The Ocean Reference Station at 20°S, 85°W under the stratus clouds west of northern Chile is
being maintained to provide ongoing climate-quality records of surface meteorology, air-sea
fluxes of heat, freshwater, and momentum, and of upper ocean temperature, salinity, and velocity
variability. The Stratus Ocean Reference Station (ORS Stratus) is supported by the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Observation Program. It is
recovered and redeployed annually. A NOAA vessel was not available, so this cruise was
conducted on the Melville, operated by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
During the 2012 cruise on the Melville to the ORS Stratus site, the primary activities were the
deployment of the Stratus 12 WHOI surface mooring, recovery of the previous (Stratus 11)
WHOI surface mooring, in-situ calibration of the buoy meteorological sensors by comparison
with instrumentation installed on the ship, and collection of underway and on station
oceanographic data to continue to characterize the upper ocean in the stratus region. Underway
CTD (UCTD) profiles were collected along the track. Surface drifters and subsurface floats
were also launched along the track.