The Atlantic Meridional Transect as the backbone of a Pole-to-Pole Observing System Tim Smyth, Andy Rees, Glen Tarran and the AMT teams from PML and NOC Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Prospect Place, Plymouth, Devon, PL1 3DH email: [email protected] In 2015, the Atlantic Meridional Transect celebrates its 25th cruise and 20th anniversary. During this time the AMT time-series has been critical in unravelling the variability in the remote biomes of the Atlantic Ocean. Particularly noteworthy have been the systematic measurements contrasting the northern and southern oligotrophic gyres. Ship-of-opportunity model Managed transition towards autonomy Operational Oceanography Over the next decade there is likely to be a step-change in autonomous technology for both in-water and atmospheric sensors. AMT is uniquely placed to act as a hub or reference point for e.g. gliders acting as a pre-, during and post- mission traceable standard. Using the passage legs between the UK and Falklands of the BAS research vessels, the AMT represents excellent value for money and gives the opportunity for excellent National Capability science. In collaboration with the UK Met Office, CTD profiles are ingested into forecast models in real-time: particularly crucial in the data sparse, remote ocean. HEI engagement Atmospheric science AMT gives unrivalled access to the whole Atlantic basin over a six – eight week time window: this gives the opportunity for technologists to develop and prototype new systems either in manned or remote autonomous mode over a wide range of conditions. AMT also gives the opportunity to connect the atmospheric observatories at Penlee Point (UK), Cape Verde and Ascension. The AMT programme was established in 1995 and since then has included 24 research cruises involving 230 scientists from 20 countries. AMT has proved to be a long-term multidisciplinary ocean observation programme, which is a platform for national HEI and international scientific collaboration, a training arena for the next generation of oceanographers and an ideal facility for validation of novel technology. Satellite calibration / validation Bio-Argo Remote Ocean Observatory PML recently won £0.5m from NERC to boost the global bio-Argo fleet, five of which were launched on AMT24. AMT serves the international Argo fleet in collaboration with the UK Met Office. AMT is uniquely placed to serve as the biogeochemical observational backbone bridging time-series stations in the north (Ellet-line) and south (Drakes’ Passage) as well as tying in with the RAPID array and the NOC South Atlantic Gyre mooring. Starting in 2016 the European Space Agency will launch its revolutionary Sentinel series of satellites: this is a multi-decadal rolling plan for ensuring continuous time-series of ocean parameters such as ocean colour, sea-surface temperature and seasurface height. As the AMT traverses such a wide latitude band and samples a wide range of oceanic biomes it is uniquely placed to act as a critical fiducial (reference) point for satellite sensors.
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