Jacquelyn Hams: 3 December 2011

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Jackie Hams
Aboard R/V Roger Revelle
November 6 — December 10, 2011

Mission: Project DYNAMO
Geographical area of cruise: Leg 3, Eastern Indian Ocean

Date: December 3, 2011

Weather Data from the R/V Revelle Meteorological Stations

Time: 0930
Wind Direction: 232.10
Wind Speed (m/s): 3.4
Air Temperature (C): 27.7
Relative Humidity: 77%
Dew Point: (C): 23.7
Precipitation (mm): 42.2

PAR (Photosynthetically Active Radiation (microeinsteins): 1942.5

Long Wave Radiation (w/m2): 409.3
Short Wave Radiation (w/m2): 373.1

Surface Water Temperature (C): 28.70
Sound Velocity: 1541.5
Salinity (ppm): 33.7
Fluorometer (micrograms/l): 0.3
Dissolved Oxygen (mg/l): 2.4
Water Depth (m): 4422

Wave Data from WAMOS Xband radar

Wave Height (m) 0.5
Wave Period (s): 7.4
Wavelength (m): 86
Wave Direction: 1140

Science and Technology Log

Surface Fluxes Group

The Surface Fluxes group consists of James Edson, University of Connecticut, Ludovic Bariteau, University of Colorado Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), and June Marion, Oregon State University. This group measures the amount of radiation and heat into and out of the ocean and was covered in the November 12, 2011 blog posting.

The purpose of this posting is to highlight the work of Ludovic Bariteau who is measuring the carbon dioxide flux between the atmosphere and ocean. For redundancy and testing, the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is measured with several infrared instruments pictured below. Two of the instruments are in the pilot stage and were developed for this research cruise. The equipment used for measuring carbon dioxide in seawater is done in collaboration with Wade McGillis from Lamont-Doherty-Earth Observatory (LDEO). Ludovic plans to refine the instrumentation based on the pilot test. The carbon dioxide data will be correlated with surface flux data to present a complete picture of ocean atmosphere fluxes.

Photograph of flux instruments.
Photograph of flux instruments on the mast. The instruments measuring air CO2 are indicated by the black arrows. Image credit: James Edson.
Ludovic Bariteau in front of instrument to measure carbon dioxide fluxes.
Ludovic Bariteau in front of the specialized instrument to measure carbon dioxide fluxes between the ocean and atmosphere.
Closeup of carbon dioxide flux instrument.
The above photograph is a close-up of the apparatus used to measure the carbon dioxide content in the ocean water.
Ludovic Bariteau pointing to CO2 measurement device.
Photograph of Ludovic Bariteau pointing to one of the air CO2 measurement devices in the pilot stage.


Data printout of Carbon dioxide values of air and water measured from instrumentation aboard the Revelle provided courtesy of Ludovic Bariteau
Data printout of Carbon dioxide values of air and water measured from instrumentation aboard the Revelle provided courtesy of Ludovic Bariteau


What about the MJO?

Previous postings described the work being done by the 7 science groups and the instrumentation being used to measure the various characteristics of the ocean-atmosphere interaction that may be part of the active phase of the MJO. Readers of this blog may be asking the same question that some of my students are now asking, “Did you experience the MJO?”

Data collected to date by the science groups suggests that we experienced an active MJO phase. Although It will take years to analyze and correlate the data collected from the various organizations involved in Project DYNAMO, the Revelle experienced high winds, colder surface water surface temperatures, and the intermittent storms separated by quiescent periods that are believed to accompany the active phase of the MJO. Based on initial data this active phase may have occurred between the approximate dates of Nov. 24 through Dec.2.

Wyrtki Jet Current

Before discussing the effects of the MJO on Indian Ocean circulation, it is useful to provide a brief background on the currents in the Indian Ocean which are more complicated than those in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans in several ways:

  • Indian Ocean currents are poorly defined
  • They are influenced by the presence of the Eurasian continent
  • They are more variable than the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean currents. Some Indian Ocean currents vary with the seasons. For example, on the top diagram below, notice there are two unnamed gyres located in the northern hemisphere west and east of India.

Diagram of Indian Ocean Currents

The Revelle left station on December 2, and began north south transects across the equator to delineate the extent and the speed of the Wyrtki Jet Current. The Wyrtki Jet is a narrow jet-like surface current that flows eastward during the transition periods between the Northeast and Southwest Monsoon currents and is believed to accompany the active phase of the MJO.

A summary of the monsoon system in the Indian Ocean taken from the pdf version of Regional Oceanography: An Introduction by Tomczak and Godfrey. The Wyrtki Jet may be the Equatorial Jet identified on the below diagram.

