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Commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command (CNMOC)

ALTO says Hello

by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Maci Sternod
17 June 2022 USS Tripoli’s Aerographer’s Mates deployed the first of five buoys in the western Pacific Ocean, May 14.

The buoy is an Autonomous Lagrangian Thermometric Observer (ALTO), a subsurface device provided by the Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVOCEANO) that drifts through the water, surfacing periodically to transmit oceanographic data via satellite. Once deployed by either ship or aircraft, ALTO will provide several years of completely automated measurements of ocean temperatures, salinity and currents.

The Naval Meteorology and Oceanography community collects global oceanographic and meteorological data that are ingested into models which support naval operations. ALTO buoys are programmed to descend to a pre-determined depth between 1,000 and 1,200 meters and stay at that depth for up to four days then collect oceanographic data while ascending back to the surface to transmit the data to NAVOCEANO.

“Previously, these buoys have been deployed from planes or ships at slower speeds,” said Lt. William Venden, Tripoli’s Assistant Meteorological and Oceanographic (METOC) officer. “We are testing the new deployment crate so that larger vessels at higher speeds can deploy the buoys with minimal impact to daily operations during buoy deployment.”

Deploying the ALTOs is another first for Tripoli and will help the fleet as a whole by providing critical oceanographic information in support of Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Surface Warfare (SUW).

“These buoys provide real world data that are assimilated into the mathematical models to ensure the accuracy of the models. The more real world data or observations in the model, the more accurate our forecasts,” said Lt. Cmdr. Amanda Fromm, Tripoli’s METOC Officer. “The ocean and the atmosphere are linked together so the more accurate we can be with one, the more accurate we can be with both, and that’s why these buoys and their data are so important. The environment plays such a critical role and accurate forecasts are essential to successful naval operations in air, on land, and at sea.”

The buoys will be deployed in data or observation sparse areas in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility during Tripoli’s maiden deployment.

“I am very proud to be contributing to Naval Meteorology and Oceanography data collection,” said Aerographer’s Mate 1st Class Ian Krueger. “Operations start with us in the preparation of the environment and having battlespace awareness. The Tripoli Battle METOC team’s contribution today will have lasting effects for years to come and that’s really nice.”
Tripoli is operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations to enhance interoperability with allies and partners and serve as a ready response force to defend peace and maintain stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

For more information about Tripoli, head to the command’s Facebook ( and Instagram ( pages.
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