INTERVIEW – In the BioSWOT-Med cruise Massimo Pacciaroni will be in charge of drifters and floats deployment. He describes what the differences are between the two and what physical processes they can study.
THE INSTRUMENTS OF OCEANOGRAPHERS – Massimo Pacciaroni works at the National Institute of Oceanography and Applied Geophysics (OGS). In the BioSWOT-Med cruise he is part of WP Physical processes, and in particular in charge of drifters and floats deployment.
What are your research interests besides BioSWOT-Med?
My research interests focus on water properties measurements using floats and drifters, with a particular interest on floats programming and their data analysis.
In the BioSWOT-Med campaign you will be in charge of drifters and floats deployment. What is the difference between floats and the drifters? How do they work and what sensor do they carry?
By using floats we measure water column temperature, salinity and dissolved oxygen starting from 2000 m depth going up to the surface.
An inflatable external bladder allows the float to ascend and descend. When at surface the Iridium transmission starts in order to transmit all the data.
Floats are equipped with a CTD, and depending on the model they carry an oxygen probe, radiometer, fluorometer, spectrophotometer (nitrates in our case).
With the drifters we observe the water velocity near the surface and, depending on the drifter type (the design can vary), a few more parameters are registered.
What physical processes can they study?
Seawater velocity and mixing, heat content and exchange, fronts, tides. In general, there are a great number of processes that can be observed with floats and drifters.