POGO (Profiling OceanoGraphic Observatory) is alive and well! The vertical profiling system, installed at a depth of 396 m on Barkley Upper Slope is now sending its instrument float on regular journeys from seafloor to surface and back. And some interesting new data products are available for examining a host of water properties through the depth of the water column.
In addition to depth, temperature, and salinity, POGO measures chlorophyll, turbidity, oxygen, carbon dioxide, irradiance and light attenuation and currents. A hydrophone mounted on the instrument float also listens to sounds from the ocean. (Apparently, POGO is attracting the curiosity of dolphins in the area, as we’ve been recording a lot of dolphin songs.)
Recording of dolphin chatter captured by POGO's hydrophone. Listen to the latest recording.
Scientists involved in the project are currently evaluating POGO’s data in order understand the new potential, compared to traditional ship-based casts. The main goal is to study key ocean processes off the west coast of Vancouver Island. Researchers hope to track things like the transitions from downwelling to upwelling, the timing of plankton blooms, the supply of nutrients to surface layers and variations in the California Undercurrent, which carries deep nutrient-rich water northward from the equatorial region.
Although POGO is capable of deploying its instrument float all the way to the ocean surface, doing so in rough seas may damage the cable/winch system. To prevent this, POGO’s designers at NGK Japan developed a special algorithm to detect dangerous conditions, only allowing POGO to surface when seas are calm.
You can download most of POGO’s data, including the new “VPS cast” data products, in near real-time via Oceans 2.0 Data Search. If you are interested in working with other scientists on the profiler team, let us know!