As part of the Tropical Pacific Observing System (TPOS)-2020 project, a pilot study is underway enhancing several tropical Pacific (TAO) moorings with additional sensors to measure ocean currents, temperature, and salinity in the upper 50 meters of the water column, where direct wind forcing of ocean currents occurs. The moorings were also enhanced for more complete sampling of air-sea flux variables. The combination provides an extraordinarily rich view of the near-surface ocean and its forcing in the tropics, at high temporal and vertical resolution.
The goal of this project is to investigate mechanisms influencing upper ocean currents and their feedbacks on the ocean thermal field in this key region. These results will help guide both model development and the TPOS-2020 redesign of the tropical observing system. These new mooring array enhancements provide an opportunity to describe coupled processes that are crucial to the tropical climate but remain poorly known.