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Advances in the Ocean Observing System in the Gulf of Maine: Technical Capabilities and Scientific Results

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The Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems (NERACOOS), which began in 2008, includes the University of Maine’s comprehensive data buoy array in the Gulf of Maine (GoM). The University of Maine buoy system started in 2001 as part of the Gulf of Maine Ocean Observing System (GoMOOS). The buoys provide a wide variety of oceanographic and marine meteorological data in real time to scientists, environmentalists, the National Weather Service, the U.S. Coast Guard and Canadian Coast Guard, educators, regional natural resource managers, the GoM fishing and maritime industries, and the general public. The GoM observing system is presently undergoing a redesign of the buoy control system to enhance remote access and reduce operational costs. The enhancements will allow remote trouble-shooting and reprogramming of the buoys and subsurface sensors. The system will also accommodate sensors from other research groups and allow them post-deployment control without assistance from our buoy group.

Over the near-decade of operation, the system has revealed marked seasonal and interannual variability of the circulation and physical properties of the GoM. In the fall of 2004 to spring of 2005, Doppler currents measured an outflow of deep salty slope waters that suggest a regime shift in the inflow and outflow of transports through the Northeast Channel. During the same period, a salinity anomaly event lowered salinity throughout the GoM by roughly 2 psu by the winter of 2005. In following years, the previously unusual slope outflow and reduced salinity have often reoccurred.
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Keywords: Gulf of Maine; IOOS; Northeast Channel; data buoys; ocean observing system

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-01-01

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  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
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