VMP-250 Allows Danish Researchers to Observe how Turbulence and Vertical Mixing Affect Nutrient Flux Processes in Northeastern North Sea

Dr. Jørgen Bendtsen, ClimateLab Denmark., Professor Katherine Richardson, Centre for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen.


Deployment of the VMP-250 from the R/V Dana in the North Sea, July 2016. The instrument is deployed ~5 m from the free-drifting ship, and after it has been lowered to the surface the line is released and it sinks freely through the water column.


The ClimateLab and University of Copenhagen purchased a VMP-250 coastal turbulence profiler and Jørgen attended instrument training at Rockland Scientific in June 2016.  Shortly after, Jørgen used the instrument as part of a nutrient flux study in the North Sea.  The ClimateLab and U Copenhagen team collected turbulence data from the VMP-250 and analyzed the potential for vertical mixing, which can transport nutrients, such as nitrate, which support primary production throughout the column. The findings were published last month in the paper Turbulence measurements suggest high rates of new production over the shelf edge in the northeastern North Sea during the summer  in the Biogeosiences Journal.


The key finding of this research paper was based on measurements taken in the northeastern North Sea. During the stratified summer season a deep chlorophyll maximum was found at the bottom of the nutrient depleted surface layer (~20 m). Observations with the VMP-250 along transects across the shelf edge towards the deep northern North Sea (>500 m) showed enhanced vertical mixing at the bottom of the nutricline above the shelf edge. Diapycnal turbulent nitrate fluxes were estimated from turbulence measurements and nutrient samples and showed enhanced new production above the shelf edge area. Overall, this suggests that the shelf-edge zone may be the major nutrient supplier to the euphotic zone in this area during the period of summer stratification.


These findings will have impacts on fisheries, aquaculture, and ecological conservation efforts and policy.  Dr. Bendtsen and Professor Richardson’s success with the VMP-250 has resulted in some additional funding to add a fluorometer/turbidity sensor to their VMP-250 instrument.  This is good news for Rockland and their customer base as Jørgen is well positioned to perform novel science with high resolution measurements of chlorophyll-a and turbidity taken very close to the shear probes.





Ocean Turbulence Workshop in South Africa Lead by Rockland Microstructure Specialists


“UKZN’s Department of Civil Engineering held the first ever workshop on Ocean Turbulence in South Africa.

The workshop was facilitated by Derek Stretch, Professor for Environmental Fluid Mechanics, with funding provided through an Office of Naval Research (ONR) global grant.

Turbulence at microstructure scales (a centimetre or less) is an important mechanism for mixing in the ocean where regions of enhanced turbulence can influence the entire marine food web. Turbulence is, however, difficult to measure and requires very sensitive and specialised equipment and highly skilled scientists to process and interpret the data.” Read More


Rockland and Alseamar Show Results of the Partnership Signed at Oceanology Intl. 2016.

London, UK, March 13, 2018 – Rockland and Alseamar are proud to show the results of their recent partnership.  At the previous OI 2016, both companies agreed on a joint R&D program to develop a turbulence sensor payload for the Alseamar SeaExplorer glider.  The first customer conducted successful deployments with the sensor payload, the MicroRider-SE, on the SeaExplorer in June and winter of 2017. At OI 2018, a demonstration model of glider and sensor payload will be on display at the Alseamar stand.

In June 2017, a research team from the Atmosphere & Ocean Research Institute (AORI) of the University of Tokyo successfully deployed a SeaExplorer in the Kuroshio current, collecting microstructure turbulence data, amongst other parameters. The SeaExplorer was able to smoothly navigate in one of the strongest current on Earth, with surface velocities sometimes up to four knots, with a large sensor payload. In addition to the flight dynamics, the one litre buoyancy engine of the SeaExplorer proved helpful when facing strong density gradients.

AORI’s SeaExplorer is fitted with the MicroRider-SE payload (for turbulence), a Nortek Signature ADCP (for currents), a WetLabs Triplet (for Chlorophyll-a, Turbidity and CDOM), as well as a CT sensor and a Rinko optical DO sensor (from JFE Advantech, for temperature, salinity and oxygen).

Major innovations for the SeaExplorer MicroRider-SE turbulence package are the low footprint integration of the microstructure probes in the front nose cone of the glider and the addition of an EM current sensor (velocimeter) to directly measure the axial speed of the glider.

Data collected are now being processed by AORI team with ROCKLAND support, and are part of a wider study on turbulent mixing generated by the Kuroshio current.

Figure 1 : The AORI SeaExplorer’s path along the Kuroshio current
(red pins are waypoints the glider was asked to follow / white pins are actual glider surfacings)


Figure 2 : The MicroRider-SE (MR-SE) payload for SeaExplorer, a joint development between AORI, ALSEAMAR and Rockland Scientific


Figure 3 : The SeaExplorer from AORI

Boaty McBoatface uses MicroRider to observe mixing under 600m thick ice shelf in the Antarctic

“Boaty McBoatface” has executed its most daring dive yet.

The nation’s favourite yellow submarine swam under a near-600m thick ice shelf in the Antarctic, returning safely to its launch ship after 48 hours away.

It was an important test for the novel autonomous vehicle, which was developed at the UK’s National Oceanography Centre (NOC).

Boaty’s handlers now plan even more arduous expeditions for the sub in the years ahead. Read More

InSTREAM Project Characterizes and Models Turbulence from Tank Test to Tidal Channel

The recently completed InSTREAM project assessed fundamental differences in turbulent flow measured in the field, generated in a tank and simulated in a numerical model

To mitigate the risk and uncertainty associated with turbulent flows in tidal channels, developers often use tank experiments and numerical simulations to assess the power and loading performance of a turbine. However, it remains unclear if these controlled flows can be accurately scaled up to represent the natural turbulence present in tidal channels.

The InSTREAM project compared numerical simulations (centre) that represented measured turbulent flow regimes in the field (left) and in the laboratory (right).

The difficulty in translating between model, tank and field environments motivated the In-Situ Turbulence Replication, Evaluation And Measurement (InSTREAM) project. The three-year project was conducted by a research consortium comprising six commercial and academic entities in the UK and Canada. The project was given the prestigious EUREKA designation, and was co-funded by the Offshore Energy Research Association and InnovateUK. More information can be found on the Eureka project page

The main goal of the InSTREAM project was to determine the appropriate scaling between the turbulent flow conditions in a tank and in a tidal channel, so that numerical simulations of such
flows can be used to estimate uncertainties on turbine performance. The project included the development of a sensor system that combined acoustic (Doppler), and non-acoustic (electro-magnetic and shear probe) technology to create a system that could be used in both laboratory and field applications. The system was successfully deployed at the FloWaveTT Energy Research Facility and in the Minas Passage, Bay of Fundy. Numerical simulations – representing the measured tank and field conditions – were then performed.

As expected, the InSTREAM project found significant differences between the turbulence characteristics in the tank and in the field. The 3D eddies observed in the field were, in relative terms, about three times larger than those generated in the tank, resulting in considerable differences in power and fatigue loading. A scaling method has been developed to allow direct comparison and translation between the two flow regimes. This scaling greatly increases the usefulness of tank testing and numerical modeling, and can be reproduced for other test tanks. It also allows site-specific field measurements to be translated to tank experiments, enabling numerical models (validated by tank experiments) to be used for reliable and realistic estimation of turbine and array performance.

Ocean Microstructure Glider Workshop, OMG 2018, Bermuda, May 28 – June 1, 2018

OMG 2018 is a specialized training program for Rockland turbulence measurement systems that are integrated with ocean gliders.

OMG 2018 will be hosted by the Mid-Atlantic Glider Initiative & Collaboration (MAGIC) at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences. Training will be optimized for both scientists and technicians and facilitated by instrument specialists from Rockland Scientific.

Fees to attend OMG 2018 are $1,650 USD and do not include transportation & accommodation. Please contact jeremy_at_rocklandscientific.com to register. Dormitory room & board at BIOS is also available.

For details click here to see the RSI OMG 2018 Flyer

Day 1, May 28
• The Turbulence Mixer Kick-Off
Reception (evening)

Day 2, May 29 Classroom
• Overview of OMG Measurement System
• Ocean Microstructure Measurement Theory & Sensors
• Data Acquisition Software
• Pre-Deployment Checks

Day 3, May 30 Field Day
• Field measurements with OMG
(separation into two groups)
• Group 1 morning
• Group 2 afternoon

Day 4, May 31 Classroom
• Post Cruise Maintenance
• Data Conversion and Processing
• Special Topics Presentation (afternoon)
• Guest Speaker TBD
• OMG Banquet Dinner (evening)

Day 5, June 1 Breakout Rooms
• Advanced Data Processing and Analysis
• For Scientists
• Advanced Troubleshooting
• For Technicians
• Special Topics Presentations (afternoon)
• Guest Speakers TBD

Challenging the Loop: Characterizing of the Loop Current System (LCS) in the Gulf of Mexico

As part of the Oceans Sciences Meeting 2018, Portland OR, this town hall event will unveil recommendations and next steps towards improving the characterization of the LCS, based on findings from the Committee on Advancing Understanding of Gulf of Mexico Loop Current Dynamics. Rockland Scientific is proudly co-sponsoring this event held at the Portland Convention Center, Oregon Ball Room 201, February 14, 2018 18:00 – 20:00. For details see attached flyer.

LCEA MTS Town Hall and Panel

Ocean Turbulence Workshop : 22 – 26 January 2018

With support from the ONR-Global  program, the Environmental Fluid Mechanics Lab at UKZN, in collaboration with Rockland Scientific, is organizing a training workshop on Ocean Turbulence in January 2018. Rockland’s Dr Rolf Leuck, a leading international expert on the measurement of ocean microstructure,  will lead the workshop. The course deals with both theoretical and practical aspects of understanding and measuring ocean microstructure associated with turbulent mixing. The attached flyer contains more detailed information and a link to a web site with an on-line registration process.

UKNZ particularly encourages graduate students to attend but all interested researchers are welcome to participate.

Detailed information and registration at: https://katrintirok.github.io/TurbulenceWorkshop/

For more information: UKZN Ocean Turbulence workshop

Rockland Announced as Industry Partner to build 11,000m rated Hadal Water Column Profiler

On Monday the W.M. Keck Foundation announced USD $1.2M of funding to build a Hadal Water Column Profiler (HWCP) that will permit new exploration and understanding of the ocean’s deepest regions.

This uniquely capable profiling instrument will, for the first time:

• enable high quality physical, chemical, and biological sampling of the water column from the sea surface to the seafloor at 11km (36,000 ft) depth;
• withstand hundreds of cycles in and out of hadal pressures; and
• provide observations needed to illuminate important and vexing problems, such as how the deep ocean trenches are ventilated.

This three-year project will be lead by the University of Hawaií Mānoa, involving a highly qualified team of scientists, engineers and technicians from the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology.  The UH Mānoa team includes Dr. Glenn Carter, a physical oceanographer who made the first turbulent mixing measurements in the ~5km deep Samoan Passage, the primary flow pathway of Antarctic Bottom Water into the North Pacific; Dr. Jeffrey Drazen, a deep-sea ecologist and a founding member of the Hadal Ecosystems Studies (HADES) program and chief scientist for a hadal cruise to the Mariana Trench; Dr. Bruce Howe, the lead investigator on the Aloha Cabled Observatory, the deepest such observatory in the world; and Dr. Chris Measures, a chemical oceanographer who was one of the authors of the international GEOTRACES Science Plan.

HWCP industry partners include Rockland Scientific Inc., who will provide a custom turbulence sensor payload, and Ron Allum Deepsea Services who will provide the flotation, pressure tolerant batteries and design consulting. Rockland has previously supplied UH Mānoa with a 6000m Deep Ocean Vertical Microstructure Profiler profiler and Ron Allum was lead engineer and co-designer of the Deepsea Challenger, which took James Cameron to the Challenger Deep in the Marianas Trench in 2012.

The complete UH Foundation news release can be found here

HWCP Concept Drawing

Well-Attended Inaugural China Ocean Turbulence Workshop (COTW 2017) Comes to a Close

QINGDAO, CHINA, November 3, 2017 – Rockland Scientific Inc. (Rockland), in cooperation with partners JFE Advantech (JFE) and Ocean Science & Technology Company, Inc. (OST-Qingdao), have successfully concluded the inaugural China Ocean Turbulence Workshop (COTW) in Qingdao this week.  The 2017 COTW, with 45 delegates, brought together a wide range of Rockland instrument users from across China.  A comprehensive functional training course covered the design, operation, maintenance and data processing for VMP-250, VMP-500 and VMP-X, as well as the MicroRider-1000 used on the Petrel-II ocean glider, developed by Tianjin University.  There were four instructors from Rockland Scientific and JFE Advantech, while OST-Qingdao organized and facilitated the large event.

In addition to hands-on training, Rockland Scientific opened a two-week “pop-up” service workshop to perform instrument inspections, maintenance and repair at the OST-Qingdao office.  Rockland’s Chinese customers were eager to take advantage of this new service initiative.  The “pop-up” workshop also provided the opportunity for Rockland to interact with customers directly regarding service issues and further train OST-Qingdao technical staff to increase their service capabilities in-country.

The next China Ocean Turbulence Workshop is scheduled for 2018.  COTW 2018 will be expanded to include scientific presentations and panel discussions from Chinese and international microstructure turbulence researchers.  For more information, or to be notified of details as they become available, please contact info@rocklandscientific.com