Ocean mixing is a component in climate models, that causes one of the main sources of uncertainties in predictions of our future climate. The measurements of this expedition will help improve our estimates of mixing that we use in climate models, and consequently they will contribute to better predictions of our future climate.

Chaotic and intermittent motions

Ocean turbulence consists of chaotic and intermittent motions that enhance ocean mixing on length-scales ranging from millimeters to hundred kilometers. Due to technological, financial and logistical limitations, ocean mixing can't be measured directly on global scales.

Yet, computer models that simulate ocean and climate dynamics require more specific information about ocean mixing strengths. "We developed theories that provide indirect estimates of mixing, from variables that we actually can measure on global scales or at high frequencies", says Sjoerd Groeskamp, MIXATION expedition leader. This expedition aims to provide observations that help produce estimates of global ocean water mixing. These maps will make it possible to improve climate prediction models.

Climate research for the Caribbean Netherlands

The first few days of the expedition will focus on work of the Dutch meteorological service KNMI. KNMI researchers will deploy four fully automated measuring buoys in the Caribbean Sea. These measuring buoys are part of the global Argo programme, in which scientists work together to monitor the oceans. Argo buoys drift with the ocean currents and take measurements as they move up and down between a depth of 2,000 metres and the surface. The four new buoys collect basic data on temperature, salinity and water pressure down to a depth of 2000 metres. The measurement data collected is essential for research into climate change.

KNMI will intensify its monitoring activities in the Caribbean Netherlands. This will make it possible to measure changes in this region over the long term. In addition, these four new measuring buoys are involved in a 'comparative consumer study': at the same time as the four Dutch measuring buoys, four French buoys, from a different supplier, will also be used. In this way, the performance of the two types can be compared.

Via this link to the Argo programme, you can see where all the ARGO buoys are located and which ones were deployed by Dutch researchers.