Design and Performance of a Horizontal Mooring for Upper-Ocean Research Academic Article uri icon


  • This paper describes the design and performance of a two-dimensional moored array for sampling horizontal variability in the upper ocean. The mooring was deployed in Massachusetts Bay in a water depth of 84 m for the purpose of measuring the horizontal structure of internal waves. The mooring was instrumented with three acoustic current meters (ACMs) spaced along a 170-m horizontal cable that was stretched between two subsurface buoys 20 m below the sea surface. Five 25-m-long vertical instrument strings were suspended from the horizontal cable. A bottom-mounted acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) was deployed nearby to measure the current velocity throughout the water column. Pressure sensors mounted on the subsurface buoys and the vertical instrument strings were used to measure the vertical displacements of the array in response to the currents. Measurements from the ACMs and the ADCP were used to construct time-dependent, two-dimensional current fields. The current fields were used as input to a numerical model that calculated the deformation of the array with respect to the nominal zero-current configuration. Comparison of the calculated vertical offsets of the downstream subsurface buoy and downstream vertical instrument string with the pressure measurements were used to verify the numerical code. These results were then used to estimate total deformation of the array due to the passage of the internal waves. Based on the analysis of the three internal wave events with the highest measured vertical offsets, it is concluded that the geometry of the main structure (horizontal cable and anchor legs) was kept to within +/-2.0 m, and the geometry of the vertical instrument strings was kept to within +/-4.0 m except for one instance when the current velocity reached 0.88 m s(-1).

publication date

  • September 2002