Saildrone is a state-of-the-art, wind and solar powered unmanned surface vehicle (USV) capable of long distance deployments lasting up to 12 months. The drone is autonomous in that it may be guided remotely from land while being completely wind driven. This novel sampling platform is equipped with a suite of instruments and sensors providing high quality, georeferenced, near real-time, multi-parameter surface ocean and atmospheric observations while transiting at typical speeds of 3-5 knots. Instruments are customizable depending on the mission, but typically include anemometer, barometer, thermosalinograph, CTD, IR pyrometer, fluorometer, and CO2/dissolved oxygen sensors. Saildrones have additionally been deployed with Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers (ADCP), passive acoustic sensors and echo sounders to measure along-track 3D current velocities and biological acoustic backscatter. Saildrone adopts a service model approach to the design and implementation of missions and the delivery of datasets to customers. Current deployments include the Tropical and North Pacific, with a focus on future deployments in the Arctic. Data from Saildrone are providing information being used to support NASA satellite cal/val and ocean science studies, including the improvement of salinity and SST retrievals at high latitudes and closer to the coast.
The Saildrone Baja campaign was a 60-day cruise from San Francisco Bay, down along the US/Mexico coast to Guadalupe Island and back again over the period 11 April 2018 to 11 June 2018. Repeat surveys were taken around NDBC moored buoys, and during the final week of the cruise a targeted front was sampled. The cruise track was selected to optimize both the science and validation objectives included in these projects. Scientific objectives included studies of upwelling and frontal region dynamics, air-sea interactions, and diurnal warming effects, while its validation objectives included establishing the utility of data from the Saildrone platform for assessment of satellite data accuracy and model assimilation. Validation efforts focus on the evaluation of Saildrone instrument performance relative also to satellite observations in a coastal upwelling region. During the Baja campaign, the single deployed Saildrone was equipped with a suite of instruments that included a CTD, IR pyrometer, fluorometer, dissolved oxygen sensor, anemometer, barometer. Additionally, four temperature data loggers were positioned vertically along the hull to provide further information on thermal variability near the ocean surface. The resulting Saildrone Baja dataset (DOI: 10.5067/SDRON-SURF0) available from the PODAAC is comprised of one data file with the Saildrone platform telemetry and near-surface observational data (air temperature, sea surface skin and bulk temperatures, salinity, oxygen and chlorophyll-a concentrations, barometric pressure, wind speed and direction) for the entire cruise at 1 minute temporal resolution. A second file contains the ADCP current vector data that is depth-resolved to 100m at 2m intervals and binned temporally at 5 minute resolution. All Saildrone data files archived at the PODAAC are in netCDF format and CF/ACDD compliant consistent with the NOAA/NCEI specification.
Sponsor Acknowledgement: Funding support for the Saildrone Baja campaign is from The Schmidt Family Foundation, Saildrone, Inc., and NASA's Physical Oceanography Program (grant number 80NSSC18K0837).
The saildrone Arctic campaign involved the deployment of a fleet of 5 saildrones, jointly funded by NASA and NOAA, from Dutch Harbor, Alaska, within the Bering and Chukchi Seas to the ice edge and back over a 150-day period from 15 May 2019 to 11 October 2019. Scientific objectives include collecting upper ocean temperature profiles with a full suite of ocean measurements, which could lead to significant improvements in modeling of diurnal warming. Additionally, these new data will provide additional Arctic SST observations to benefit SST algorithm development and validation, and collected additional data for studies of air- sea-ice interactions. NASA is focusing on improving satellite derived sea surface temperate (SST) and sea surface salinity (SSS) in the Arctic (two essential climate variables). SST efforts are funded through the National Ocean Partnership Program, a collaboration between the NAVY, NOAA, and NASA. Arctic Saildrone archived and available via the PO.DAAC, will be central to these efforts.
For the Arctic cruises, saildrones were equipped with a suite of instruments that included a CTD, IR pyrometer, fluorometer, dissolved oxygen sensor, anemometer, barometer, and Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP). Additionally, four temperature data loggers were positioned vertically along hull to provide further information on thermal variability near the ocean surface.This Saildrone Arctic dataset is comprised of 3 data files for each of the two NASA-funded saildrones deployed. The first set of observations contains saildrone platform telemetry and near-surface observational data (air temperature, sea surface skin and bulk temperatures, salinity, oxygen and chlorophyll-a concentrations, barometric pressure, wind speed and direction) spanning the entire cruise at 1 minute temporal resolution. The second contains the ADCP current vector data for each of the deployed saildrones that is depth-resolved to 100m at 2m intervals and binned temporally at 1 minute resolution. The third set of observations contain the temperature logger data. All data files are in netCDF format and CF/ACDD compliant consistent with the NOAA/NCEI specification.