Debra Brice, November 25, 2003

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Debra Brice
Onboard R/V Roger Revelle
November 11-25, 2003

Debra Brice TAS 2003 on RV Roger Revelle
San Diego teacher Debra Brice on RV Roger Revelle

Mission: Ocean Observation
Geographical Area: Chilean Coast
Date: November 25, 2003

Data from the Bridge
1. 251500Z Nov 03
2. Position: LAT: 20-00.0’S, LONG: 073-36.0’W
3. Course: 090-T
4. Speed: 12.0 Kts
5. Distance: 83.7 NM
6. Steaming Time: 7H 00M
7. Station Time: 16H 00M
8. Fuel: 1661 GAL
9. Sky: OvrCst
10. Wind: 220-T, 6 Kts
11. Sea: 220-T, 1-3 Ft
12. Swell: 190-T, 4-6 Ft
13. Barometer: 1014.2 mb
14. Temperature: Air: 22.0 C, Sea 20.4 C
15. Equipment Status: NORMAL
16. Comments: Advanced clocks 1 hour @ 0500Z to conform with +3 time zone.
ETA Arica, Chile 261100Z Nov 03.

Science and Technology Log

“Oceanography is Fun.”

So Roger Revelle thought, and as I spend my last night on the ship that bears this remarkable man’s name I pause to reflect on my voyage of discovery. I have learned a great deal while I have been at sea; from the duties of a chief scientist and how to deploy a buoy to how aerosols are involved in precipitation in the atmosphere, and so much more. The experience of being hundreds of miles from shore with thousands of meters of water beneath you is indescribable. In my last log I wanted to talk about my impressions of oceanography and a little about the history of the vessel I am traveling on and what makes it so special.

The Research Vessel ROGER REVELLE is named after one of the most respected Oceanographers in the field. He was also a graduate of Scripps Institution of Oceanography and eventually, the director. I want to share a little bit of Roger Revelle the man and also the ship.

“The ocean holds me in an enduring spell. Part of the spell comes from mystery – the fourfold mystery of the shoreline, the surface, the horizon and the timeless motion of the sea. At the horizon, where my line of sight touches the edge of the great globe itself, I watch ships slowly disappear, first the hulls, then the tall masts bound on voyages to unknown ports 10,000 miles away. From beyond the horizon come the waves that break rhythmically on the beach, sounding now loud, now soft, as they did long before I was born and as they will far in the future. The restless, ever-changing ocean is timeless on a scale of life, and this also is a mystery.

Being an oceanographer is not quite the same as being a professional sailor. Oceanographers have the best of two worlds – both the sea and the land. Yet many of them find it extraordinarily satisfying to be far from the nearest coast on one of the small, oily and uncomfortable ships of their trade (the RV REVELLE is none of these things!), even in the midst of a vicious storm, let alone on those wonderful days in the tropics when the sea and the air are smiling and calm. I think the chief reason is that on shipboard both the past and the future disappear. Little can be done to remedy the mistakes of yesterday; no planning for tomorrow can reckon with the unpredictability of ships and the sea. To live in the present is the essence of being a seaman.

The work of an oceanographer, however, is inextricably related to time. To understand the present ocean he must reconstruct its history and to test and use his understanding he needs to be able to predict – both what he will find by new observations and future events in the sea.”

From “The Ocean” by Roger Revelle, Sept 1969, Scientific American

Revelle was considered as the director who took the institution to sea. He supported and encouraged and personally participated in many oceanographic voyages and deeply believed in the value of personally collected data. An oceanographer had to spend time in the ocean he studied. Even today with our satellite data and computers the data that is being collected at sea by oceanographers is absolutely irreplaceable. Oceanography is one of the few fields where you can still experience the adventure of exploration and discovery. There is still so much we do not know and for a young person is is an exciting and challenging field. With our new technology we can probe and explore more deeply and with greater accuracy than ever before, but still we need to go to sea to collect our data.

I hope that in the interviews with the scientists and crew of the REVELLE I have been able to share a little bit of the excitement and enthusiasm that these people have for what they do. Everyone I spoke with shared with me that they really enjoy the idea that their jobs, either the actual science itself or the support of the science makes them feel that they are part of a real contribution to our future knowledge. The spirit of Roger Revelle lives on in the ship that bears his name and in the scientists, like Dr. Robert Weller, who follow his dream. There is still so much left for the young oceanographers to come and I look forward to sharing this spirit of exploration and discovery with my students.

Thanks for joining me.

Debra Brice

Debra Brice, November 22, 2003

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Debra Brice
Onboard R/V Roger Revelle
November 11-25, 2003

Mission: Ocean Observation
Geographical Area: Chilean Coast
Date: November 22, 2003

Data from the Bridge
1.  221600Z Nov 03
2.  Position: LAT: 20-00.0’S, LONG: 083-44.8’W
3.  Course: 090-T
4.  Speed: 12.6 Kts
5.  Distance: 102.7 NM
6.  Steaming Time:  8H 06M
7.  Station Time:  15H 54M
8.  Fuel: 2583 GAL
9.  Sky: OvrCst
10. Wind: 140-T, 14 Kts
11. Sea: 140-T, 2-3 Ft
12. Swell: 130-T, 3-4 Ft
13. Barometer: 1015.9 mb
14. Temperature: Air: 20.0 C, Sea 19.4 C
15. Equipment Status: NORMAL
16. Comments: Deployment of surface drifter array #4 in progress.

Science and Technology Log

NOAA Climate Studies of Stratocumulus Clouds and the Air-Sea Interaction in Subtropical Cloud Belts. Today we are still underway and I am going to talk about another science group that is onboard and how their research is related to the Stratus Project. We are presently located along the coast of Northern Chile and I just finished interviewing scientist Chris Fairall with NOAA’s Environmental Technology Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado.  A group of 4 ETL scientists are participating in a study of oceanography and meteorology in a region of the ocean that is known for its persistent stratus clouds.

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has maintained a climate monitoring buoy at this location for the last 3 years.  Each year they come out to take out the old buoy and replace it with a brand new one with fresh batteries and new sensors.  A year in the marine environment takes a toll on the toughest instruments.  This is a special buoy which is festooned with atmospheric sensors to measure air-sea fluxes and with a long chain of subsurface instruments to measure ocean currents, temperature and salinity.  If you go to the WHOI website ( http://uop.whoi.edu/stratus) you can read about this project and see the data from the buoy.  The data are transmitted via satellite everyday.  WHOI removed the old buoy on Nov 17 and put in a new one on Nov 19.

Why are these clouds so important?  Because the earth’s climate is driven by energy from the sun and clouds dominate how much solar energy reaches the surface.  On average, almost 40% of the sun’s energy is reflected back into space and half of that is reflected by clouds.  In the cloudy regions more than 60% of the sun’s energy can be reflected by clouds.  The surface temperature of the ocean is a result in a near balance between solar heating and cooling by evaporation and cooling by infrared (IR) radiation from the water surface into the sky.  The global circulation of the atmosphere and ocean are driven by region differences in this net heat input, so clouds have a direct effect on the winds and currents. Cloud effects on the ocean surface energy balance are very tricky because clouds affect both the solar flux (i.e., by reflecting energy back into space) and the IR flux.  It might surprise you, but the sky is ‘warmer’ when there are low clouds present than when the sky is clear.  Think about those cold clear nights in the winter and note the ‘cold’ often appears with ‘clear’. More specifically, the IR radiation coming down from the sky is higher when clouds are present than when skies are clear.  In the tropics and sub-tropics, the solar reflection cooling effect of the clouds is much stronger than their compensating IR warming effect.  Thus, these stratus clouds play an important role in keeping the subtropical oceans cool.

The region we are studying is one of 5 stratus regions around the globe (west coast of U.S.. west coast of S. America, west coast of S. Africa, west coast of N. Africa/Europe, and the west coast of Australia) that occupy vast expanses of ocean.  Both of the pictures I attached to this log show the stratocumulus clouds in this region.  Each of these cloud types has about the same area-average liquid water content but, because of the horizontal distribution, vastly different radiative properties.  The physical processes that lead to these different forms are one of the objective of the ETL studies.

Clouds are formed through various related mechanisms; most involve cooling air to below its dew point temperature so droplets condense ( i.e., clouds are suspensions of liquid water drops with typical sizes of about 10 micrometers radius).  Convective clouds are associated with cooling in strong updrafts; fog and many mid-atmospheric clouds form when an atmospheric layer cools by IR radiation.  The stratus clouds we are studying are quite different.  The key elements are a strong atmospheric cap that traps ocean moisture in a fairly thin ( about 1 km high) boundary layer over the surface.  The stratus clouds occupy the top of the trapped layer from just below the cap to down the altitude ( cloud base height) where temperature and dew point just meet.  Below that, the relative humidity is less than 100%.  The ‘cap’ on the atmosphere boundary layer is warm/dry air descending in subtropical regions, particularly on the western boundaries of continents.  This descending air is actually driven by deep convection in the tropics.  To meteo- nerds this is an amusing paradox – cool stratus clouds off Chile and California are essentially caused by thunderstorms near the Equator.

