Category: ANFOG, WA-IMOS
Glider deployments extended to Northern Western Australia
Since December 2011, ANFOG has deployed 7 Slocum gliders in the ocean off the Kimberley and the Pilbara regions.
This effort is part of the Western Australian node of the Integrated Marine Observing System (WAIMOS), partly funded by the WA Government which is providing $6 million over three years to extend the national observing infrastructure into the Pilbara and Kimberley coast.
Together with measurements collected by moorings and buoys (Fig 1.), glider data from both the four Kimberly missions and the three Pilbara missions to date will help with monitoring and understanding of the major boundary currents, continental shelf processes and ecosystem responses in this region of strong tidal environment, which has the largest tidal range (> 10 m) for an open coastline (Fig 2.).
In the Pilbara region, the Ningaloo current is characterised by relatively colder, upwelled water. Thus, having Temperature-Salinity data along the Pilbara line, together with Sea Surface Temperature (SST) images will allow the documentation of the northern extent of the current.
Preliminary assessment of chlorophyll a from satellite data in Western Australian waters suggests a strong cross-shelf gradient with influence from tropical rivers and a range of offshore features. Relationships between light penetration, tidal mixing, suspended particulate material and primary production need to be investigated, and the biological parameters measured by the gliders deployed in the region provide an invaluable input to these investigations (Fig 3.).