. Along this rope, there are different instruments that measure different variables depending on what processes we want to capture. For example, we can measure temperature, salinity and currents at different depths. The moorings will stay in the ocean recording data for 11 months until next year when they will be picked up. Two moorings were successfully deployed this morning in our Cape Adare transect and another is planned for tomorrow. The instrumentation on these moorings has been designed to measure the near-bottom flow of deep water and other water properties at different depths through the water column at two points along the slope and on the continental shelf.

Sarah Searson, Yoann Ladroit, Steve George and Malcom Clark, NIWA discuss the mooring deployment operation in the snow.

Aitana Forcén-Vázquez, MetOcean/University of Auckland

Sarah Searson, Yoann Ladroit and Steve George, NIWA get the moorings ready to be deployed.

Aitana Forcén-Vázquez, MetOcean/University of Auckland

Aitana Forcén-Vázquez, MetOcean/University of Auckland supervises the deployment of the moorings.
Moira Decima, NIWA

The flotation buoys for the mooring enter the ocean.
Aitana Forcén-Vázquez, MetOcean/University of Auckland

 

Snow on the mooring weights
Moira Decima, NIWA

The bottom weights that hold the mooring in place on the seafloor are lifted down the trawl deck ready for deployment.
Moira Decima, NIWA

 

Snow piling up on the deck and epibenthic sled.
Moira Decima, NIWA

Snow on the winches
Moira Decima, NIWA

Research subject: Antarctica