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INPE launches meteo-oceanographic buoy in Antarctica
Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Studies on the interactions between the ocean, the coastal zone and the atmosphere in the region of Deception Island, Antarctica, will benefit from the data collected by new equipment of the National Institute for Space Research (Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais - INPE). Under the project INTERCEPTION, launch and docking of a large meteo-oceanographic buoy have been performed between November 1 and 3, during the 31st Antarctica Operation of PROANTAR.

The buoy weighs about 700 kg and has 2 meters in diameter, housing a lot of oceanographic and meteorological sensors and one platform (PCD-ARGOS) that enables the receipt of measured data in real time.

Meteorologists Marcelo Santini and Rose Freitas, of the Southern Regional Center of INPE (CRS/INPE), have coordinated the launch in the bay of Port Foster, Deception Island, formed by an active volcano whose summit juts out of the water above sea level - the horseshoe shape allows entry of vessels in the area of destroyed volcano crater. The geotectonic ambiance affects the characteristic of water masses and oceanic circulation within Port Foster, which causes impacts on the surrounding atmosphere in the form of turbulent flows and in the coastal zone by means of changes in currents systems, waves and tides.

"The strong warming of coastal waters in Southern Ocean at the bay of the island locally regulates the heat flows in the interface with atmosphere, in the open ocean and in the coastal area adjacent to the island," says Ronald Buss, researcher for CRS/INPE in Santa Maria (RS) who heads the INTERCEPTION (Ocean-Atmosphere-Coast Micro Scale Interactions in Deception Island, Antarctica) project of CNPq/PROANTAR motivated by the lack of meteo-oceanographic data in the region.

Brazilian industry

The project has a lot of national instrumentation. "The system was fully built and assembled by a Brazilian company. Thus, INPE reaches two important goals of its performance: advancement of scientific knowledge and its applications and advancement of national industry qualification for design and manufacturing of technological products," said Leonel Perondi, director of INPE.

The meteo-oceanographic buoy that will be used in the automatic collection of data on the atmosphere and the ocean over the years in shallow sea (20m deep) of Port Foster bay was produced by NEURON, a partner company of INPE in oceanographic instrumentation projects.


This was the first time in PROANTAR history that this type of instrument was launched into polar waters by a Brazilian ship - the Almirante Maximiano of Brazils Navy. During their stay at Deception Island and nearby, two Acoustic Doppler Profilers (ADPs) were also anchored for monitoring ocean currents next the meteo-oceanographic buoy. Launches of atmospheric radiosondes and oceanic probes XBTs (Expandable Bathy-Thermographs) were also performed.

The INTERCEPTION team will return to Brazil on Nov. 9 by Brazilian Air Force plane from the Chilean Base Eduardo Frei, King George Island, Antarctica.

Launching the buoy in early November

Launch activities and buoy anchorage

Researchers with equipment aboard the Polar Ship Almirante Maximiano

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