A new multi-facetted and interdisciplinary research project was recently launched at CVOO. The project investigates biogeochemical and ecological processes within mesoscale water masses, so-called eddies, in the vicinity of Cape Verde.
Since the establishment of CVOO, long-term mooring-based observations revealed a couple of unexpected biogeochemical and physical anomalies in the upper ocean. Strong hypoxic to even anoxic water masses just below the mixed layer were detected which could be related to the passage of mesoscale eddies at CVOO.
Further evidence for the existence of these open-ocean phenomena was obtained by occasional observations conducted by autonomous mobile platforms, such as gliders and profiling floats.
The new project “Biogeochemistry and Ecology of Oxygen Depleted Eddies in the Eastern Tropical North Atlantic”, funded by the Kiel Excellence Cluster “Future Ocean”, makes use of 3 different methodological approaches in order to gain further insight into these eddies:
(i) satellite-based “sea surface height” data,
(ii) remote surveys with autonomous underwater glider, and
(iii) a full biogeochemical sampling survey with RV Islândia.
As a first project outcome a near-realtime satellite mapping tool was brought online that helps to identify potential eddy candidates and thus, better plan and conduct the remote and ship surveys (late 2013/early 2014). Online data can be accessed here.