The Ocean Reference Station at 20°S, 85°W under the stratus clouds west of northern
Chile and Peru is being maintained to provide ongoing, climate-quality records of surface
meteorology, of air-sea fluxes of heat, freshwater, and momentum, and of upper ocean
temperature, salinity, and velocity variability. The Stratus Ocean Reference Station,
hereafter ORS Stratus, is supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administrations (NOAA) Climate Observation Program. It is recovered and redeployed
annually, with cruises that have come in October or November.
During the November 2003 cruise of Scripps Institution of Oceanography's R/V Roger
Revelle to the ORS Stratus site, the primary activities where the recovery of the WHOI
surface mooring that had been deployed in October 2002, the deployment of a new WHOI
surface mooring at that site, the in-situ calibration of the buoy meteorological sensors by
comparison with instrumentation put on board by Chris Fairall of the NOAA
Environmental Technology Laboratory (ETL), and observations of the stratus clouds and
lower atmosphere by NOAA ETL and Jason Tomlinson from Texas A&M.
The ORS Stratus buoys are equipped with two Improved Meteorological systems, which
provide surface wind speed and direction, air temperature, relative humidity, barometric
pressure, incoming shortwave radiation, incoming longwave radiation, precipitation rate,
and sea surface temperature. The IMET data are made available in near real time using
satellite telemetry. The mooring line carries instruments to measure ocean salinity,
temperature, and currents. On some deployments, additional instrumentation is attached to
the mooring to measure rainfall and bio-optical variability. The ETL instrumentation used
during the 2003 cruise included a cloud radar, radiosonde balloons, and sensors for mean
and turbulent surface meteorology.
In addition to this work, buoy work was done in support of the Ecuadorian Navy Institute
of Oceanography (INOCAR) and of the Chilean Navy Hydrographic and Oceanographic
Service (SHOA). The surface buoy, oceanographic instrumentation, and upper 500 m of
an INOCAR surface mooring at 2°S, 84°W that had been vandalized were recovered and
transferred to the Ecuadorian Navy vessel B. A. E. Calicuchima. A tsunami warning
mooring was installed at 75°W, 20°S for SHOA. SHOA personnel onboard were trained
during the cruise by staff from the NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory
(PMEL) and National Data Buoy Center (NDBC). The cruise hosted two teachers
participating in NOAA's Teacher at Sea Program, Deb Brice from San Marcos, California
and Viviana Zamorano from Arica, Chile.