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History of the Bathythermograph

Discussion in 'Marine Science & Conservation' started by tursiops, May 11, 2020.

  1. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
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    The bathythermograph, or BT. was developed prior to WWII to measure temperature profiles in the open ocean, while underway, for ocean surveying. It became invaluable during WWII to allow estimation of sound speed profiles and calculation of sonar ranges, for antisubmarine warfare from surface ships.

    The really interesting history of the BT is attached.

    It was not superseded until the development of an expendable BT (XBT) in the early 1960's (I got to use one of these first in 1967); but by the early 1970s there were more XBT profiles than BT profiles being taken, all from ships crossing the oceans. The ships, however, were a problem; they were expensive to operate, and did not go all the places from which you wanted to have profiles. The work of global coverage of the oceans with profiles of temperature and salinity (and today, also including biogeochemical instruments) is now done by autonomous profiling floats (robots!) called Argo; no ships except to put the floats in...they drift around with the large ocean currents. The project started in 2000, is international, involves about 80 floats being deployed each year, each lasting about 5 years. The data are radioed by satellite back to shore stations.

    It all started with the BT.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. WeRtheOcean

    WeRtheOcean Contributor

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    I was a sonar man in the US Navy, and I deployed many an XBT. It was fairly standard to take a temperature profile in this manner before any major exercise involving sonar, to get an idea of sound channels and other tactically important information. If you know you're going to have to track a submarine, it helps to have an idea of how likely you are to find it.
     
  3. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

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    The XBT was actually developed for that purpose.....the focus was on temperature (and thus sound speed) gradients more so than accurate temperatures.
     
  4. Hoyden

    Hoyden IDC Staff Instructor

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    Hey Tursiops, do you remember when we had an ARGO on display in the entry way at the aquarium? It was a few years ago.
     
  5. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: U.S. East Coast
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    Actually, I don't. When was that?
    I had the fun while at ONR in the late 1980s of funding one of the early Argo development efforts.
    And, to be absolutely correct, it is Argo, a name, not ARGO, an acronym. It was a name meant to be associated with Jason's ship, Argo, in the Greek mythology. Jason was the name of the NASA satellite that gave sea-surface height. And to be absolutely absolutely correct, it was originally JASON, an acronym, not Jason, the name it has become. Total trivia.
     
  6. Akimbo

    Akimbo Just a diver Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

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    The US Navy has (had?) a tendency to use all caps for non-acronym project names -- SEALAB is an example I am familiar with that always bugged me. I suspect it is from the typewriter days when bold, italics, and hyperlinks weren't available for visual emphasis. As I recall, underlining was reserved for published titles.

    SCUBA began as a true acronym in the Navy (coined by an Army officer) for closed circuit pure O2 rebreathers. It mysteriously became the verb and noun "Scuba" somewhere along the line and used almost exclusively for open circuit "Aqua Lung" style units.
     
  7. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
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    LOL. Not to mention starting with a cool name and then figuring out an acronym to fit it....
     
    Akimbo likes this.
  8. Akimbo

    Akimbo Just a diver Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

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    True, but they sure had a cool logo.
    upload_2020-6-1_15-19-55.png

    And then there's the Seabees, derived from CB or Construction Battalion. They also had a logo I always liked, but maybe because my dad was one.

    upload_2020-6-1_15-23-35.png
     
    Dark Wolf likes this.

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