Subsurface Mooring Training Course, China (2023)

A 7-day training course on Subsurface Mooring Design, Recovery and Deployment by IOCAS in conjunction with JAMSTEC and SCRIPPS.


Many ocean processes that scientists want to study are either invisible from the surface or they play out over long periods of time and wide geographic expanses. Measurements from a ship only provide a brief snapshot or a short glimpse of conditions. As a result, moored systems are designed to fix instruments deep beneath the surface for long periods of time to measure water properties and record data to quantify changing conditions in the ocean.

An oceanographic mooring consists of a long line or cable with an anchor at one end, a float at the other, and instruments attached to the line in between or to a float at the surface. These mooring systems allow researchers to measure properties such as water temperature, salinity and velocity at several depths over the water column and for long periods of time. They also allow scientists to explore the complex interactions between the ocean and atmosphere that are difficult to monitor from satellites. However, recovery and deployment of mooring are very challenging. The cables can be more than three miles long, and the instruments and floats have to withstand corrosion, freezing cold, pressure up to 10,000 pounds per square inch, powerful currents, surging waves, and even fish that mistake them for food. The recovery process usually involves sending a ship to the recorded location, triggering an acoustic release and then searching for the package as it floats to the surface. Upon recovery, moorings float up through hundreds or thousands of meters of strong currents, often with subsurface layers moving in different directions than the surface layer. However, Successful recovery and deployment of a mooring is the key to obtaining the valuable subsurface data, which depends on skillful operational experience and proper presetting of the instruments. So it’s critical to know the proper skills for mooring recovery and deployment operations in order to ensure the successful data retrieval.

During their period of deployment in the ocean, the mooring line and the attached instruments are often exposed to strong dynamic conditions induced by a range of phenomena such as tides and typhoons and monsoon winds. This forcing causes mooring “draw-down” that can cause huge (ranging from 10s to 100s of meters) pressure excursions of the instruments that needs to be corrected so that the property measurement (temperature, salinity, velocity etc.) is associated with the correct depth. Quality control of the data set by applying instrument pre- and post-deployment calibrations, and performing comparisons within and between the instruments and moorings is also important in order to determine any instrument drift or biofouling or other issues. These are all best practices enable procurement of the highest quality data set for scientific analysis. Since 2010, IOCAS has successfully built the Scientific Observing Network of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CASSON) in the western Pacific Ocean, and has accumulated rich experience in mooring recovery/deployment operation, mooring data processing and interpretation. Sharing this experiences and technologies is very valuable and will benefit the observational ocean research all over the world.

Aims and Objectives:

  • To introduce the operation of commonly-used ocean in-situ observational instruments
  • To impart the knowledge of mooring design, deployment, and retrieval
  • To enhance understanding of mooring deployment and retrieval through shipborne practice
  • To introduce mooring data processing and interpretation

Learning Outcomes:

  • Knowledge and understanding to the ocean in-situ observations
  • Knowledge of mooring recovery/deployment operation, mooring data processing and interpretation.

Target Audience:

Target audiences include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Undergrad students, graduate students, post-doc
  • Staff and researchers working on ocean observations and its applications

Application requirements:

  • Applicants should have a basic knowledge of marine properties and parameters and preferably be working in institution which has access to marine observations
  • Seaworthiness (part of the training i.e., field sampling will be on a boat)
  • Basic working knowledge of English
  • Participants should preferably bring their own laptops.

Important Dates:

Applications are open during: 9 May – 24 May 2023

Tentative announcement of selected participants: 25 May – 29 May 2023

Course Dates: 16 July – 22 July 2023

Application Information:

Please complete the Application Template and send this form to

Financial Support Application:

Limited financial support is available to those applicants, who meet the following criteria: From developing countries; Research experience in related fields (oceanography, hydrography, etc.) with published papers; Basic working knowledge of ocean in-situ observations. A gender balance will be considered for this financial support selection.

Course Fees:

There are no fees for this course.

Travel and Accommodation:

Participants should pay their own travel and accommodation costs, and the IOCAS will arrange the hotel booking.


Global developing countries.

Training Course Schedule




July 16th


July 17th

Overview Seeing videos of mooring deployment and retrieval, Visit to research vessels, etc.


July 18th

Mooring Design, Deployment, and Retrieval Procedures

Instruments Operation and Data Processing

Scientists and Technicians

July 19th

Field Operation in Research Vessels

Scientists and Technicians

July 20th

Reports on the Application of Mooring Data in Scientific Studies

All participants

July 21st

Dynamic processes and mechanisms analysis and interpretation based on in-situ observations

Review and Discussions

All participants

July 22nd Closing Ceremony

Certificate Award

All participants



Fan Wang, Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China

Invited scientists:

Janet Sprintall, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, USA

Kentaro Ando, JAMSTEC, Japan

Jae-Hak Lee, Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology, Republic of Korea


The training course will be held at Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Qingdao, China.

Contact details:

Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Qingdao, China

Tel: 86-532-82898879

Fax: 86-532-82898612



The training was originally proposed to take place between 12-22 April 2021, but was delayed.


Fan Wang, Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China


  • Janet Sprintall, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, USA
  • Kentaro Ando, JAMSTEC, Japan
  • Jae-Hak Lee, Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology, Republic of Korea
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