Wyrtki jet speeds of 150 cm/s eastward at the surface were identified during the cruise.  In addition a current flowing westward was identified at a depth of 100 m. The purpose of the transects is to delineate the lateral and vertical extents of these currents.  The currents are measured using four Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCPs) located in the hull of the ship (these are Doppler sonars, analogous to Doppler radar and lidar measurements discussed in previous blogs).

Personal Log

I worked the winch for the last drop of Chameleon on Leg 3 of Project DYNAMO aboard the R/V Revelle.  I must say that I am proud of my work as a “Winch Winder”.  In the past 5 weeks, I experienced a range of emotions regarding the winch.  I initially felt fearful of working solo on such a valuable instrument. Once I began working solo, I was still intimidated because the winds and currents are so variable at the equator. Intimidation was finally replaced by competence after operating the instrument in 40 knot winds without slamming it into the ship! Aurelie Moulin was kind enough to shoot this video of me just before Chameleon was pulled out of the water on the last drop.

I would like to share my interview with Jude Irza, Ordinary Seaman aboard the R/V Revelle who provides extremely thoughtful advice and insight regarding career choices and preparation that may be helpful not only for students unsure of their future, but for those who may desire a career change at any stage in life.

Photograph of Jude Irza

Question: What made you decide on a career in this field?

 That question is straight forward enough but my answer is a little bit convoluted.  I never woke up one day and decided that I wanted to become a Merchant Marine and work on Oceanographic Ships.  In fact, I have been fortunate to have had two careers before this one:  Naval Officer and Finance Manager.  Here’s how I embarked on my first two careers.

 First, I attended college on a Naval Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Scholarship.  After college, I went to Flight School in Pensacola, Florida, and flew as a navigator in the United States Navy.  While in the Navy, I decided to expand my horizons and earn a Masters in Business Administration. While completing my MBA, I decided that a career in finance would be challenging and rewarding.  So I resigned my commission and I worked at a large telecom company in San Diego.  Later, I had the opportunity to join a telecom start-up and later a consulting company.   Although I enjoyed working in finance for fifteen years, I was ready to do something exciting and different.  I had always thought working as an Officer in the Merchant Marine would be fun. Expecting to be too old for this career, I was surprised and pleased when my research uncovered a new program where I could go to sea and work towards a Third Mate License through a two-year program offered by the Pacific Maritime Institute (PMI) in Seattle, Washington.  So, approximately two years ago, I joined the program and was partnered with the Scripps Institute of Oceanography.  I joined the R/V Revelle as an Ordinary Seaman.  Already, this is my fourth trip on the R/V Revelle and I am close to finishing PMI’s program.  I hope to take my Coast Guard License exams next summer and have my 1600 ton 3rd Mate License shortly thereafter.

 Question:  What are the positives and negatives of this line of work?

 The exact nature of the work depends on what billet or position one is filling and to an extent that determines the positives and negatives.  For example, an Ordinary Seaman like me spends most of the time cleaning, removing rust and painting.  Work is performed both inside and outside of the ship.  Mates, however, are Merchant Marine Officers, and spend most of their time standing watch, on the bridge of the ship.  Most, if not all, merchant mariners would agree that being able to travel and see the world are positives in this line of work.  The biggest negative is separation from family members for months at a time.  Typically, at Scripps, we are out to sea for eight months out of twelve.  Moreover, especially at the lower level positions, the work can be arduous and sometimes monotonous.

 Question:  What advice would you give students who are unsure of their career goals?

 I would give students five pieces of advice:

1. Get Information and Prerequisites – Get on the internet and research the careers in which you might be interested.  Learn about what qualifications and prerequisites are necessary for each career.  Try to find a person who is in that career and ask them good questions.  Be realistic, but also look for unconventional pathways.

 2. Inventory your Skills and Abilities – Try to determine what you enjoy doing and what you are good at.  Try and see what careers other people chose that have your talents and abilities.

 3. Get Real-World Experience – Try and experience careers directly without investing too much time and energy by taking a part-time, internship or volunteer position.  You’ll learn an enormous amount by working alongside other people.

 4.  Change your Career if you find that it is not Right for You – Some people, including myself, are not suited to only one career.  Don’t be afraid to try something new if you no longer find enjoyment in your current line of work.  But be financially responsible and try to not incur too much debt especially in your younger years.  You want to keep your options open and debt can limit options.

 5.  You are Never Too Old to Start Again – I am forty-five years old, but feel energized doing something new.  I don’t know if I will be in this career ten years from now, but I am certainly enjoying it now.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: