The word may appear on page 1 of any English Dictionary, but to us the AARDVARK programme instead refers to a series of float deployments that forms an integral part of the DIMES project. The aim of AARDVARK is to identify places in the ocean where two or more floats deployed in a similar location experience a very rapid, exponential-type separation over time. This can give us important information about ocean mixing. The floats themselves drift on the surface, but have a sock (or drogue) which hangs 15 m below sea level, meaning the float moves with the near-surface currents (and not the wind). The position of the floats over time is tracked by satellite.
Last night, we deployed eight of these drifters as we steamed westwards towards the north side of Burdwood Bank. In a slight change to our schedule, we are now aiming to do a short CTD and VMP survey of this region overnight tonight before steaming southwards to recover the moorings on Monday.
|Paul and Steve deploying a drifter last night|
|Four drifters ready for deployment on deck.|