Clouds are a pain to study because they are so inaccessible.  To get into clouds with sensors you need a really tall tower, a tall building or an aircraft.  Most of these are hard to come by 500 miles from land. Thus, most climate studies of clouds rely on remote sensing methods using satellites and surface based sensors.

ETL has deployed a suite of remote sensors on the R/V Revelle to study clouds from the bottom. The showcase sensors are a special high frequency cloud radar and a 2-frequency microwave radiometer system (this system is the attached picture of the large, white van).  This is the 6th time such sensors have ever been deployed from ships and only the second time to a stratocumulus region.  The first time was to this same spot in 2001; see the web site: http://www.etl.noaa.gov/programs/2001/epic for information on that cruise.

The radar has a wavelength of 8mm, which is so small that it is sensitive enough to receive  detectable signals from scattering cloud droplets.  With this device the ETL group can determine profiles of cloud properties ( such as size of the droplets) through the entire cloud.  The microwave radiometer uses the emissions from the atmosphere at 2 frequencies ( 21 and 31 GHz, or wavelengths of 14 and 9mm) to determine cloud base height and, most importantly, we also measure IR and solar radiative energy reaching the surface.  Instead of just looking at the cloud, they collect megabytes of data every minute.  The beauty of this set up is that they can simultaneously measure the effect the clouds have on the surface energy budget of the ocean and the cloud properties ( liquid water content, thickness, soiled versus broken, number of cloud droplets per unit volume) that go with the radiative effects.  The ETL group are only out here a few weeks each year, but their detailed measurements provide vital information to interpret long-term continuous time series measured by the buoy or inferred from satellite overpasses.

Personal Log

We are surveying for a location for the PMEL Tsunami buoy and the weather is beautiful.  Due to our heading we have lost internet connections periodically.  The food on the REVELLE  is really amazing; last night we had steak and King crab for dinner and a group of the crew and science party met in the lounge to watch a movie.  Card games and cribbage are popular in the dining room and some of us just sit outside and enjoy the sunsets.  I’m going to sleep early as I have the late watch.

Cheers

Debra Brice, November 21, 2003

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Debra Brice
Onboard R/V Roger Revelle
November 11-25, 2003

Mission: Ocean Observation
Geographical Area: Chilean Coast
Date: November 21, 2003

Data from the Bridge
1.  211600Z Nov 03
2.  Position: LAT: 20-00.0’S, LONG: 083-44.8’W
3.  Course: 090-T
4.  Speed: 12.6 Kts
5.  Distance: 102.7 NM
6.  Steaming Time:  8H 06M
7.  Station Time:  15H 54M
8.  Fuel: 2583 GAL
9.  Sky: OvrCst
10. Wind: 140-T, 14 Kts
11. Sea: 140-T, 2-3 Ft
12. Swell: 130-T, 3-4 Ft
13. Barometer: 1015.9 mb
14. Temperature: Air: 20.0 C, Sea 19.4 C
15. Equipment Status: NORMAL
16. Comments: Deployment of surface drifter array #4 in progress.

Science and Technology Log

Today we are underway to the next location which is the area of deployment for the PMEL Tsunami buoy.  I want to talk a little bit about what a Cruise Plan is and why you need one.  I have attached a picture of our latest cruise plan from Dr. Weller.  He had a very nice one ready to go well before we even boarded the ship and everyone in the science party (yes, including me) was given a copy.  Consider this the “game plan.” It can and does change  due to weather or other unforeseen factors and it is very important that the Chief Scientist makes sure that it gets revised as it is necessary to make sure we will have enough time for all of the different deployments and data collections that are planned or to modify as needed.  These cruises are very expensive; from the cost of the ship itself, to the equipment and science party, to the value of the data collected.  For the Stratus Project,  (http://uop.whoi.edu/stratus) this is the big event of the year, everything leads to this moment when the buoy and instruments are recovered and the new buoy is deployed.  Any mistakes made now could potentially result in the loss of data for a whole year.  This brings to mind the importance of really good planning for an expedition of this magnitude.  The Chief scientist has to know how much time he/she need to accomplish their project, build in a few days extra in case of weather or delays, know how much equipment to bring for the project including spare parts (just in case Murphy’s Law kicks in…which it does more often than not!).  Redundancy of equipment is essential from the project itself to the ship which has to be able to repair while on the move with extra parts it has with it or to make a part as needed (yes, they can do that!).  There are no stores out here, if you forget it or run out, you’re out of luck!  That means a year’s work and a big grant could be in danger!

Prior planning is not just a good idea, it is essential and a good Chief scientist has foreseen almost any extenuating circumstance.  There is also the importance of remaining calm and being able to come up with creative solutions to problems in the middle of an important project.  Everyone is watching the Chief scientist and takes their cues on behavior from him/her.  If something happens, they watch to see how he reacts.

The technicians and research associates in a science party need to work well together as they may be at sea for long periods of time (could be a month to several months) .  When you are at sea, 8 hour days doesn’t mean much.  You work whenever there is work to do, deployments or data collection can and do happen around the clock.  The time out here is expensive and data collection is sensitive to many different parameters.  You work seven days a week, but everyone is doing the same and it builds a sense of comradeship to be sharing the work.  Scrabble and Cribbage tournaments in off time are a big event.  Even though they work really hard out here, they all realize the value of what they do and they are here because this is what they wanted to do in life: science.  It is pretty exciting too, you never know what you might see and no matter how long you have been going to sea or how many cruises you do a year, it is still exciting to see whales or dolphins, and beautiful sunset still makes you pause.

Sometimes, as in this cruise, there may be more than one project and multiple scientists.  However, there has to be a Chief scientist to determine priorities and the scheduling concerns so that everyone gets their data, specimens or deploys their equipment.  To be a chief scientist you need to be detail oriented and having workaholic tendencies (at least during a cruise) doesn’t hurt!

This does not mean they don’t have fun after all the hard work is done.  Dr. Weller plans a few days at the beginning and end of a cruise after all the work is done (his group have been working everyday for a month!) to see some of the sights and enjoy the culture of the ports they visit.  Sometimes these days get used for unforeseen circumstances, like extra time for loading, unloading and shipping. Actually that’s why they are put in there.  But if everything gets done in a timely manner, there is a little bit of down time.  He even organizes the tours and had guide books for each of the ports we visited (it’s that detail oriented thing I mentioned!).  He understands the value of appreciating the quality of work your group produces.

Many times the group will consist of one or more grad students under the Chief scientist and this is how they learn to be a chief scientist. It is not a class they take as part of their Ph.D. program, it comes from observation and personal experience.  So mentoring is another important component of the job description.  Seeing the bigger picture is also part of the equation; Dr. Weller really wanted a Teacher at Sea as part of this cruise to help share this experience with younger students and hopefully give a small peek at real scientific research to both k-12 teachers and students.  Many scientists today see the value of this and NOAA has been doing this for 13 years.  Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has some outstanding education outreach programs such as “Dive and Discover” (check out that WHOI web site!)  Scripps Oceanographic Institution has additional resources at the SIO web site. Please check out the attached picture of the latest cruise plan, as well as a picture of one of the cups that the science party sent down to 4000m on the CTD.  I think the sentiment on the cup is a good reflection of the esteem in which they hold Dr. Weller and I wholeheartedly agree!

Hasta manana

Debra Brice, November 20, 2003

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Debra Brice
Onboard R/V Roger Revelle
November 11-25, 2003

Mission: Ocean Observation
Geographical Area: Chilean Coast
Date: November 20, 2003

Data from the Bridge
1.  201600Z Nov 03
2.  Position: LAT: 19-46.2’S, LONG: 085-32.5’W
3.  Course: On Station
4.  Speed: 0 Kts
5.  Distance: 0 NM
6.  Steaming Time:  0H 00M
7.  Station Time:  24H 00M
8.  Fuel: 1477 GAL
9.  Sky: OvrCst
10. Wind: 140-T, 12 Kts
11. Sea: 140-T, 2-3 Ft
12. Swell: 160-T, 3-5 Ft
13. Barometer: 1018.1 mb
14. Temperature: Air: 21.3 C, Sea 19.7 C
15. Equipment Status: NORMAL
16. Comments: On station in vicinity of WHOI buoy.

Science and Technology Log

We are still in the vicinity of the WHOI buoy and will stay here for 24 hours to check and compare the sensors on the Stratus 4, Stratus 3 and the ship.  We will then leave for the area of deployment of the Tsunami buoy.  We will do 2 CTD casts before leaving.

