Nancy Lewis, September 20, 2003

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Nancy Lewis
Onboard NOAA Ship Ka’imimoana
September 15 – 27, 2003

Mission: Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO)/TRITON
Geographical Area: Western Pacific
Date: September 20, 2003


2015  Deep CTD


0100:  pH Profiler

0800:  Deploy CO2 Buoy

1600:  .5 N CTD

2000:  1 N CTD and SOLO

Weather  Observation Log:  0100

Latitude: 0 degrees, 1.9′ S
Longitude:  139 degrees,  49.7 W
Visibility:  12 nautical miles (nm)
Wind direction:  120 degrees
Wind speed:  15 knots
Sea wave height:  3-5 feet
Swell wave height:  4-6 feet
Sea water temperature:  26.1 degrees C
Sea level pressure:  1-12.0 mb
Dry bulb pressure:  26.3 degrees C
Wet bulb pressure:  24.0 degrees C
Cloud cover:  48 Cumulus, altocumulus, cirrus


Science and Technology Log

Last evening  there was a deep cast of the CTD to a depth of 4000 meters.  Tom Nolan and I packed lots of styrofoam cups  that had been decorated by students in mesh bags, as well as several foam wig heads that had been artistically painted by Kamaka.  These bags we attached to the CTD.   The idea was to see what would happen to these cups when subjected to the pressures of the ocean at that extreme depth.  The effect was quite interesting. The cups were scrunched, the heads shrunken, but all in perfect  proportion.   As you can see from the Plan of the Day, 2 other CTD casts were done today, both at the regular 1000 foot depth.

The pH Profiler is a prototype instrument designed and being tested here by scientists from the University of South Florida, Renate Bernstein and Xuewu (Sherwood) Liu.  The purpose of their work is the development of precise, accurate, simple, robust and inexpensive CO2-system measurement procedures for use in global CO2 investigations on NOAA vessels.    What they are trying to do is to assess the accuracy, precision and overall performance of the University of South Florida systems compared to the systems used by NOAA over the past 15 years.  From what I have gathered so far in talking to these scientists,  they are not happy about the performance of their instrument.

Let me address the question of AOML drifters.  AOML stands for Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, and these are surface drifting buoys which are deployed by simply tossing them off the fantail of the ship.  They are tracked by the Argos satellite and provide SST (Sea Surface Temperature) and mixed layer current information.  There is a global array of these drifters and they provide ground truth for NOAA’s polar orbiting satellite AVHRR SST maps.  Please email Craig or check out for more information concerning the AOML drifters.

Lewis 9-20-03 drifter buoy
AOML drifters buoys are deployed by simply tossing them off the fantail of the ship.

Personal Log

Before leaving Hawaii, I told all my students that it was going to be extremely hot and humid here at the equator.  Surprisingly enough for me, that has not been the case at all.  It  has been actually quite pleasant outside, and of course, there is always a sea breeze blowing.  Inside the ship is sometimes like an icebox, especially in the computer lab which is kept at 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

The ship’s doctor, Michelle Pelkey, affectionately known as “Doc” runs the ship’s store every evening from 0730 to 0800.  Already I have bought a T-shirt and Aloha shirt emblazoned with the NOAA insignia and KA’IMIMOANA.   They also sell soft drinks, popcorn, hats and other sundry items.

Doc is also the ship’s recreation director, and has pressed everyone to sign up for tournaments in cribbage, darts, Scrabble, and a card game called Sequence.

My evening tonight was spent doing a CTD cast from start to finish with Tom, my colleague from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  Tom has written down every step of the procedure, and we were editing  his instructions during the entire procedure. Randy must have had a lot of faith in us, because we did the whole CTD cast without his help.  The last thing to do on the CTD cast is to hose off the rosette, and I got soaked in the process.  Looks like it is a good time to call it a day!
Question of the Day:

What event occurs this year on September 23rd and what is its significance?

Until tomorrow,

Nancy Lewis

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