Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Call me Ishmael


Air-sea interaction tower built off Martha’s vineyard

ASIT with platform in place

In the deep waters two miles south of Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard, not far from where, two centuries ago, the likes of Captain Ahab and a thousand others kept their watch for the great white and his kin, we are now searching to understand another potential beast in those parts: the ocean and the weather.

But this is no allegory. Hoping to avoid any recurrence in these sometimes turbulent waters of the horrendous storms so intensely portrayed in Moby Dick as well as The Perfect Storm, the Office of Naval Research has built a tower bristling from top to bottom with sensors. The Air-Sea Interaction Tower will continually measure atmospheric and ocean conditions such as air temperature, humidity, solar radiation and carbon dioxide, as well as water temperature, salinity or salt content, wave height and direction, water circulation, current speed and direction, and sediment transport. It will directly measure momentum, heat, and mass exchange between the atmosphere and ocean. Anchored 50 feet down into the ocean floor, the tower extends 76 feet into the marine atmosphere. It will be maintained and operated by scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Massachusetts and will be connected by undersea cables to WHOI’s Martha’s Vineyard Coastal Observatory (MVCO).

"No one has ever built this kind of thing before. Understanding how the ocean and atmosphere interact under all conditions, and understanding the factors that affect the exchange of energy between the ocean and atmosphere, how readily carbon dioxide is exchanged, and how currents and waves affect bottom sediments, makes for better weather forecasts," says science officer Simon Chang who oversees the project for ONR. "Avoiding storms and correctly and precisely forecasting bad weather saves lives."

Power and data transmission from the Tower are supplied the underwater cable linked to MVCO. Data gathered will be integrated with MVCO data and made directly available to all users and to the general public via the MVCO web site at The data will include wind speed and direction, air and sea temperature, wave height and direction, and currents at the offshore site.

"This is a one-of-a kind platform for studying coastal processes in the Atlantic Ocean," says James Edson of WHOI’s Ocean Physics and Engineering Department, who serves as project engineer. "It will be used by researchers, educators, and students from around the world during its lifetime."

Ishmael told a good story, but unlike his Captain he did not vow a relentless watch, and a relentless watch is what the Navy wants. Better to call this tower, Ahab.

For more information on the ASIT, or to interview the scientists if you are media., please contact Gail Cleere at ONR, 703-696-4987 or email

Gail Cleere | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Gas hydrate research: Advanced knowledge and new technologies
23.03.2018 | Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam - Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ

nachricht New technologies and computing power to help strengthen population data
22.03.2018 | University of Southampton

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Space observation with radar to secure Germany's space infrastructure

Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.

The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

New solar solutions for sustainable buildings and cities

23.03.2018 | Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

For graphite pellets, just add elbow grease

23.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Unique communication strategy discovered in stem cell pathway controlling plant growth

23.03.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Sharpening the X-ray view of the nanocosm

23.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>