During our cruise we have been deploying radiosonde weather balloons and the ETL group has been collecting cloud data. I am going to give a brief description of the ETL Cloud Radar and Radiometer Package that they brought with them and are using to collect their data. Clouds play vitally important roles in climate and and water resources by virtue of their ability to transform radiant energy and water phase in the atmosphere.  NOAA?ETL uses microwave and infrared radiometers for ground based cloud observations. ETL designed and is using the Millimeter-wave Cloud Radar (MMCR).  These radars are intended to operate in remote locations and for field experiments.  The radar is joined in a sea container by a dual- channel microwave radiometer (MWR) and a narrow-band infrared radiometer IRR).  Simultaneous data from these instruments provide the input for retrieving microphysical features of the overlying tropospheric clouds.

Instrument Package Characteristics:

Cloud Radar: Ultra high sensitivity, doppler
Primary uses: vertical profiles of clouds. drizzle, snow and very light rain

Microwave Radiometer:
Primary uses: Monitoring vertical water vapor path and liquid water path.

IR Radiometer:
Primary uses: Sensing presense of cloud overhead, estimating base temp. of optically thick clouds.

Collectively, the instruments are called the MMCR Package. Each observes the senith and does not scan, hence, the system is a vertical profiler. This is the second time that ETL has come out with the Stratus Project and it is hoped that through additional funding it will become a permanent partner in this long term study.  ETL is doing these measurements and calibrations not only to verify some of the meteorological data collected from the sensors on the WHOI buoy, but also to do profiles on the cloud structures of the stratus clouds in this area to campare the data to the mathematical models.  They are also using the data to compare and calibrate the mean and the flux calculations used in the Stratus project.  ETL came out during the second year of the Stratus project to do a similar survey.

Personal Log

The WHOI science group are doing their calibrations and measurements all day and the ETL group continues to collect data.  PMEL/NOAA is waiting to deply their buoy at the next site.  The weather is beautiful, warm, sunny, some clouds (stratus!) I am doing a lot of reading and talking with different science groups and crew members to prepare for interviews.  Tonight we will be interviewing the ETL group about their cloud studies. E-mail will be sporadic from now on as we will be on heading that will not allow us satellite communication.  We will turn for 30 minutes once a day to send out and receive e-mail. Tomorrow and the day after will be travel days to the Tsunami deployment site.We still have a couple of boobies following us….obviously hopeful that we will toss out another floating cafeteria for them.  Learning a great deal about how these large oceanographic research vessels run.  They are all owned by different facilities but they are assigned by one entity that schedules all of the science cruises for best efficiency of the vessels.  The scheduling entity is UNOLS.  So a Scripps scientist could be schedules to go out on a Woods Hole vessel one year and a NOAA vessel the next based on the science needs for size, equipment and location.  This means that for example the REVELLE came into its home port of San Diego in September and picked up a science group; did their leg, dropped them off in Manta, Equador, where we met them and loaded equipment for our project and left.  We will arrive in Arica, disembark, ship the equipment back to its various labs and the new science party will board and leave for their project.  This will continue until sometime in April until REVELLE briefly returns to San Diego, where it will pick up another science party and go out again.  It may only come into San Diego two or three times a year.  These ships are almost constantly out working and the crews fly in and out of various ports to meet the ships and change crews.

Hasta Luego

 

Debra Brice, November 18, 2003

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Debra Brice
Onboard R/V Roger Revelle
November 11-25, 2003

Mission: Ocean Observation
Geographical Area: Chilean Coast
Date: November 18, 2003

Data from the Bridge
1.  181700Z Nov 03
2.  Position: LAT: 19-43.5’S, LONG: 085-15.0’W
3.  Course: 000-T
4.  Speed: 12.5 Kts
5.  Distance: 38.8 NM
6.  Steaming Time:  3H 06M
7.  Station Time:  20H 54M
8.  Fuel: 1565 GAL
9.  Sky: Ptly Cldy
10. Wind: 130-T, 11 Kts
11. Sea: 130-T, 2-3 Ft
12. Swell: 150-T, 3-5 Ft
13. Barometer: 1018.5 mb
14. Temperature: Air: 21.3 C, Sea 19.2 C
15. Equipment Status: NORMAL
16. Comments: Survey in progress.

Science and Technology Log

Today the REVELLE spent the day surveying an area for deployment of the STRATUS 4 buoy.  We traveled 50 miles from the STRATUS 3 site with the hopes of getting out of the GPS mapped area of the fishing boats to prevent the fouling of the instruments with fishing line.  Fishing boats target buoys as they become areas of fish aggregation in the open ocean.  The ship took a zigzag pattern most of the day surveying the bottom topography ( see photo of survey and course). Dr Weller explained that he needed to find a relatively long, flat area on the bottom as we will be underway during the deployment of the instrumentation and we need to travel is a straight line to lay out the instruments.  Due to the wind direction we will not be exactly following the straight line of the flat bottom area, but coming in at a slight angle. Jeff Lord and Jason Smith of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Upper Ocean Processes group spent the day preparing the cables, laying out the instrumentation  and spraying various parts with de-fouling paint.  It was a very detailed all day procedure.  Moving the buoy and other heavy instrumentation requires good skills in rigging and crane operations.  The Upper Ocean Processes Group of which Dr. Weller is the head, are highly trained and make this complicated and potentially dangerous work look so easy.  This is part of the job as an oceanographer that you don’t learn in the classroom, but are taught by watching and doing with another professional. The STRATUS 4 buoy will have a slightly different instrumentation than the STRATUS 3.  The Seacat current meters with the rotating fan blades that were fouled with the fishing line will be moved deeper on the mooring and acoustical current meters will be moved to a more shallow spot.  Unfortunately the Seacats are more accurate than the acoustical current meters, but they can’t collect data if they are fouled.  The acoustical meters have no moving parts to foul.  Dr. Weller will also be comparing and calibrating some of the radiation sensors with Dr. Chris Fairall of the ELT group using they cloud radar data.  Deployment will begin after breakfast (approx. 7:45 am) tomorrow morning.

Personal Log

I didn’t help very much with the science activities today other than to stand watch and take hourly temperature readings.  Dr. Kermond and I spent the day filming several interviews.  We toured the extremely impressive engine room on the R/V REVELLE with the Chief Engineer Paul Mauricio.  Please check out our tour on the web.  We also resumed our “Fantail Interviews”  with Jason Tomlinson, Meteorologist from Texas A&M who is doing aerosol research out here with us.  I will spend an entire log in the next couple of days on Jason’s aerosol research.  Tonight on the Fantail we will be interviewing Dr. Chris Fairall of NOAA Environmental Technology Laboratories and NOAA/PMEL Tsunami buoy deployment group, Mike Strick and Scott Stalin.  be sure to tune in:)I need to work on my survey of good sunscreens and/or stronger aloe vera lotions!  The boobies from the STRATUS 3 buoy are following us wanting to know when their new “cafeteria” will be installed.  Much to do tomorrow, it will be another long day doing the deployment and I am very interested as to how they are going to get that 9000 lb anchor in the water!

hasta la vista

Debra Brice, November 17, 2003

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Debra Brice
Onboard R/V Roger Revelle
November 11-25, 2003

Mission: Ocean Observation
Geographical Area: Chilean Coast
Date: November 17, 2003

Data from the Bridge

1.  171700Z Nov 03
2.  Position: LAT: 20-10.8’S, LONG: 085-05.1’W
3.  Course: Hove to
4.  Speed: 0 Kts
5.  Distance: 0 NM
6.  Steaming Time:  0H 00M
7.  Station Time:  24H 00M
8.  Fuel: 1845 GAL
9.  Sky: Cldy
10. Wind: 110-T, 18 Kts
11. Sea: 110-T, 2-3 Ft
12. Swell: 140-T, 3-5 Ft
13. Barometer: 1020.0 mb
14. Temperature: Air: 21.5 C, Sea 18.0 C
15. Equipment Status: NORMAL
16. Comments: WHOI buoy recovery in progress.

 

Science and Technology Log

The R/V REVELLE was positioned roughly 100 meters upwind from the anchor position.  The acoustic release was fired and it took approximately 40 minutes for the glass balls to come to the surface.  Once the glass balls were sighted the small a line was attached and they were pulled to the stern of the ship.  The line was threaded through the A frame, the winch hauled the glass balls over the stern of the boat.  Once all the glassfuls were onboard the process of uncoupling them to the mooring began, they were then loaded in groups of 4 into the shipping container to be sent back to WHOI.

