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Project details

Title: Southern Ocean Carbon Cycling Observations and Modeling (SOCCOM) Project
Id: 2525
Short Name: SOCCOM
Investigator(s): Lynne Talley
Scripps Institution of Oceanography (USA) [details]

Description: The scientific objectives are to determine the interactions between changing Southern Ocean circulation and stratification and the physical and biological uptake of carbon dioxide and associated ecosystem impacts. The approach is to deploy autonomous profiling floats with new generation sensors in bio-optical sensors for microbial biomass, oxygen sensors to determine ocean ventilation, pH sensors to examine ocean acidification, and nitrate sensors to track biological productivity. (see
Years: 2016

List of surveys that this project was on. Click on column header to sort.

Use [details] link to view survey details (map, reports, metadata etc) including links to download data.

Survey InvestigatorDescription

Mike Coffin (UTAS) RV Investigator research voyage in2020_v01 is titled “Development of William’s Ridge, Kerguelen Plateau: tectonics, hotspot magmatism, microcontinents, and Australia’s Extended Continental Shelf.” The Indian Ocean contains numerous enigmatic topographic features, and some of the least understood are submarine ridges. This expedition will focus on William’s Ridge, part of Earth’s second largest submarine plateau, the Kerguelen Plateau, and on the once adjoining Broken Ridge. The voyage will acquire and analyse rock samples and geophysical data from these ridges to understand how they formed and evolved. The research will aim to resolve questions about the plate tectonics of the Indian Ocean, determine if William’s Ridge is a continental sliver, help understand massive volcanism triggered by mantle hotspots, and potentially contribute to expanding Australia’s sovereign undersea territory. The two principle scientific objectives of the voyage are: 1. To gain important new knowledge of the rifting, breakup, and initial separation of tectonic plates. The project constitutes the first-ever case study of conjugate oceanic plateau end-members – the formerly contiguous and subaerial, but now separated and submarine Kerguelen Plateau and Broken Ridge in the southern Indian Ocean – to investigate these phenomena. 2. To acquire, analyse, and interpret data and samples necessary for Australia to make a new or revised submission to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS). The purpose is to extend our marine jurisdiction to include William’s Ridge, an extension of the Central Kerguelen Plateau, under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). To address the scientific objectives of the project, the voyage objectives encompass acquiring and initially processing multibeam bathymetry/backscatter, water-column echo-sounding, sub-bottom profile, seismic reflection, deep-towed camera, gravity, and magnetic data acquisition; and acquiring rock samples by dredging. The acoustic data will be used to determine the locations of the seismic reflection profiles, and the acoustic and seismic data will be used to determine locations of dredging sites. The following activities will be undertaken: 1a. Multibeam bathymetry/backscatter: we will acquire multibeam data along William’s Ridge, the conjugate portion of Broken Ridge not covered by the MH370 search data, and associated seafloor topographic features. 1b. Sub-bottom profiling: we will acquire SBP120 data continuously multibeam data acquisition. 1c. Seismic reflection: we will utilise the MNF’s new seismic system, currently consisting of a 40-channel, 500-m-long, 12.5-m group spacing streamer and two GI airguns. 1d. Dredging: recovery of continental, hotspot-related, and/or oceanic rocks forming the basement of William’s Ridge and associated topographic features in the Labuan Basin, in multiple locations, is the goal, complemented by sampling the conjugate basement of Broken Ridge. 2a. Single-beam and multi-beam water column echo-sounding: we will collect EK60 and ME70 data throughout the entire voyage. 2b. Deep tow camera: on the basis of dredges and water column echo-sounding data, we will acquire still and video photography at locations characterized by mixed hotspot-related/oceanic/continental rocks and acoustic plumes emanating from the seafloor. 3a. Gravity: gravity data will be acquired by the shipboard gravity meter during the entire voyage. No modern shipboard gravity data have been acquired over William’s Ridge. 3b. Magnetics: we will acquire total magnetic field data using the towed proton precession magnetometer on the transits and throughout multibeam/sub-bottom profiling data acquisition. For more information about the voyage objectives and projects please refer to the voyage plan.

Leah Moore (U. of Canberra) RV Investigator research voyage in2019_t01, titled “Collaborative Australian Postgraduate Sea Training Alliance Network (CAPSTAN).” The training objectives of CAPSTAN Voyage 2 are to: - Enable national access to the RV Investigator to postgraduate students enrolled in Australian tertiary institutions. - Provide hands-on training experiences with standard modern sampling equipment used in marine research, encompassing geological, biological, chemical, physical oceanographic and atmospheric equipment. - Establish national network of new generation marine scientists. - Develop post-graduate training programs for refinement over the pilot three-year trial period. - Involve a diverse number of national trainers and students in the program. - Provide trainers with the opportunity to gain experience as Chief Scientist/Co Chief Scientist. We aim to deliver a program that encompasses the following: 1. Plan and participate in a multidisciplinary marine science research survey focusing on the core disciplines of e.g. oceanography, plankton ecology, geosciences, atmospheric and fisheries sciences. 2. Evaluate the physical, chemical and biological factors that influence the abundance and distribution of marine organisms using an IMOS national Reference Station (NRS) as an example. 3. Describe the application of various scientific sampling equipment and instrumentation on-board the RV Investigator. 4. Acquire, process and analyse quantitative and qualitative samples. 5. Perform data analysis, quality control, interpretation and integration. 6. Prepare a final cruise report. 7. Prepare and present an element of the final cruise report to peers and crew. 8. Master the skills required to operate and conduct oneself safely in the marine environment including specific MNF sea–survival skills and laboratory safety. 9. Attain AMSA sea safety and survival skills certification for trainers, and eventually student participants.

