The New South Wales Moorings sub-facility collects a wide range of oceanographic data along the coast of southeastern Australia. In this region the East Australian Current and its eddy field dominate the circulation both on and off the continental shelf. Essential variables include measurements of temperature, salinity, velocity, and biogeochemical and bio-optical properties through the water column. An array of eight moorings was deployed on the continental shelf along the southeast coast of Australia starting in 2008. The array was designed to capture the key processes along the narrow continental shelf. The instruments are spread across three sites: Coffs Harbour, Sydney and Narooma. The Coffs Harbour moorings capture the dynamics upstream of EAC separation point, the Sydney moorings represents the dynamics downstream of the separation point often dominated by the EAC eddy field, and the Narooma mooring pair measure the EAC extension.
The New South Wales Moorings sub-facility also maintains the national reference transect across the continental shelf off Port Hacking. Located in an area just downstream from where the East Australian Current typically separates from the coast, the transect delivers data on the marine ecosystem associated with eddies. This particular area is also the most populated area of the New South Wales coastline, so issues such as water quality, algal blooms and waste disposal are interrelated.
These moorings measure the temperature structure of the water column with thermistor strings, the current structure with acoustic Doppler current profilers and the biological signature with WetLabs Water Quality Meters (Sydney only). Temperature and velocity observations are typically measured at 5 minute intervals, every 8 meters through the water column, to within 15-20m of the surface.
The national reference transect consists of one mooring off Port Hacking in 100m and five hydrographic sampling stations from 25m to 125m off Port Hacking. Conductivity, Temperature & Depth (CTD) profiles are taken at each sampling station along with, at certain stations, biogeochemical samples such as phytoplankton pigment samples and plankton net samples.