Once the fantail was cleared, hauling began.  The polypropylene line was then spooled off using a winding cart and 7 empty wooden spools. (see photos) The line on the winch was off loaded into a wired basket which was then wound onto the wooden spools and then stored.  This process was repeated for several hours until all of the 2800 meters of line was recovered and the first instrument was brought aboard about 2pm.  Then we began to bring each instrument aboard and label it by depth and place it on the deck in the order it was recovered for labeling and photographing.  It is very important to document the exact condition of the instruments as they are recovered as it will help in the data analysis later.  For example if there are some strange readings in the data or the data suddenly stopped at some point during the year looking at the photograph could tell you that this instrument was covered in barnacles or tangled with fishing line that clogged or blocked the sensors. (see photos)

With 38 different sensors on the mooring it was a very long day just recovering all of them.  Once most of the sensors were all onboard and labeled they began the recovery of the buoy and the last 12 sensors.  The small boat was deployed and a line attached to the buoy. The ship’s knuckle crane was used in this part of the operation and the buoy was lifted and secured onto the port side of the ship (see photos).  Once the buoy was secured the retrieval of the last instruments began.  Again, labeling and photographically documenting the condition of the instruments was essential.  In the photos you can see the increase in bio-fouling as the instruments get closer to the surface.  The current meters nearest the surface were heavily clogged with fishing lines and although their temperature sensors were still functioning, the portion that measures the current direction and speed was completely jammed with the fishing line.

Although acoustic current meters are also used on the mooring, there has been some issues with the quality of their data and the mechanical current meters are still the most accurate, but they have the problems of being more susceptible to bio-fouling and  interference with fishing gear.  This emphasizes the need for redundant instruments for data collection and comparison.  Each year the sensors are evaluated and some changes in instrumentation and slight changes in buoy location might be made.  For example this year the buoy will be moved a little farther away from last years mooring to hopefully decrease the likelihood of being tangled by fishing lines. After all of the instruments were secured onboard and labeled and photographed, the cleaning began (see photographs).  Everyone participated in this phase with scrapers and , finally the power washer.  All of the instruments needed to be cleaned and many stored in the main lab for data analysis tomorrow.  All day tomorrow Nan, Lara, Jeff, Jason and Dr. Weller will be downloading and loading at the data from the sensors as well as preparing the new equipment for deployment on Wednesday.

Personal Log

An incredibly long day which began with my watch at 4am and ended sometime after 9pm.  It was great and I was fascinated by the differences in the instruments as they were recovered from different depths.  It was brought home to me yet again the importance of keeping meticulous and very detailed records of each stage of a operation and the condition of the environment and effect on the equipment.  Any of these variables have to be considered when analyzing the data and can only be collected immediately upon retrieval or deployment.  It is also essential to have a very detailed plan of operation and to work together well as a team.  I think we were also out there testing several brands of sunscreen….mine failed and and I have the racoon-eyes to prove it…ahh well, it was a wonderful day and loved it.  Tomorrow and preparing for the deployment will be equally interesting. Oh, and one of the benefits of bringing in the buoy was that all the fish who were living under the buoy were now around the ship and the crew and some of the science staff caught some very nice tuna…hmmm dinner is looking promising tomorrow too:)

Cheers

Debra Brice, November 16, 2003

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Debra Brice
Onboard R/V Roger Revelle
November 11-25, 2003

Mission: Ocean Observation
Geographical Area: Chilean Coast
Date: November 16, 2003

Data from the Bridge
1.  161700Z Nov 03
2.  Position: LAT: 20-10.6’S, LONG: 085-08.0’W
3.  Course: Hove to
4.  Speed: 0 Kts
5.  Distance: 20.8 NM
6.  Steaming Time:  1H 48M
7.  Station Time:  22H 12M
8.  Fuel: 2215 GAL
9.  Sky: Ptly Cldy
10. Wind: 120-T, 14 Kts
11. Sea: 120-T, 2-3 Ft
12. Swell: 150-T, 3-5 Ft
13. Barometer: 1019.7 mb
14. Temperature: Air: 20.3 C, Sea 19.5 C
15. Equipment Status: NORMAL
16. Comments: On station in vicinity of WHOI buoy.

Science and Technology Log

We are at the STRATUS buoy from last year and are preparing to trigger the acoustical releases so that the glass ball floats will bring up the instruments, almost 50 of them!  it will take about 40 minutes from triggering the release until they surface and they the retrieval will begin in earnest.  We will spend the day bring them all aboard, recording the depth, serial number and condition of each of them before Dr. Weller’s group will begin downloading the data.  Then we will clean them and begin to pack them for the return to WHOI. A little background on the project first:  The purpose of the cruise was to recover and then deploy a well-instrumented surface mooring under the stratocumulus clouds found off Chile and Peru in the vicinity of 20’S and 85’W.  The mooring has been deployed for  for 3 years as a component  of the Enhanced Monitoring element of the Eastern Pacific Investigation of Climate ( EPIC) programs.  Cruises for recovery and redeployment have occurred each October or November.  The science objectives of the Stratus Project are to observe the surface meteorology and air-sea exchanges of heat, freshwater, and momentum, to observe the temporal evolution of the vertical structure of the upper 500m of the ocean.  This year the Stratus project was joined by the ETL/NOAA group out of Boulder, Colorado.  The Environmental Technology Laboratory people are meteorologists who are looking at the formation of the stratocumulus clouds that are formed off the coast of Chile and Peru.  They brought and are using cloud radar and radiosondes to look at these phenomena. The Stratus moorings carry two redundant sets of meteorological sensors and the mooring line also carries a set of oceanographic instruments.  Although Acoustic rain gauges were deployed on the last 3 moorings, this year there will not be one on the buoy and there will be several more current meters and temperature gauges.  The Chlorophyll sensors will not be on the new one either.

Types of measurements taken by Stratus moorings:

  • Surface measurements
  • Subsurface measurements
  • Wind speed
  • Water temperature
  • Wind direction
  • Conductivity
  • Air temperature
  • Current speed
  • Sea Surface temp
  • Salinitybarometric pressure
  • Current direction
  • Relative humidity
  • Incoming short-wave radiation
  • Incoming long wave radiation
  • Precipitation

Most of the equipment , including the new buoy, was loaded on the R/V REVELLE in San Diego with some of the equipment being shipped to Guayaqil, Ecuador and loaded onboard in Manta, Ecuador.  The science party flew into Manta to meet the ship and we will fly out of Arica to return to the U.S. On November 15, we stopped to lower and test the acoustic releases to be used in the mooring.  They were lowered to  500,  and 1500m depths.  Jason Smith (WHOI) communicated with the releases at each depth.  After the release test two CTD casts were made to 4000m.  When we arrived at the buoy mooring ship and buoy data comparisons began.  This is a check to see whether the sensors on the mooring are still calibrated. At 7:20 the release of the glass balls was triggered and they should surface about 45 minutes later.  The small boat will go out to put a line on the mooring and bring it back to the ship.  The line will be secured on deck the the recovery will begin.  As the instruments are brought onboard they will be laid out in the order they are hung on the mooring up the starboard side of the ship and photographed and labeled by depth and type of instrument.  This is to document the condition of each instrument before cleaning begins.  Most of the instruments are covered by barnacles and a host of other organisms, this is termed Bio-fouling.  The bio-fouling is dominated by goose-neck barnacles.  These are quite thick on the buoy hull and down to 30m; some goosenecks were even found down to 135m last year.  These can be quite a problem for the data collection, for example: last year the floating SST on the buoy hull was stuck in the down position by the barnacles.  This is why it is important to document the condition of the instruments with photographs so that when you are looking at your data and it suddenly changes or stops you might get some clue as to why the flow on the current meters changes significantly in one of the sensors ( bio-fouling for example).  We will finish recovery of the instruments today and tomorrow will recover the buoy late today.

Personal Log

Went out on the zodiac in the morning to look over the buoy.  Sunny, beautiful, water was 20’C and 30 to 35′ visibility.  There were 3′ swells and it was a wonderful view of the REVELLE, see the attached photos.  Many fish around the buoy and there will be many around the back of the boat today when we bring up the mooring.  We are 800 miles off the coast of Chile and the ship is in water  of about 4400m depth.  Nothing but blue ocean all around and it is breathtaking, reminds you why oceanographers go to sea.  You are surrounded by a mysterious blue liquid and it becomes a lifelong fascination to learn what lies beneath.  We began our “Fantail Interviews” last night with the chief engineer, Paul Mauricio, Nan Galbraith, WHOI Information systems associate and Paquita Zuidema a scientist with NOAA Environmental Technology Laboratory.  We talked about their research, jobs and experiences working at sea.  Our first videos should be online today.  We will be touring the ship and video taping interviews with other science party and crew members all week as well as filming the work onboard. There is something special about being part of science as the observations are made.  Jason was checking his aerosol readings last night and sharing his graphs.  He was seeing some things he expected and some he didn’t.  Many things he was seeing had as much to do with visual observations of the changing cloud shapes and precipitation as the sensor readings.  This kind of on-site observation is irreplaceable in science and definitely what makes science exciting.  Chris Fairwell of ETL was talking about the stratocumulus formations and how the behavior of the clouds was not necessarily what was expected, but then observations in this area had never really been done before and this was really exciting.  For me as a teacher it is interesting because these are things that my students can share by logging onto the internet and seeing on various NOAA , WHOI and SIO web sites as well as many other good science web sites and no text book can hope to compare with this.  We can also e-mail these scientists to ask questions about what they are seeing and a possible explanation.  Well they just call the acoustical release and may watch is almost over which just means the real work begins:)

Cheers


Debra Brice, November 15, 2003

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Debra Brice
Onboard R/V Roger Revelle
November 11-25, 2003

Mission: Ocean Observation
Geographical Area: Chilean Coast
Date: November 15, 2003

Data from the Bridge
1.  151700Z Nov 03
2.  Position: LAT: 19-50.1’S, LONG: 085-03.3’W
3.  Course: 189-T
4.  Speed: 12.3 Kts
5.  Distance: 295.6 NM
6.  Steaming Time: 24H 00M
7.  Station Time:  00H 00M
8.  Fuel: 4233 GAL
9.  Sky: OvrCst
10. Wind: 110-T, 09 Kts
11. Sea: 110-T, 2-3 Ft
12. Swell: 200-T, 3-5 Ft
13. Barometer: 1018.9 mb
14. Temperature: Air: 23.5 C, Sea 19.0 C
15. Equipment Status: NORMAL
16. Comments: None.