Steve Rintoul (CSIRO O&A) Detecting Southern Ocean change from repeat hydrography, deep Argo and trace element biogeochemistry (Chief Scientist: Dr Steve Rintoul, CSIRO) The Southern Ocean has a profound influence on regional and global climate, sea level rise, and biological productivity. The project aims to discover how and why the Southern Ocean is changing, and to identify the consequences of those changes for climate, sea level and marine life. The research will help deliver more reliable projections of future climate, from models that more faithfully represent critical Southern Ocean processes; such information is urgently needed to allow Australia to foresee and manage the risks and opportunities associated with climate change. CAPRICORN: clouds, aerosols, precipitation, radiation and atmospheric composition over the Southern Ocean (Lead Principal Investigator: Dr Alain Protat, BOM) Clouds over the Southern Ocean are one of the largest uncertainties in the prediction of the future climate of the Southern Hemisphere. This study will bridge an observational gap in this data-sparse, unique region of the World assisting in understanding why climate models poorly simulate the energy balance over the Southern Ocean and improving skill of weather forecast models to simulate frontal cloud systems. This will be achieved by analysing cloud, aerosol, and precipitation observations of frontal cloud systems and associated processes using dedicated radar, lidar, and radiosounding observations from the RV Investigator and satellite platforms.

Tom Trull (CSIRO, ACE-CRC) RV Investigator research voyage in2016_v02. Titled SOTS: Southern Ocean Time Series automated moorings for climate and carbon cycle studies southwest of Tasmania. This voyage combines work from three projects. SOTS, CAPRICORN and Eddy Voyage objectives: SOTS The primary objective is to first deploy a reduced set (SAZ and FluxPulse) and then recover a full set of SOTS moorings (SOFS, Pulse, and SAZ). Additional work will obtain ancillary information on the atmospheric and oceanographic conditions using CTD casts, underway measurements, the Triaxus towed body, and autonomous profiling "Bio-Argo" floats. Each of the SOTS moorings delivers to specific aspects of the atmosphere-ocean exchanges, with some redundancy: * the SAZ sediment trap mooring focuses on quantifying the transfer of carbon and other nutrients to the ocean interior by sinking particles, and collecting samples to investigate their ecological controls * the Southern Ocean Flux Station (SOFS) focuses on air properties, ocean stratification, waves, and currents. * the Pulse biogeochemistry mooring focuses on processes important to biological CO2 consumption, including net community production from oxygen measurements and nitrate depletion, biomass concentrations from bio-optics and bio-acoustics, and collection of water samples for nutrient and plankton quantification. * the FluxPulse mooring combines some elements of Pulse onto the SOFS platform to create a combined mooring, which will be deployed for the first time in 2016. This combination meets financial constraints while still measuring almost all planned parameters CAPRICORN * The primary objective is to collect cloud, aerosol, precipitation, radiation and atmospheric composition measurements over the Southern Ocean over 30 days, and to capture the latitudinal variability of these properties from the latitude of Hobart down to 55-60S if time allows. The Investigator will be equipped with a state-of the art suite of instruments for that purpose (see list in voyage plan). * In order to address the "satellite validation" objectives, we need to locate the research vessel under the track of the CloudSat-CALIPSO instrument and within the larger swath of the NASA GPM and A-Train radars and radiometers. This will be achieved in coordination with the requirement to sample a mesoscale oceanic eddy using a dedicated pattern that will include satellite track following and mesoscale eddy sampling using radial transects, after the SOTS moorings are deployed and recovered. * In order to address the "ACCESS model validation" objectives, we need to sample the sub-grid scale variability of the atmospheric properties, therefore we will undertake some periods of intensive sampling of 12*12 km2 grids with small-scale lawnmower patterns, ensuring that the aerosol measurements are not perturbed by the ship exhaust. The timing and location of these grids will be determined during the voyage. Eddy * Deploy a suite of floats, two different models per eddy, to obtain profiles of temperature, salinity, velocity, oxygen, nitrate, pH and bio-optics near the eddy centre while we perform spatial surveys. * Measure the velocities and mixing in the two eddies. * Quantify the elemental fluxes associated with the eddy circulation, including nutrient transport and air-sea CO2 flux. * Measure the biological response to the circulation and nutrient transport, including primary productivity, trace metal biogeochemistry, new production and the respiration of downward carbon flux (using free-drifting sediment traps). Our combined ship-satellite-float observations will provide the most comprehensive view thus far of Southern Ocean eddies. Our work also contributes to emerging international programs in the Southern Ocean that are combining expanded autonomous observations with large scale modelling efforts. Full details are in the in2016_v02 voyage plan.

M. Coffin (IMAS, UTAS) HEOBI Heard Earth-Ocean-Biosphere Interactions RV Investigator voyage IN2016_v01. Voyage objectives: [1] Seafloor and subseafloor mapping/geophysical characterisation. Continuous mapping will be carried out using the multibeam systems, multi-frequency split-beam echosounders, sub-bottom profiler, gravimeter, and (on long transits between ports and the study area) magnetometer to characterise bathymetric features and identify those most likely to include volcanic or hydrothermal activity. XBT or CTD data will be acquired at standard intervals for sound velocity corrections to the multibeam data. The data will be initially processed at sea to inform site selection for volcanic and hydrothermal sampling. [2] Nature of submarine volcanoes and hydrothermal systems. We will characterise the spatial distribution, morphology, and geology of active submarine volcanoes and hydrothermal systems. [Extract only] [3] Detecting hydrothermal inputs to the ocean, and vertical water movements that deliver them to surface waters. full-depth CTD/LADCP/TMR transects will be performed to capture cross-shore gradients in water. [Extract only] [4] Detecting impacts on surface phytoplankton production. During the underway mapping we will continuously operate sensors to measure biological activity (fluorescence for phytoplankton abundance, fast-repetition-rate fluorescence for phytoplankton photosynthetic competence, transmission for total carbon biomass, and O2/Ar ratio mass spectrometry for net community production). The sensors will be augmented by underway sampling for phytoplankton pigments, particulate organic and inorganic carbon, biogenic silica, heterotrophic bacterial responses, and microscopic phytoplankton identification to characterise community structures, and 15N measurements to identify the extent of nitrate versus ammonium metabolism - a key indicator of ecosystem Fe stimulation capable of additional carbon sequestration. Above and downstream of active hydrothermal systems, we will obtain samples for further analyses ashore. We also intend to carry out deckboard micro-nutrient enrichment incubation experiments to ascertain the biological response of hydrothermal iron to surface phytoplankton communities. Deployment of a bio-optical sensor package after each CTD deployment will provide measurements to link these communities to satellite images. [5] Ocean circulation around Heard Island and across the eastern Indian Ocean sector of the Southern Ocean. The shipboard ADCP and all available underway systems (thermosalinograph, meteorology, and biogeochemical systems) will be run at all times. We will seek contributions of autonomous instruments to deploy on the voyage to provide more detailed sampling of the circulation. We have contacted the Global Surface Drifter Program run by NOAA, and the Australian office of the International Argo Program. The lowered ADCP will be used at every CTD station to measure full water column velocity. New processing methods also allow the detection of internal waves and mixing using a shear-strain parameterisation, even in shallow waters. [Extract only] [6] Microbial response and bacterial processes What is the response of the microbial community to iron and organic carbon availability in different zones of the Southern Ocean, with focus on the possible impact of hydrothermal activity. More specific question: How does iron and carbon limitation affect heterotrophic bacterial respiration and growth efficiency, and its diversity? This text is an extract ONLY from the voyage plan. Please see in2016_v01 plan for full details.

T. Trull (CSIRO O&A); E. Schulz (BOM) MNF RV Investigator Research Voyage IN2015_v01. IMOS Southern Ocean Time Series(SOTS) Automated Moorings for Climate and Carbon Cycle Studies Southwest Of Tasmania. Scientific objectives: The Southern Ocean has a predominant role in the movement of heat and carbon dioxide into the ocean interior moderating Earth's average surface climate. SOTS uses a set of three automated mooring to measure these processes under extreme conditions, where they are most intense and have been least studied. The atmosphere-ocean exchanges occur on many timescales, from daily insolation cycles to ocean basin decadal oscillations and thus high frequency observations sustained over many years are required. The current context of anthropogenic forcing of rapid climate change adds urgency to the work. Voyage objectives: The primary objective is to deploy a full set of SOTS moorings (SOFS, Pulse, and SAZ) and to obtain ancillary information of the oceanographic conditions at the time of deployment using CTD casts, underway measurements, the Triaxus towed body, and deployment of autonomous profiling Bio-Argo floats. Each of the SOTS moorings delivers to specific aspects of the atmosphere-ocean exchanges, with some redundancy: i) the Southern Ocean Flux Station (SOFS) focuses on air properties, ocean stratification, waves, and currents. ii) the Pulse biogeochemistry mooring focuses on processes important to biological CO2 consumption, including net community production from oxygen measurements and nitrate depletion, biomass concentrations from bio-optics and bio-acoustics, and collection of water samples for nutrient and plankton quantification. iii) the SAZ sediment trap mooring focuses on quantifying the transfer of carbon and other nutrients to the ocean interior by sinking particles, and collecting samples to investigate their ecological controls. Additional water sampling and sensor comparisons against shipboard systems provide quality control and spatial context, which is further augmented by Bio-Argo float and Triaxus towed body deployments, and satellite remote sensing. Please read voyage plan for full description.
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