Bering Strait Moorings 2015 Cruise
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The Bering Strait is the only oceanic link between the Pacific and the Arctic Oceans. The flow through the strait brings heat (which melts ice) and nutrients (which feed Arctic ecosystems) into the Arctic. Since 1990, we have been measuring the properties of the flow through the strait to establish the effects of this flow, and see how it is changing.
We do this using instruments which we deploy reaching from the sea floor (about 150ft/50m) deep to near the surface. We combine instruments into moorings (strings of instruments, with an anchor at the bottom and floats at the top). These instruments record data every hour throughout the year. Every year we have to recover the instruments to get the data. Then we redeploy them for the next year. We also do a survey of the waters of the region, to check that our moorings are measuring the major properties of the flow.
The purpose of this cruise is to recover (and then redeploy) three moorings which have been in the water since summer 2014. Because the region is covered in sea-ice in winter, we have to do this in the summer, when the region is ice-free. The top float of the mooring must be below the surface, as otherwise it would be destroyed by the sea-ice. Thus, we need a way of finding the moorings without being able to see them.