Science and Technology Log

We arrived at the Stratus Buoy at 1:30pm.  We had some problems putting out the zodiac and will have to go and do a survey of the buoy up close tomorrow.  Dr. Weller’s group will be calibrating the instruments on the buoy all day tomorrow and the following day they will be taking it out of the water in preparation to store it and ship it home.  The new Stratus Buoy will be deployed in a couple of days.  We continued to release radiosondes at 6 hour intervals.  We are finished drooping surface drifters for awhile as well as ARGO floats. Dr. Weller did 2 CTD casts tonight to 4000m and we attached our styrofoam cups to the CTDs.  I have attached some photos of our cups and my wig head after their trip into the abyss.  We filmed a video of the cast that should be up in a couple of days.

A CTD stands for Conductivity, Temperature and Density.  Sea water conducts electricity as a function of the amount of dissolved salts, in other words it will be a better conductor of an electrical current if it has a higher amount of salts dissolved in it.  The density is calculated based on the salinity and the temperature.  The salinity is calculated using the conductivity and temperature. Warm water is less dense than cold water and water with a higher salinity is more dense than water with a lower salinity.  Evaporation removes water but leaves behind the salts and creates more dense water at the surface.  The densest (heaviest) water sinks and the less dense water rises and you get stratification or layering of different water masses.  The wind does cause mixing of the surface layer but this varies with wind speed and can vary in depth between 1 meter to 1500 meters in some areas.  The CTD that we just took shows a very shallow mixed layer and we will be analyzing it a bit more closely later today.  I have included a picture of the temperature/salinity/density plot from the CTD cast.   The green line represents density, which is increasing from the surface down.  The red line is salinity which is decreasing from the surface down but you can see some variations which show different water masses and some mixing.  The brown is conductivity and the blue is temperature. We sent down the styrofoam cups and the wig heads as a demonstration of  the effects of pressure.  All of the air piled on top of us from the surface of the earth up into the stratosphere equals one atmosphere, but water is much more dense so if you go down 33 feet you are under 2 atmospheres of pressure and another atmosphere for every 33 feet.  So how many atmospheres were our cups under?  E-mail me (Debra.Brice@noaa.gov)and let me know your answer?

Personal Log

Long day punctuated by being on watch.  Food is wonderful, the cooks are really creative and we have enjoyed all the meals.  After dinner a lot of people will go into the lounge and watch DVDs or play board games.  Most of us read or check e-mail.  There is always something to do or sea and sometimes it is just nice to go outside and watch the sunset or the cloud shapes.  At the CTD cast we had a spotlight on the water where the CTD went in and it attracted quite a group of large squid up to the surface.  They were over 3 feet long and quite fast.  The buoy has a group of 4 boobies that live on or near it feeding on the fish that gather around it.  They will be most unhappy when we take it out but they will have a nice new one soon.  Well, my watch is almost over and I am fading fast and this will be a busy day coming up…rumor has it that those styrofoam “cup of soup” cups shrink really well, hmmmm we need to do some more experiments on pressure……can we carve some pieces of packing styrofoam…..getting a bit carried away here:)

Cheers

Debra Brice, November 14, 2003

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Debra Brice
Onboard R/V Roger Revelle
November 11-25, 2003

Mission: Ocean Observation
Geographical Area: Chilean Coast
Date: November 14, 2003

Data from the Bridge

1.  141700Z Nov 03
2.  Position: LAT: 14-54.6’S, LONG: 084-55.0’W
3.  Course: 180-T
4.  Speed: 12.2 Kts
5.  Distance: 293.6 NM
6.  Steaming Time: 24H 00M
7.  Station Time:  00H 00M
8.  Fuel: 4245 GAL
9.  Sky: OvrCst
10. Wind: 120-T, 17 Kts
11. Sea: 120-T, 2-3 Ft
12. Swell: 140-T, 3-5 Ft
13. Barometer: 1016.2 mb
14. Temperature: Air: 21.5 C, Sea 19.0 C
15. Equipment Status: NORMAL
16. Comments: None.

Science and Technology Log

We are still underway, about 800 miles off the coast of Peru.  We will arrive at the Woods Hole Stratus Buoy tomorrow at about noon.  We will be taking out a small boat ( zodiac or the RHIB) to look it over before we try to bring it in.  It is heavily instrumented and will be covered in many animals.  They will have to be cleaned off and I will enjoy preserving and identifying some of them.  I found a copy of my old invertebrate zoology book onboard so this should be worth several hours of entertainment for me.  Dr. Weller’s group will be removing the instruments in preparation for taking the buoy out of the water and loading it onboard.  Then we will spend another day deploying the new Stratus Buoy.  The old one will be shipped back to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution for Arica, Chile.

Most of the day we were deploying sea surface drifters and several radiosondes for the ETL group.  Tomorrow Jason Tomlinson, from Texas A&M will be taking some aerosol samples for his research.  I will be interviewing the Chief Engineer, Paul Maurice and touring the engine room of the REVELLE. Radiosondes are used to collect data on atmospheric temperature, humidity, pressure and uses onboard GPS for wind direction and windspeed from the surface up to the lowest part of the Stratusphere.  I have put up some pictures of the radiosondes.  My e-mails and internet access are being made possible by the ROADnet system that is installed here on the R/V REVELLE.  We have “live” cameras off the fantail of the boat and in the main lab as well as telphone and internet capabilities due to ROADnet.  The Visualization Center at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, located at the Cecil H. and Ida M. Green Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics ( IGPP),houses the state of the art system  that allows scientists to take enormous data sets, such as earthquake activity east of San Diego, the morphology of the global seafloor, or the topography of Mars and illustrate them on a large screen in 3 dimensions.  One new project taking advantage of the Visualization’s data management capabilities is termed ROADnet ( Real time Observatories, Applications, and Data Management Network). ROADnet sensors, located throughout the world and on Scripp’s largest ship, the Roger Revelle, deliver real-time data to the center for nearly instantaneous review by scientists on campus.  I will be using ROADnet to do a broadcast to a geography class next week at San Marcos HIgh School in San Marcos, California.  The class of teacher Larry Osen will be able to see me and the scientists on the Revelle as we deploy a CTD as it is happening and ask questions of the scientists.  This system is presently being installed on Scripps other large ship the R/V MELVILLE.  This is an exciting example of how technological innovations help advance scientific understanding of the oceans.

Personal Log

I’m a little disoriented on my times as I am doing the 12am to 4am watch.  I get up a little later that I normally would, about 10:30am.  Tomorrow we will come up on the buoy so I need to be up earlier enough to participate.  We will be filming and doing interviews during the recovery.  Besides if I get up earlier enough they might let me go out in the zodiac!  I will ride on any boat that floats, so this is too good an opportunity to miss.  Since the buoy has been out at sea for a year it will be covered in animals and surrounded by fish.  Anything that floats in the open ocean becomes a little miniature ecosystem,  So there will be some fishing and lots to see.  We will also being doing our first CTD cast tomorrow and I will have some pictures and descriptions of what a CTD is and why we are deploying it ( actually some of us are deploying it just to shrink our decorated styrofoam cups!)  I will be explaining that tomorrow too.  What oceanographers do for entertainment on long voyages.  So tune in tomorrow for some fun at sea!

Cheers

Debra Brice, November 13, 2003

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Debra Brice
Onboard R/V Roger Revelle
November 11-25, 2003

Mission: Ocean Observation
Geographical Area: Chilean Coast
Date: November 13, 2003

Data from the Bridge
1. 131700Z Nov 03
2. Position: LAT: 10-01.0S, LONG: 084-55.0W
3. Course: 180-T
4. Speed: 12.5 Kts
5. Distance: 299.5 NM
6. Steaming Time: 24H 00M
7. Station Time: 00H 00M
8. Fuel: 4238 GAL
9. Sky: OvrCst
10. Wind: 130-T, 21 Kts
11. Sea: 130-T, 2-3 Ft
12. Swell: 140-T, 3-5 Ft
13. Barometer: 1013.8 mb
14. Temperature: Air: 22.4 C, Sea 19.0 C
15. Equipment Status: NORMAL
16. Comments: Drifter array deployment in progress.

