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Coastal Mixing and Optics (CMO)

Ocean Physics Laboratory

The Coastal Mixing and Optics Project

PI: Prof. Tommy Dickey
ONR AASERT Fellow (1995-1999): Grace Chang

The Coastal Mixing and Optics project was funded by the Office of Naval Research. The experiment was designed to examine the mixing of ocean water on a continental shelf and the effects of mixing on water column optical properties.

The site of the CMO experiment was the "Mud Patch" of the Middle Atlantic Bight (MAB) continental shelf, the southwestern portion of Georges Bank (GB). The site is located about 110 km south of Martha's Vineyard, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, U.S.A. in approximately 70 m of water. The field experiment was conducted between July 1996 and June 1997.

The Ocean Physics Laboratory of UCSB was concerned with physical and particle relationships via optical properties. The overall objective of our research was to determine how particles and optical properties respond to physical forcing under various oceanic conditions on a broad continental shelf off the east coast of the U.S. Some of our specific objectives of the CMO project were to:

  • Quantify the variability of optical and physical properties at time scales as short as a few minutes
  • Relate physical processes (tides, wind forced intertial currents, surface waves, internal waves, advection, etc.) to optical variability
  • Determine the relationships between vertical fluxes of particles and optical properties with respect to the physical environmental conditions such as shear, stratification, and gradient Richardson number
  • Make general distinctions among particle types and to partition their origins
  • Relate optical and particle variability near the ocean bottom to physical processes affecting sediment resuspension.

CMO site
CMO Site Map (courtesy of Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab)

CMO Mooring
CMO Mooring Diagram