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The Bermuda Testbed Mooring (BTM)

Ocean Physics Laboratory

BTM Participant Information

We are now in our 18th deployment of the Bermuda Testbed Mooring. This notice is intended to provide information to potential participants. If you would like to deploy instruments from the mooring, we will need some basic background information such as:

    1) Type of instrumentation and application,
    2) Sponsoring agency or company,
    3) Specifications such as size and wet weight,
    4) Desired depth(s) or location(s) on surface buoy,
    5) Attachment information (e.g., attach directly to mooring cable or place instruments in load cages in-line),
    6) Special deployment considerations (e.g., winches or booms needed),
    7) Projected time period(s) when you would like to deploy,
    8) Need for near real-time telemetry, and
    9) Any other information which you feel may be useful.
Decisions concerning proposed usage and fees will be based on discussions of the ad hoc Bermuda Testbed Mooring Committee and sponsoring agency representatives. However, as a guideline, fees will likely be at a level of roughly $2,500/deployment or $5,000/year paid in advance of deployment. Users must cover shipping costs of intrumentation to and from Bermuda. The Bermuda Testbed Mooring program cannot assume responsibility for damaged or lost instrumentation. We encourage new users to participate on their initial deployment cruise. Questions concerning mounting of instruments on mooring and use of complementary data sets should be directed to the chairman of the ad hoc Bermuda Testbed Mooring Committee.

Please see the announcement below for more information relevant to the Bermuda Testbed Mooring program. I expect that more specific questions will arise after reading this, so please contact me by email or phone and I will attempt to help.

Best regards,

Tommy D. Dickey
Chairman, Adhoc Bermuda Testbed Mooring Committee

Announcement of Opportunity to Participate in the Bermuda Testbed Mooring Program

The Bermuda Testbed Mooring Program was initiated at a site near Bermuda in 1994 by the National Science Foundation (NSF, Oceanographic Technology and Interdisciplinary Coordination Program), the Office of Naval Research (ONR), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The location is near the site of the ongoing Joint Global Ocean Flux Study's (JGOFS) Bermuda Atlantic Time Series (BATS) station, 80 km southeast of Bermuda (31o 45' N, 64o 10' W). One of the primary purposes of the program is to provide the oceanographic community with a common testbed for the testing of sensors, analyzers, and systems which may be deployed from various oceanographic platforms and to facilitate the interpretation of resulting data. The deep-water testbed mooring, known as the Bermuda Testbed Mooring (BTM), has several advantages as described below. One of these is the capability of capturing episodic, extreme events such as hurricanes and eddies.

Several national and international global change programs involve long-term measurements of ocean variables. The success of these programs, as well as many individual research projects, depends on the development and application of relevant technologies which are crucial to improved observational databases. During the past decade, new physical, optical, acoustical, and chemical sensors, analyzers, and systems have greatly expanded the number of pertinent interdisciplinary variables and their ranges of temporal and spatial observation. While considerable progress has been made, some efforts have been hampered by the lack of a dedicated deep-water platform for the testing of sensors and systems and the interpretation of their resultant signals. One of the original objectives of our program has been to establish a testbed mooring program which serves the oceanographic community's needs in this area. Although a mooring has been selected as the platform for this work, it should be emphasized that many of the sensors and systems of interest will likely be used on drifters, ROV's and AUV's in the future as well.

Some advantages of the BATS site include:
1. A rich historical database is already available for the area because of the 40-year Hydrostation S program and the more recent nearby JGOFS BATS activity. A special edition of Deep-Sea Research [Deep-Sea Research II, 43, nos. 2-3, 1996; eds. D.M Karl and A.F. Michaels] concerns the BATS and companion Hawaii Ocean Time-Series (HOT) programs.
2. The BATS program has an ongoing time series sampling program (usually 16 cruises each year) with a relatively complete suite of physical, chemical, biological, and optical variables (see BIOS website: A sediment trap mooring with a 20-year continuous record is deployed nearby the site as well (contact Maureen Conte and Werner Deuser, WHOI). Ongoing atmospheric sampling programs at various sites on the island of Bermuda (e.g., AEROCE: contact Hal Maring, U. Miami) provide a 16-year record of atmospheric properties, trace gas concentrations, atmospheric deposition, and an expanding suite of atmospheric optical measurements.
3. Local-area coverage remote sensing data (AVHRR, weather images, and SeaWiFS images) are available for the site through an HRPT station (contact Norm Nelson, BIOS) in Bermuda sponsored by NASA, thus providing complementary satellite measurements for testing programs. Shipboard bio-optical profile measurements are also made near the mooring site as part of a special NASA project (contact Dave Siegel, UCSB).
4. The R/V Weatherbird II, a 115 foot UNOLS research vessel with a large open fantail and an oversized stern A-frame is available to conduct routine time-series studies, service the moorings, and conduct specialized cruises (contact Lee Black, BIOS). The repeat occupations of the testbed site as part of the existing programs also enable cost-effective ancillary uses of the ship alongside the ongoing programs. The proximity of the ship can also prove valuable for responding to unexpected events such as sensor validation during unusual conditions or equipment failure.
5. The site is quite accessible as open ocean waters of nominal depth of 4554 m are within a 5-hour steam from land. Excellent laboratory facilities and support are available at BIOS.
6. There is a documented need for high temporal resolution mooring data at the site because of undersampling and aliasing. Already, many of the important emerging bio-optical and acoustical systems are designed to be deployed from moored systems capable of sampling at rates of once every few minutes. Also, the general region is of high ecological importance and interest. Presently, interdisciplinary mooring studies are being conducted at the site by a team of scientists from several institutions. Some of the past deployments have utilized special near real-time telemetry. Turn-around deployments are done at approximately six-month intervals to allow replacement and maintenance of sensors and systems.

With this announcement, we solicit inquiries concerning participation in the Bermuda Testbed Mooring program and encourage its use to test and validate new sensors and systems and experimental approaches. Interested investigators should direct their instrumentation proposals to agency representatives following usual proposal procedures and indicate their intent to use the Bermuda testbed mooring. The testbed mooring is available to commercial instrument companies as well as academic researchers. Companies and researchers are responsible for logistical costs associated with the deployment and recovery of their instruments and some fees are required for mooring maintenance.

A committee facilitates interactions among the oceanographic community and the participating agencies and institutions and reviews the feasibility of proposed projects for testbed mooring deployments. Individuals and organizations interested in participating in the Bermuda Testbed Mooring program should visit our web site ( and are encouraged to contact the BTM Committee chairman, Tommy D. Dickey, via email or at the address given below.

Ocean Physics Laboratory/University of California, Santa Barbara
6487 Calle Real Suite A
Goleta, CA 93117
Tel: 805 893-7354
Fax: 805 967-5704