Christine Hedge, August 18, 2009

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Christine Hedge
Onboard USCGC Healy
August 7 – September 16, 2009 

Mission: U.S.-Canada 2009 Arctic Seafloor Continental Shelf Survey
Location: Chukchi Sea, north of the arctic circle
Date: August 18, 2009

Weather Data from the Bridge   
Lat: 800 32’N
Long: 1540 04’ W
Temp:  28.720 F

Science and Technology Log 

Mrs. Hedge fills the weather balloon
Mrs. Hedge fills the weather balloon

Twice each day, AG1 (Aerographers mate 1st class) Richard Lemkuhl launches a weather balloon. Today, at 6 AM I assisted with the launch. The balloon is filled with helium and attached to a device powered by a 9-volt battery. The weather balloon sends back temperature, pressure, and humidity data along with GPS derived winds to a radio receiver on the bridge of the Healy. This profile of the atmospheric conditions can be injected into global weather models to help predict the weather. On the Healy we use this information for flight operations (the helicopter). Helicopters, ships, and planes all need current weather conditions to navigate safely.  Data from weather balloons can help determine if there might be icing, turbulence, wind driven ice or the possibility of thunderstorms.

FOR MY STUDENTS: All kinds of scientists use models to help explain, predict, and understand the world around them. Can you think of a model you have used in science? 

Radio Receiver on the bridge of the Healy
Radio Receiver on the bridge of the Healy

AG1 Lemkuhl works for the Naval Maritime Forecast Center in Norfolk, Virginia. He is part of a group of U. S. Navy personnel on board the Healy to better understand how to operate Navy vessels in the Arctic. The dynamic weather patterns he experienced as a child in Oklahoma sparked his interest in meteorology.  His very first weather balloon was launched in 8th grade under the watchful eyes of Mrs. Stevens, his science teacher in Clarksville, Tennessee. AG1 enjoyed learning about Earth Science as a middle school student, which lead to studying geography and climatology in college.  The Navy has added to his education and after a year of school he is currently an Assistant Operational Meteorologist.

FOR MY STUDENTS:  What have you studied in school that has sparked your interest? 

Personal Log 

AG1 Lemkuhl holding the weather balloon instrument
AG1 Lemkuhl holding the weather balloon instrument

Yesterday the sun came out and the sky was blue.  What a difference that blue sky made!  There isn’t much color in the Arctic – especially when it is foggy.  The inside of the ship is tan. The ice and sky are white. Blue sky brought more people out on deck just to enjoy the color change.  We also saw more seals out on the ice. Could it be that they like to bask in the sun as well?

Today, as we backed and rammed through 2.5 meters of ice, I saw my first fish!  They were small, about the size of my palm.  Could these be the Arctic Cod I have read about??

FOR MY STUDENTS: Look at my current latitude.  What day will the sun finally set at this latitude???

AG1 Lemkuhl shows Mrs. Hedge how to launch a weather balloon.
AG1 Lemkuhl shows Mrs. Hedge how to launch a weather balloon.
Blue Sky in the Arctic! This is the CCGS Louis S. St. Laurent. The Healy is breaking ice for her.
Blue Sky in the Arctic! This is the CCGS Louis S. St. Laurent. The Healy is breaking ice for her.

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