S-MODE Intensive Operating Period IOP1


The Sub-Mesoscale Ocean Dynamics and Vertical Transport Experiment (S-MODE) will test the hypothesis that submesoscale (1-10 km) ocean dynamics make important contributions to vertical exchange in the upper ocean.
We have set these science goals:

  • G1: Quantitatively measure the three-dimensional structure of the submesoscale features responsible for vertical exchange.
  • G2: Quantify the role of air-sea interaction and surface forcing in the dynamics and vertical velocity of submesoscale variability.
  • G3: Understand the relation between the velocity (and other surface properties) measured by remote sensing at the surface and that within and just below the surface boundary layer.
  • G4: Diagnose dynamics of vertical transport processes at submesoscales to mesoscales.

In a region extending 200 km (110 NM) offshore of San Francisco, we will collect simultaneous measurements using several airborne instruments — the NASA DopplerScatt, the NASA PRISM, the SIO MASS, and the UCLA MOSES. In conjunction with the measurements from aircraft, in situ data will be obtained using surface drifters, wave-propelled autonomous surface vehicles (WaveGliders, Saildrones), Lagrangian floats, vertically profiling autonomous underwater gliders, and a research vessel.