Physical and bio-optical measurements carried out onboard autonomous profiling floats are used to study the dynamics of river plumes. The objective is to complement satellite observations limited to surface waters and get information within the water column (thickness of river plumes, nepheloid layers, settling of particles, resuspension phenomena).

It is expected to retrieve information on the three-dimensional dynamics of terrestrial substances (such as suspended particles and coloured dissolved organic matter) combining satellite and field autonomous observations.

The selected study areas are the Beaufort Sea (Arctic Ocean), Gulf of Lion (Med. Sea), Bay of Biscay and Amazon continental shelf (Atlantic Ocean), respectively influenced by the Mackenzie, Rhône, Gironde and Amazon river plumes.

The project started in 2009 and will end in 2011. It is financed by Mercator-Coriolis and CNES-TOSCA.