Science and Technology

We are still underway towards the Stratus buoy. We spent the day deploying Surface drifters and 2 radiosondes. Surface drifters are small instruments attached to a “drogue” or sock that is about 40 feet long. The are thrown off the back of the ship while it is still moving. They will float on the surface and the drogue will float about about 15 meters below the suface taking sea surface temperatures and sending the data back to a satellite that is operated by the French ARGOS System. The data is downloaded at Wallops Island in Virginia and processed at various laboratories. We deployed 10 surface drifters today and will send off another group tomorrow. We are deploying them for the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory in Miami, Florida. This is a NOAA research facility. A noted drifter researcher is being done by Dr. Pieter Niiler at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, Ca.

The purpose of the drifters is to measure sea surface temperature and check the accuracy ( calibrate) satellite data on sea surface temperature. Infra-red satellite data is sometimes blocked by stratus clouds and volcano eruptions. This brings to the light the question of why we need to go to sea in ships to study oceanography when we can supposedly get all the information we need from satellites. I will be interviewing Dr. Weller on one of my webcasts and he will address this question. Since I needed some additional enlightenment on why ships and shipboard research are still so essential to the study of climatology, atmospheric science and, of course, oceanography and Dr. Weller was busy today, I went to Scripps Institution of Oceanography ( via e-mail….those satellites are quite useful) and asked Dr. Robert Knox to help me out. Dr. Knox is the Associate Director of Ship Operations and Marine Technical Support and has helped me many times in the past with education outreach. The following is his wonderful explanation of why ships are still an essential tool for scientists in our exploration of the oceans and atmosphere.

Dr. Robert Weller’s research is an excellent example of why this type of data collection is so important and cannot be replaced by satellite data. It absolutely depends on using ships to handle his systems and is vital to gain a quantitative understanding of what the satellite sensors are seeing. In the absence of programs like Dr. Weller’s we could be seriously misled as to what the satellite data are telling us about the properties we actually care about, like sea surface temperature, heat flux between air and sea, etc. No satellite ever has measured or ever will measure sea surface temperature (SST). Yet we often see “satellite maps” of “sea surface temperature.” How? The satellite measures some component of electromagnetic radiation coming upward from the sea surface. That in turn can be related to the temperature of the sea surface, but only by way of a number of assumptions and calibrations having to do with basic physics of the radiation, the interactions of that radiation with whatever is in the atmosphere between the sea and the satellite, and on and on. In order to construct the formulas or recipes used to convert the radiation numbers to temperature numbers, real temperature measurements at the sea surface will always be needed to some extent, and with some distribution around the globe and over time. This is particularly true for long-term climate purposes, where slow changes in, for example, the atmospheric properties could lead to slow, subtle and unrecognized shifts in the correct recipes/formulas, and thus to unrecognized shifts in the deduced temperature results that were not real. Temperature is just one parameter. There are others, most of them harder to do via satellites.

The list goes on. Ships are needed for any number of laboratory-style experiments and measurements that simply cannot be done by remote sensors, but require samples of water, organisms or seafloor to be acquired and dealt with at sea. Questions in biology, chemistry and geology figure prominently here. New remote sensors, whether destined for satellites or unmanned vehicles in the ocean, in most cases require lengthy periods of development, testing and comparison against existing (shipboard) techniques before they can really be trusted to deliver the data desired – and even then (as in the case of SST above) there may well be an open-ended need for some level of ship-based, high-quality measurements to serve as a calibration standard in space and time. There are a host of chemical and biological parameters for which no remote sensor exists or is even imagined, yet shipboard/manned techniques do exist and can be used to answer important research questions. Take for example the identification and quantification of species or species assemblages in water samples (plankton, etc) and how these change over time, perhaps as a result of climate variations. If we waited until a remote sensor existed we might wait ad infinitum, yet we can do this identification and quantification now, using people and samples. The accumulation of those observations over time (more than 50 years thus far in the case of the CalCOFI program) sheds considerable light on the actual ecological changes taking place in the ocean and will continue to do so; we should most certainly not stop doing these measurements just because we cannot do them remotely. Or consider the business of measuring trace metals, notably iron, in seawater. This has gone from a curiosity to an important set of research programs in just the last couple of decades. It depends on exquisitely sensitive shipborne lab-style analyses of seawater samples for minute concentrations of these metals. Yet the tiny amount of iron in seawater may be a key limiting nutrient for phytoplankton under some circumstances. So iron trace concentrations get connected to important policy and economic questions such as whether deliberate iron fertilization could be a viable technique to enhance phytoplankton growth, thereby drawing down atmospheric CO2 via photosynthesis, and thus ameliorating greenhouse warming. Both the scientific and policy answers are far from clear at this juncture, but you can readily see the basic importance of the shipboard effort underlying the whole issue.

Finally, the advent of various remote sensors, on satellites and on unmanned vehicles, creates a whole new possibility for joint ship/other device campaigns that can do a much better job of focussed observation than has been possible in the ship-alone mode characteristic of nearly all history to date. The ship can serve as home base/deployment platform/data integration and analysis center/command post for adaptive, real-time control of a fleet of these devices, for ingesting streams of satellite data from overhead, and for deploying its own specialty ship-deployed instruments. Sort of a vision of the ship as the AWACS centerpiece of a flotilla or network of tools aimed at some common experimental objectives. Oceanography historically has been bedeviled by the inability to measure with coverage in both space and time matched to the problems of interest. A single ship can never be “here” and “there” simultaneously, nor can it cover the distance between “here” and “there” fast enough for some purposes. But operating as the mother ship/control center, many of these gaps can be closed. It’s going to be fascinating to see how some of these potentials are used in the coming decades.

Personal Log

As a teacher at sea one of the things I have learned in the short time I have been on the ship is that many times observing the conditions under which the data are collected can be as essential as the actual data itself in enabling a scientist to analyse it and put the data in the proper perspective. For example: when we retrieved the Equadorial Buoy and brought up all the instruments that were hanging on the mooring it was absolutely amazing to see the vast numbers of animals that had made these instruments their home ( see my pictures). Could these animals have effected the instruments and their data collections by blocking water flow or changing environment around the instruments? Yes. Is it important to note this and take this into consideration when analysing the data? Very possibly. The ship I am travelling on is named for a very famous and well respected oceanographer, Dr Roger Revelle, who understood how important it is for scientists to actively participate in the collection of their data by going to sea in order to get a more accurate perspective on what the data they collect is telling them about the oceans. As a teacher I hope I can share this with my students, I know that in my classroom, no amount of lecture or reading can replace the experience of doing a laboratory and collecting and analysing your own data. My watch is almost over and I have 2 more surface temperature readings to take before I sleep……the old fashioned way, drop the bucket with the thermometer over the side, fill it with water and read the thermometer. We are just checking those computerised sensors to make sure everything is working:)

Hasta manana

Debra Brice, November 12, 2003

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Debra Brice
Onboard R/V Roger Revelle
November 11-25, 2003

Mission: Ocean Observation
Geographical Area: Chilean Coast
Date: November 12, 2003

Data from the Bridge
1. 111700Z Nov 03
2. Position: LAT: 01-55.6S, LONG: 083-46.1W
3. Course: 251-T
4. Speed: 13.9 Kts
5. Distance: 193.6 NM
6. Steaming Time: 13H 54M
7. Station Time: 00H 00M
8. Fuel: 2951 GAL
9. Sky: OvrCst
10. Wind: 200-T, 11 Kts
11. Sea: 200-T, 2-3 Ft
12. Swell: 200-T, 3-5 Ft
13. Barometer: 1011.2 mb
14. Temperature: Air: 24.2 C, Sea 23.3 C
15. Equipment Status: NORMAL
16. Comments: Enroute to Stratus buoy site.

Science and Technology Log

Today is a travel day and we are on route to the site of the Stratus Buoy maintained by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The Chief Scientist for this cruise is Dr. Robert Weller, a Physical Oceanographer from Woods Hole and this is the 4th year of the Stratus Project. The science objectives of the Stratus Project are to observe the surface meteorology and air-sea exchanges of heat, fresh water, and momentum ( friction between the air and sea surface: currents), to observe the temporal evolution of the vertical structure of the upper 500 meters of the ocean, and to document and quantify the local coupling of the atmosphere in this region. Air-sea coupling under the stratus clouds is not well understood and numerical models show broad scale sensitivity over the Pacific to how the clouds and the air-sea interaction in this region are parameterized. The first three deployments of the Stratus moorings are part of EPIC.

