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The remotely controlled Sea Surface Scanner ([S.sup.3]) is a state-of-the-art research catamaran used to investigate processes at the sea surface microlayer (SML) such as air-sea gas exchange, heat exchange, surface plankton blooms, and photochemistry applying high-resolution measurements. As the boundary layer between the ocean and the atmosphere (typically 40-100 [micro]m in thickness), the SML covers 70% of Earth's surface, yet it has been widely ignored in past and current research on ocean and atmosphere interactions, despite its central role in a range of global biogeochemical and climate-related processes.

The Sea Surface Scanner uses a glass disk to automate the sampling of the thin SML, overcoming the disadvantages of techniques such as low volume sampling and laboratory-based measurements. In the past, limited technology--in remote control systems, battery lifetime, and electronics with sufficient memory capacities--has restricted the feasibility for high-resolution in situ measurements at the sea surface.

To characterize the SML in reference to the mixed bulk water at one meter depth, a suite of in situ sensors for seven biogeochemical parameters (temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, salinity, fluorescence dissolved organic matter, chlorophyll a, and photosynthetic efficiency) were implemented. The [S.sup.3] has the capability to collect 24 discrete water samples with a volume of 1 liter each for further laboratory analysis of surfactants, chlorophyll, etc. Meteorological parameters such as wind speed influence SML properties and were continuously monitored using [S.sup.3].

With a team of three, preparation of [S.sup.3] for deployment typically takes two hours, and includes the calibration and configuration of sensors (if required), connection of supplies, preparing sample bottles, and going through a final checklist. With an experienced team, deployment and recovery takes about 20 minutes. A small boat is required for deployment and recovery. A pilot operates [S.sup.3] for several hours from the main deck up to a distance of 1,500 meters from the research vessel. A second person logs the operation and sampling of discrete water samples, and stays in contact with the bridge via radio communication. Other activities from the boat can happen at the same time.

The [S.sup.3] was operated during cruises on the Research Vessel (R/V) Meteor in the Baltic Sea (August 2015) and the R/V Senckenberg in the North Sea (June 2016). It has proven itself capable of identifying and studying (i) different water masses, (ii) rain events, and (iii) the occurrence of surface plankton blooms. High spatial and temporal heterogeneity of the SML was detected during observations of this sea surface phenomena, and [S.sup.3] data for the first time allowed for the high-resolution mapping of the biogeochemical parameters of the boundary layer between ocean and atmosphere.

As new technology fulfilling a need to map and understand sea surface processes and, ultimately, to fill the gaps in knowledge about ocean-atmosphere interactions relevant to ocean and climate science, [S.sup.3] remains in development, including implementation of an autopilot system and additional sensors. These will enable [S.sup.3] to fulfill the additional requirements of future studies, such as learning about SML as a unique ecosystem.--Mariana RIBAS-RIBAS (UNIVERSITY OF OLDENBURG), N. I. H. MUSTAFFA, J. RAHLFF, C. STOLLE, AND O. WURL, "Sea Surface Scanner ([S.sup.3]): A catamaran for high-resolution measurements of biogeochemical properties of the sea surface microlayer," in the July 2017 issue of the Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology.

Caption: Research catamaran [S.sup.3] at sea.
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Title Annotation:NOWCAST
Publication:Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2018

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