FaSt-SWOT 1, the first leg of the FaSt-SWOT campaign, successfully ended on Saturday 29th April. Thanks to the integration of multiple sampling platforms (continuous MVP, ADCP, TSG, 12 CTDs, 25 drifters, GoPros cameras for macroplastic detection) researchers were able to detect a small scale eddy in the zone north-west of Mallorca (Spain).
Saturday 29th April, around 4 am, R/V SOCIB arrived at Port of Palma. During FaSt-SWOT1 (25/04/2023 – 29/04/2023) researchers made 12 CTD profiles, 693 profiles with the MVP and have launched 25 drifters, 14 of them in a traprezoidal array in the eddy area. During all the crossing, data were recorded with the thermosalinograph (TSG) and with the Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP).
Benjamín Casas, head of technological division at SOCIB and head of FaSt-SWOT 1 campaign and responsible of all technical operations at sea said: “To those of the second leg we left the bar high!”
Ananda Pascual, science lead of FaSt-SWOT and coordinating the campaign from land said: “Indeed the observations collected so far seem promising and a good example of data integration. We have been able to sample a fine-scale structure just in the swath of SWOT. This type of features are seen by SWOT, but not by conventional altimeters and play a role in the exchange of properties between the surface of the ocean and the interior (salt, heat, nutrients…)”.
The detection of the small scale eddy was possible thanks to the integration of multiple platforms (continuous MVP, ADCP, TSG, 12 CTDs, 25 drifters, GoPro cameras for macroplastic detection) in the zone north-west of Mallorca (Spain) and to a team effort that saw 35 people involved, including researchers, students, technicians, engineers and administrative and communication staff at sea and on land.
In addition, two gliders were deployed which sampled as virtual moorings during the duration of FaSt-SWOT1 and then, once the R/V SOCIB left the area, they are crossing the fine-scale eddy. They are now providing data down to 950 m. A new wooden prototype drifter has been tested (biodegradable + km 0 designed and developed by Atalaia Detection Technologies, a start-up originated from IMEDEA).
“We will be back at sea in a few days and we are all eager to see how this small eddy has evolved during this one-week period”, says Baptiste Mourre, co-PI of the FaSt-SWOT project and leader of the FaSt-SWOT2 campaign which will take place from 7 to 11 May.
The FaSt-SWOT project is funded by the Spanish Research Agency and the European Regional Development Fund (AEI/FEDER, UE) under Grant Agreement (PID2021-122417NB-I00).