The extension of the PIRATA array of mooring in the tropical South-East Atlantic, by Mathieu Rouault
Nansen Tutu Center for Marine environmental Research, Department of Oceanography, University of Cape Town, South Africa
In December 2002 thanks to a POGO grant, I flew to Dakar, Senegal to board a French research vessel and participate to the PIRATA FR 11 cruise whose main mission was to recover and replace five Atlas moorings in the Tropical Ocean Atlantic. This participation turned out to be a key element in the extension of PIRATA in the South East Atlantic Ocean at 8oS 6oE.
As chairman of the committee for the extension of PIRATA in the Southeast Atlantic, my goal was to assess what it took to recover and deploy an Atlas mooring, to understand what were the technical requirements and constraints and to report back to various stakeholders from Angola, Namibia and South Africa. Highlight of the cruise was to spend New Year eve at 0o 0o. This cruise helped me to write a white paper on the extension that was submitted to the PIRATA and CLIVAR committees for endorsement and to write a proposal submitted to the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem project for funding. This was successful and a one year pilot project with one mooring was accepted. The mooring, named Kizomba, was deployed in 2007 and collected measurements for a year. Results were published in Rouault et al (2009). In 2013, The EU FP7 Preface program allowed to buy the second mooring needed to establish a permanent location as one replaces a mooring by a complete calibrated one. This mooring was deployed in May 2013 and it is now integral part of PIRATA. The Atlas mooring which is equipped with an extra currentmeter at 10 m depth and an extra short wave radiation sensor which allows calculation of the radiative flux and the net heat budget at a 10 minute temporal resolution. Daily average is available in real time. The strategic location of the mooring in the stratocumulus deck which is a problem to coupled models, offshore of the Congo River panache and upstream of the Angola Current make this mooring a unique measuring platform which has continuously worked in real time since May 2013. Looking back ever since I was tasked by the international community in 1999 to look into the extension of PIRATA this grant from POGO and also several grant from CLIVAR to take part to PIRATA and CLIVAR meeting shaped my career and build my capacity to work in international project. At the advent of the 20 anniversary of PIRATA in Brazil, participation to POGO, PIRATA and CLIVAR showed me the value of international cooperation.