NOAA Teacher at Sea
Onboard USCGC Healy
August 7 – September 16, 2009
Mission: U.S.-Canada 2009 Arctic Seafloor Continental Shelf Survey
Location: Beaufort Sea, north of the arctic circle
Date: September 6, 2009
Weather Data from the Bridge
Latitude: 760 51’N
Longitude: 1380 54’W
Science Party Profile—Rachel Soraruf: Working For NOAA
Are you the kind of kid who buys rocks when you visit a museum gift shop? When you walk down the beach – is your head down searching for shells and stones? If so, maybe you should consider studying geology in college. Rachel Soraruf was one of those kids and now she works for NOAA. This year, NOAA sent her to the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping/Joint Hydrographic Center (CCOM/JHC) at the University of New Hampshire. (That’s a mouthful!!) At CCOM, she is a graduate student learning about the latest technologies in ocean mapping.
Rachel decided to major in Geology during her sophomore year at Mt. Holyoke College. According to Rachel, geology is a fun major because you get to “Do What You Learn”. In addition, there are lots of field trips that complement your lab and classroom work. Her next educational move was to earn a Masters Degree in Geosciences from the University of Massachusetts. By studying the geochemistry of a stalagmite for her thesis (final project) – Rachel was able to look back 5,000 years and determine climate changes that occurred over the centuries.
FOR MY STUDENTS: Have you ever gone caving? Did you know stalagmites could reveal climate history?
Rachel has always liked the idea of “science with a purpose” – and NOAA offers her just that. Her job is to plan the field seasons for NOAA vessels as they update the Hydrographic Charts of the waters around the United States. People’s lives depend on these charts. In order to safely navigate an oil tanker, cruise ship or fishing vessel – up to date charts are essential. The work she does makes a difference. It truly is science with a purpose.
Today we are in an area with thin ice and 10-12 foot swells. It is an amazing sight to see the ice on the surface of the Arctic Ocean rolling with the swells. The Captain reminded us to tie down our possessions so that cameras and laptops wouldn’t go flying off our desks. It was good advice! I had not closed my file cabinet drawers completely and they were opening and closing as the ship rolled with the swells. I brought seasickness patches and pressure point wristbands to help me in case of seasickness and used them both today.