Vol. 35: AMT-1 Cruise Report and Preliminary Results

SeaWiFS Pre-Launch Technical Report Series


Robins, D.B., A.J. Bale, G.F. Moore, N.W. Rees, S.B. Hooker, C.P. Gallienne, A.G. Westbrook, E. Mara��n, W.H. Spooner, and S.R. Laney, 1996: AMT-1 Cruise Report and Preliminary Results. NASA Tech. Memo. 104566, Vol. 35, S.B. Hooker and E.R. Firestone, Eds., NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, 87 pp.


This report documents the scientific activities on board the Royal Research Ship (RRS) James Clark Ross during the first Atlantic Meridional Transect (AMT-1), 21 September to 24 October 1995. The ship sailed from Grimsby (England) for Montevideo (Uruguay) and then continued on to Stanley (Falkland Islands). The primary objective of the AMT program is to investigate basic biological processes in the open Atlantic Ocean over very broad spatial scales. For AMT-1, the meridional range covered was approximately 50oN to 50oS or nearly 8,000 nmi. The measurements to be taken during the AMT cruises are fundamental for the calibration, validation, and continuing understanding of remotely sensed observations of biological oceanography. They are also important for understanding plankton community structure over latitudinal scales and the role of the world ocean in global carbon cycles. During AMT-1 a variety of instruments were used to map the physical, chemical, and biological structure of the upper 200 m of the water column. Ocean color measurements were made using state-of-the-art sensors, whose calibration was traceable to the highest international standards. New advances in fluorometry were used to measure photosynthetic activity, which was then used to further interpret primary productivity. A unique set of samples and data were collected for the planktonic assemblages that vary throughout the range of the transect. These data will yield new interpretations on community composition and their role in carbon cycling. While the various provinces of the Atlantic Ocean were being crossed, the partial pressure of CO2 was related to biological productivity. This comparison revealed the areas of drawdown of atmospheric CO2 and how these areas relate to the surrounding biological productivity. These data, plus the measurements of light attenuation and phytoplankton optical properties, will be used as a primary input for basin-scale biological productivity models to help develop ecosystem dynamics models which will be important for improving the forecasting abilities of modelers. The AMT program is also attempting to meet the needs of international agencies in their implementation of Sensor Intercomparison and Merger for Biological and Interdisciplinary Ocean Studies (SIMBIOS), a program to develop a methodology and operational capability to combine data products from the various ocean color satellite missions.

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