R/V Kexue Sailed to the Western Pacific Ocean to Enhance China’s Observation Network

R/V Kexue set sail from Xuejiadao pier of Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (IOCAS) Nov. 26, 2018, with a team of 68 researchers from IOCAS,  Institute of Acoustics of CAS (IOACAS), Ocean University of China (OUC), Second Institute of Oceanography, State Ocean Administration and other institutions, on a mission to enhance China’s scientific observation network in the western Pacific Ocean. Associate Prof. Linlin ZHANG from IOCAS is the chief scientist, assisted by Prof. Qingye WANG and associate Prof. Shijian HU as mission leaders. Academician Dunxin HU and deputy director of IOCAS Dr. Chaolun LI saw them off at Xuejiadao pier.

This voyage is one of the most important missions of the NPOCE activities planned for 2017, with an overall objective of enhancing the observation network established by Chinese scientists in the western Pacific Ocean. The mission will retrieve existing moorings deploy new subsurface moorings. NPOCE, participated by 19 institutions from eight countries, is designed to observe, simulate, and understand the dynamics of the NWP ocean circulation. This international program has been operating successfully for the last 7 years.

As the chair of NPOCE Scientific Steering Committee, Dunxin HU reviewed, with cruise members, observational activities, equipment, and operating health and safety procedures. Excited by progresses made with the support of China’s Maritime Nation policy, he touched upon the 30-year’s history of scientific observation and research on the western Pacific Ocean. He also encouraged young scientists onboard to strengthen the culture of hard-working and perseverance, the desire to explore and innovate, and the comradeship and collaboration, to ensure a successful cruise.

The Western Pacific Ocean, the core of the NPOCE field observation program, is the gateway to vast oceans. It consists of complex and highly variable ocean currents, and the largest warm pool, where typhoon cyclones form and occur frequently. Changes in the Western Pacific Ocean could regulate the Monsoon, cyclone tracks and precipitation in China, with a great impact on global climate variability (e.g., El Nino/La Nina).

This voyage will investigate hydrologic process and observe the vertical structure of the western ocean currents simultaneously. In particular, the voyage will also realize real-time data transmission of 3-dimensional currents in the upper 1000m depth from subsurface moorings. In addition, a big buoy with multiple meteorological and ocean sensors for monsoon study, plus 13 Argo floats, and 25 satellite-tracked drifters will be deployed.

The R/V Kexue is scheduled to return to Qingdao in the early February of 2018.