EPIC is the Climate Variability study (CLIVAR) with the goal of investigating links between sea surface variability in the eastern tropical Pacific and the climate over the American continents. Important to that goal is an understanding of the role of clouds in the eastern Pacific in modulating the atmosphere-ocean coupling. Previous to this study we really didn’t understand how the stratus clouds were formed off this coast and off the coast of California which has a similar climate and currents. The effect of the ocean temperature and suspended particles (aerosols) on the climate are very important and in these regions are not well understood. Prior to this numerical computer models were used to predict climate changes in these regions but no real studies or observations had been made. These studies will help in the predicition of long term effects of global warming. The Stratus moorings carry two redundant sets of meteorological sensors and the mooring also carries a set of oceanographic instruments. Including Acoustic rain gauges. Acoustic rain gauges are located 50 meters below the buoy on the mooring line. The accoustical rain gauge uses the frequency of the sound of the rain drops hitting the sea surface , the sound varies with amount of rainfall rate. This is more accurate than traditional rain gauges as it averages rainfall over a given area and is not effected by wind. The WHOI Stratus buoys are the most highly instrumented bouys in use today with 31 instruments. Today we deployed two ARGO floats, for more information on ARGO floats please go to the website at: www.argo.ucsd.edu. ARGO floats are a global array of three thousand free drifting profiling floats measuring temp and salinity of the upper 2000m of the ocean. Our watch went well and we deployed our float without breaking it and falling overboard (always a plus:)

Personal Log

Went to sleep last night after my watch at 4am and awoke at 10am. Met with Dr. Kermond and Viviana, the chilean teacher, to go over the science activities for the day. We took some still pictures and worked on the computers. Tomorrow we will begin some interviews with the scientists and crew. Weather was warm and humid, calm sea, some clouds and overall very pleasant. The REVELLE is a beautiful ship that has a very smooth ride, very little rolling motion. It was built in 1996 by the Navy for Scripps Institution of Oceanography. It was named after the former director of Scripps, Dr. Roger Randall Revelle. Revelle believed that the only way to truly study oceanography was to go to sea and he made it a goal while director to increase the number of ships owned by Scripps as well as make sure most if not all oceanographers at Scripps went to sea for some of their research. The REVELLE is 273′ long and 52′ 5″ wide at it’s widest point. Cruising speed of 12 knots, range is 13,000 nautical miles at 10 knots, crew of 22, with a scientific party of 37. It operates approximately 340 days a year worldwide, but mainly in the Pacific. For more information look at the Scripps home page at: www.scripps.ucsd.edu Being on the ship is like being a part of oceanographic history.

Hasta Luego

Debra Brice, November 11, 2003

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Debra Brice
Onboard R/V Roger Revelle
November 11-25, 2003

Mission: Ocean Observation
Geographical Area: Chilean Coast
Date: November 11, 2003

Latitude: S01’59.7754
Longitude: W084’00.4949
Visibility: 10 nautical miles ( nm)

Science and Technology Log

We started the day already underway toward the Equadorian Meteorological Buoy that we were to retrieve for the Equadorian Navy. We estimated that our time of arrival at the buoy’s location would be approximately 1:00pm.  Our first order of the day was a meeting to set up the Underway Watch schedule and train us in our duties during the watch. All of the watches for the scientific teams would be in the main lab. The responsibilities include being in the lab to respond to calls from the bridge, to record events in the log, to be available for other activities as needed. Take a record of hourly sea surface temperatures using a bucket thermometer. (A bucket thermometer is just what it sounds like, a thermometer with a small plastic bucket at the bottom with a line attached that you throw over the side to fill it with seawater and then read the temperature and record in the log). Deploy Argo floats as scheduled from the stern of the ship. I will describe the Argo Floats in more detail tomorrow as well as add a link to the website. You can see the Argo floats and the bucket thermometer on my pictures. Deploy surface drifters (Drogue floats). Assist in launching radiosondes. To work on the deck we need to wear safety vests at all times, hard hats, steel toed boots, strobe lights at night, and we must always work in pairs. We are to inform bridge when we are to deploy the floats. For the ARGO floats the ship comes to a stop, for the Drogue drifters we just throw them overboard while we are still underway.

We arrived at the location of the Equadorian Buoy at 1:15 pm to find that it was about 2 miles off its original location and had been damaged. The small zodiac was deployed from the ship with several crew members and an Equadorian Naval Officer who accompanied us, to help with the retrieval. An Equadorian naval ship met us at the buoy site. The buoy was towed over to the stern of the ship and hauled aboard using the “A” frame. It was secured and re-attached to the crane so that it could be lifted overboard after the instruments from the mooring were removed and returned to the Equadorian ship. The instruments were retrieved and the buoy and instruments were transferred to the Equadorian Naval vessel. Large numbers of strikingly beautiful barnacles and several species of tubeworms, crabs and various amphipods were attached to the bottom of the buoy and all the instruments that were submersed. A large number of fish were observed near the buoy and the crew caught several species of tuna, including yellowfin and bonita from the ship. We removed several samples of the barnacles, worms and amphipods, put them in a bucket and froze them for preservation and study in Arica. We are underway again and will be deploying 2 ARGO floats before tomorrow morning. My watch begins at 00:00 until 04:00 and I will probably be assisting in at least one deployment.

Personal Log

We did life boat, fire and man overboard drills today and I spent most of the afternoon answering e-mails and working on the computer. Finally got my software loaded and was able to tranfer some of my digtal pictures of the trip so far. I spent some time talking to the various scientific groups onboard and learnng about their projects that I will be describing later in our video broadcasts. On this cruise we have scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Labs, INOCAR (Equadorian Oceanographic Institute), Texas A&M meteorologist, NOAA ETL (meteorologists) and the Chilean Navy. We did a broadcast at sunset from the bow of the ship and I am working on lesson plans for the next few hours until my watch begins. Hasta Luego…..

Nancy Lewis, September 27, 2003

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

Mission: Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO)/TRITON
Geographical Area: Western Pacific
Date: September 27, 2003

Transit to Honolulu, HI

Sunday night arrival at Hotel pier, Pearl Harbor

Monday morning:  clear Customs/Immigrations/Agriculture

Refuel, then depart approximately 1500 for Snug Harbor

Weather Observation Log:  0100

Latitude:  17 degrees, 18.4’ N
Longitude:  153 degrees, 17.5’ W
Visibility:  12 nautical miles
Wind direction:  080 degrees
Wind speed:  14 knots
Sea wave height:  3-4 feet
Swell wave height:  5-7 feet
Sea water temperature:  26.8 degrees C
Sea level pressure:  1013.5 mb
Dry bulb pressure:  27.2 degrees C
Wet bulb pressure:  25.0 degrees C
Cloud cover:  1/8 Cumulus, alto-cumulus

Science and Technology Log

Today I will try and summarize for you the “El Nino Southern Oscillation Diagnostic Discussion” that was forwarded to me by Captain Ablondi of the KA’IMIMOANA.  This report was issued by the Climate Prediction Center.

Current atmospheric and oceanic conditions are near normal and do not favor either the development of El Nino or La Nina. Sea surface temperature anomalies of +0.5 degrees Celcius were noted west of the International Dateline, but there were near-zero anomalies in the equatorial Pacific east of 150 degrees West longitude.  During August, very little SST anomalies were observed in the El Nino regions.

In May there were gains in upper-ocean temperature which spread eastward into the central and eastern Pacific.  This was associated with an eastward Kelvin wave, that resulted from weaker than average easterly tradewinds that occurred in May and June.  SST (Sea Surface Temperatures) anomalies increased during June and July, but then subsided during August.

The Tahiti-Darwin SOI (Southern Oscillation Index)  showed a great deal of month to month variability, but shows no trend towards the development of either El Nino or La Nina.

Most of the statistical forecasts display near neutral conditions for the remainder of 2003 and 2004. This forecast is consistent with the trends revealed by all other oceanic and atmospheric measurements and data.

I have copies of the graphs associated with the above report, and would be happy to make them available to any classes, students or teachers upon request.

Personal Log

Today everyone is readying for our arrival tomorrow night into Pearl Harbor.  Accounts with the ship’s store are being squared up, and some of the computers are having operating systems reinstalled.  Most of us are starting to pack.  I am still answering e-mails, cataloguing photos and catching up with my daily logs.

The real treat came just at sunset after dinner.  The Big Island was visible from our position of 100 miles away.  Mauna Loa showed clearly on the horizon, and I thought I could even see Kilauea off to the east.  It was an exceptionally clear evening, but in spite of that, we saw no “green flash”.  I was really excited to get my first glimpse of land in so many days, and be able to see my much loved mountain.  One other crew member, Curt, also lives on the Big Island, and we joked that we could probably jump ship and swim home.

The prediction is that we will pass by South Point around 2 in the morning.  I plan to be on the bow!

