SOCCOM Project Year 3 Update

  • This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  Project Manager, SOCCOM Project
  • November 2016

The Southern Ocean Carbon & Climate Observations and Modeling (SOCCOM) Project is starting its third season of deploying autonomous biogeochemical floats to make sustained observations of the carbon cycle. SOCCOM is working to transform our understanding of the Southern Ocean by creating a network of these robotic floats, as well as carrying out shipboard measurements, developing instruments and sensors, and working on data analysis. Such analysis including state estimation in conjunction with a high-resolution earth system modeling program. SOCCOM is funded by the National Science Foundation’s Division of Polar Programs, with additional support from NOAA and NASA.

SOCCOM currently has 51 floats equipped with nitrate, oxygen, pH, and bio-optical sensors operating in the Southern Ocean (see map). Data from these floats is made freely available to the public in near-real time. In Year 3 of the project, float deployments are planned in cooperation with the National Science Foundation and several international partners. This will add an additional 43 biogeochemical floats to the SOCCOM network, bringing our total almost halfway to our goal of ~200 floats. 

SOCCOM Deployment Plan

Figure 1: SOCCOM Deployment Planning

SOCCOM’s partners for the 2016-2017 cruise season include:

US GO-SHIP: P18 (Ron Brown, U.S.)
JAMSTEC: P17 (Mirai, Japan)
US GO-SHIP: P6, NBP-06 and -07 (R/V Nathaniel B. Palmer, U.S.)

NBP17-01 and -04 (PIPERS) (R/V Nathaniel B. Palmer, U.S.)

In addition to expanding our observational network, SOCCOM has made substantial progress in our state estimation and modeling efforts. A biogeochemical Southern Ocean State Estimate (B-SOSE) has been developed and an optimized solution for 2008-2012 will soon be available at (extensive validation documentation is available here).  

The modeling team has developed algorithms for pH and alkalinity that enable the quantification of the carbon system from standard biogeochemical floats, and as a proxy in coupled climate models with simplified or no biogeochemical modules. Observing system simulation experiments have been completed for carbon using both the new state estimation and coupled climate model simulations. In addition, the groundwork for a Southern Ocean Model Intercomparison Project (SOMIP) has been laid, and participants for the SOMIP are currently being recruited.

For more information about the SOCCOM project and any of these initiatives, please visit the SOCCOM website or contact us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


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