Fratantoni David M.

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Fratantoni
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David M.
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  • Article
    AXIS—an Autonomous Expendable Instrument System
    (American Meteorological Society, 2017-12-28) Fratantoni, David M. ; O’Brien, Jeff ; Flagg, Charles Noel ; Rossby, H. Thomas
    Expendable bathythermographs (XBT) to profile upper-ocean temperatures from vessels in motion have been in use for some 50 years now. Developed originally for navy use, they were soon adapted by oceanographers to map out upper-ocean thermal structure and its space–-time variability from both research vessels and merchant marine vessels in regular traffic. These activities continue today. This paper describes a new technology—the Autonomous Expendable Instrument System (AXIS)—that has been developed to provide the capability to deploy XBT probes on a predefined schedule, or adaptively in response to specific events without the presence of an observer on board. AXIS is a completely self-contained system that can hold up to 12 expendable probes [XBTs, XCTDs, expendable sound velocimeter (XSV)] in any combination. A single-board Linux computer keeps track of what probes are available, takes commands from ashore via Iridium satellite on what deployment schedule to follow, and records and forwards the probe data immediately with a time stamp and the GPS position. This paper provides a brief overview of its operation, capabilities, and some examples of how it is improving coverage along two lines in the Atlantic.
  • Article
    AUV observations of the diurnal surface layer in the North Atlantic salinity maximum
    (American Meteorological Society, 2014-06) Hodges, Benjamin A. ; Fratantoni, David M.
    Autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) surveys of temperature, salinity, and velocity in the upper 10 m of the ocean were carried out in low-wind conditions near the North Atlantic surface salinity maximum as part of the Salinity Processes in the Upper Ocean Regional Study (SPURS) project. Starting from a well-mixed state, the development, deepening, and decay of a warm salty diurnal surface layer was observed at <1-h resolution. The evaporation rate deduced from the freshwater anomaly of the layer corroborates measurements at a nearby flux mooring. Profiles within a few hundred meters of the stationary research vessel showed evidence of mixing, highlighting the effectiveness of AUVs for collecting uncontaminated time series of near-surface thermohaline structure. A two-dimensional horizontal subsurface survey within the diurnal warm layer revealed coherent warm and cool bands, which are interpreted as internal waves on the diurnal thermocline.