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ATOEM - Overview
Phytoplankton blooms occur in many locations throughout the world's oceans, often with seasonal variability. However, it is currently impossible to predict precisely when and where a bloom will arise, what the population composition and dynamics will be, or how the full history of the bloom will play out. Remoste sensing by satellites is presently the best way to observe and track blooms, but it does not reveal the vertical structure of the bloom in the water column or provide details on the specific biology and chemistry that evolves over time, and cannot follow the fixed carbon created in the bloom. The early history of the bloom is also missed when it is below the threshold level of detection by the satellite.
ATOEM platforms will provide the opportunity to complement such remote sensing capabilities. An ATOEM platform stationed in regions where blooms are expected will be able to use its fleet of smaller AUVs to survey the water column over an extensive area to detect the earliest signs of bloom formation and then make comprehensive measurements of biogeochemical parameters and collect physical samples over the course of the full bloom cycle, including the transport and transformation of the fixed carbon by the "biological pump".
Sequestering CO2 in the deep ocean...