Question of the Day:  What is phytoplankton?

Land Ho!

Nancy Lewis

Nancy Lewis, September 26, 2003

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

Mission: Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO)/TRITON
Geographical Area: Western Pacific
Date: September 26, 2003

Transit to Honolulu, HI

0700:  Wog Breakfast

Sunday night arrival at Hotel pier, Pearl Harbor

Monday morning:  clear Customs/Immigrations/Agriculture

Refuel, then depart approximately 1500 for Snug Harbor

Weather Observation Log:  0100

Latitude:  14 degrees, 54.7’ N
Longitude:  149 degrees, 22.4’ W
Visibility:  12 nautical miles
Wind direction:  090 degrees
Wind speed:  10 knots
Sea wave height:  3-4 feet
Swell wave height:  5-7 feet
Sea water temperature:  28.0 degrees C
Sea level pressure:  1012.7 mb
Dry bulb pressure:  27.8 degrees C
Wet bulb pressure:  24.9 degrees C
Cloud cover:  6/8 Cumulus, strato-cumulus

Science and Technology Log

Last night I was able to interview the Chief Scientist on board the KA, Patrick Ahearn.  Patrick’s responsibilities include assembling and disassembling the buoy components, working with the Captain to map out the buoy operations each day, and also overseeing all the other science projects that are being done on board the KA.

I have received several e-mail questions from students about whether or not they ever put out new buoys.  Research and developments is always going on with the TAO/Triton program. Patrick talked about several experimental instruments that were used for the first time on this cruise.  A new buoy was deployed (parallel with the one at 5 degrees North) that had on it a new type of wind instrument called an Acoustic Wind Anemometer.  This will be a test buoy to see how it performs compared with the older propeller type model, which is greatly subject to damage.

Another experimental device just deployed for the first time on this cruise is called a pCO2 unit. This unit has been laying out here in the lab, opened up, and we are shooting some video footage of it, so that you can see what it looks like.  It is pretty amazing in that inside the waterproof canister are various transistors, wiring, and an iridium modem phone which they use to call up the buoy.  Another canister contains lots and lots of batteries to power the instrument.

The pCO2 unit is being used to measure the amount of carbon dissolved in the water.  It will enable data to be gathered on the amount of carbon dioxide that is either being  dissolved into the ocean, or being diffused out of the ocean water and into the atmosphere.  These studies are very important to the study of the greenhouse effect and relate to studies that are considering whether or not global warming is indeed occurring.  It was truly fascinating to see the inside of this sophisticated instrument, another example of the type of cutting edge science being conducted on board this vessel.

Patrick is the one who always goes out to the buoys, climbs on them to remove the instruments before the buoy is retrieved, or brought on board the ship.  On the night that I rode out to the buoy where a repair would be conducted,  I was amazed to see Patrick bring onto the buoy a laptop computer.  You can imagine how it must have looked, in the pitch dark, with him gazing at the lighted computer screen on the buoy.

Personal Log

All of the Wogs had to serve breakfast to the Shellbacks this morning.  I have been sworn to secrecy about the exact nature of the rest of the morning’s proceedings.  The initiation of Wogs is a tradition that goes way back to the days of sailing ships, but nothing that happened to us was injurious to life or limb. Suffice it to say, that I survived the treatment and was rewarded with a card that proves I have been across the Equator, and am now an honorable Shellback.

The scientists are beginning to pack up all their instruments and gear.  Tom Nolan is still running calibrations with his SINBAD instrument whenever the satellite is overhead.  The crew has been busy cleaning the decks, painting and generally sprucing up the ship for our grand entrance into Pearl Harbor on Sunday.  The Customs officials have to clear us, since the ship has been to a foreign country.  Then, the ship will refuel and make its way over to Snug Harbor.  Many of us will be leaving the vessel, but for much of the crew, a new cruise will begin for them after not too many days.

In the meantime,  I am keeping track of our projected time to approach Ka Lae, or South Point, the southernmost tip of land in the U.S.  My school, Naalehu Elementary and Intermediate School, is located  very close to South Point, and indeed, the school overlooks the ocean near there.  It may be in the middle of the night, but I am planning on being, no matter what time it is.

Question of the Day:  Where is the ozone layer located in the atmosphere?

Aloha from the KA,

Nancy Lewis

Nancy Lewis, September 25, 2003

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

Mission: Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO)/TRITON
Geographical Area: Western Pacific
Date: September 25, 2003

Transit to Honolulu, HI:  Approximate arrival:  evening of 9/28//2003

1600-1700:  Fantail BBQ

1800:  Wog Talent Show

Weather Observation Log:  0100

Latitude:  12 degrees, 29.6’ N
Longitude:  145 degrees, 30.0’ W
Visibility:  12 nautical miles
Wind direction:  120 degrees
Wind speed:  9 knots
Sea wave height:  3-4 feet
Swell wave height:  5-7 feet
Sea water temperature:  28.0 degrees C
Sea level pressure:  1013.4 mb
Dry bulb pressure:  28.0 degrees C
Wet bulb pressure:  25.7 degrees C
Cloud cover:  6/8 Cumulus, cirrus

Science and Technology Log

Yesterday,  I asked the question:  “What is the difference between climate and weather?” Understanding the distinction is important, and is often confused by students, who often hear the two terms used interchangeably.

Very simply,  weather is what is happening at any given moment in terms of temperature, rainfall, winds, humidity and storms.  We all know that the weather can change from hour to hour and day to day.  Climate, on the other hand,  is the overall weather pattern and conditions for a given area or region over a period of time.  Thus,  we may say the climate for large areas of the continental U.S. is temperate, while the climate of Pacific islands is tropical.  The Big Island of Hawaii, with its two 13,000 foot mountains, has at least 9 climate zones.

We know that the earth has undergone times in its past of major climate change.  At one time, the polar ice extended down into areas of the United States that today are ice free. We know that even very small changes in ocean temperatures can create conditions that have far-reaching effects around the world.  Scientists are still attempting to understand the interaction of the atmosphere and oceans in order to be able to better predict and prepare for climate changes.  The climate observation system provided by the TAP/Triton array and maintained by the KA’IMIMOANA is an important link in the global effort to completely understand the complex relationships between air, sea, land, and human actions and how these affect climate and weather.

Personal Log

Today I spent a lot of time preparing for the Wog Talent Show, in addition to answering my email and writing this log.  I thought I would share with you part of my little act, which was a dramatization of the Legend of Fenua Enata, the creation myth of the Marquesas Islands. It was set to some very nice island music from the island of Rarotonga, in the Cook Islands.

The buoy that was dedicated to Taiohae School was painted and named by the students: “Fenua Enata,” which they told me was their word for their islands. The term “Marquesas” was the name given to the islands by the first European to come to Fenua Enata.

Legend of the Fenua Enata

A long time ago, when the sun was shining on the sea, the first man, Atea and the first woman, Atanua had no house.

So Atanua told Atea:  “We do not live well without a house”.  Atea did not answer.

He thought:  “I do not know how to build a house.”

Then he thought,  “I have the divine power of the Mana.  I will ask the gods.”

One evening Atea said to his wife Atanua: “Tonight I will build you a home.  I know how.”

It was dark and Atea’s voice was like a spell singing in the silent nothingness:

AKA OA E, AKA POTO E, AKA NUI E, AKA ITI E E

E E, AKA PITO E, AKA HANA E, HAKA TU TE HAE

The spell was finished, the work began, the site was chosen in the middle of the ocean.

Two sturdy posts were erected:  these became UA POU

A long beam was placed on top of them;  it became HIVA OA

The front posts and the rafter covering the roof was NUKU HIVA

Nine woven coconut palm leaves, laid end to end as thatch became FATU IVA

The weaving of the thatch took a long time as did the making of the sennit.

Time passed quickly as Atea worked and worked without stopping.

Suddenly Atanua shouted:  “O Atea e,

The light of dawn is turning the sky to red”:  it is TAHUATA

“O Atea e, Moho, the morning bird just sang”: It is MOHOTANI

Atea kept digging a hole for the litter of fronds, sennit and hau bark,

Until finally he said:  “This is UA HUKU”.

Then the sun lit up the sky illuminating the ocean and the new dwelling place.

Atanua cried out:  “Ir is EIAO”.

Thus, the Land of Men, Fenua Enata, was created.

 

Question of the Day:  What is the thermocline?

 

Aloha from the KA,

Nancy Lewis

Nancy Lewis, September 24, 2003

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

Mission: Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO)/TRITON
Geographical Area: Western Pacific
Date: September 24, 2003

Sunrise:  0613
Sunset:  1828

0600:  All wogs on bow

Transit to Honolulu

Time Change:  Set your clocks back one hour to Hawaii time

Weather Observation Log:  0100

Latitude:  9 degrees, 57.8; N
Longitude:  141 degrees, 41.6’ W
Visibility:  12 nautical miles (nm)
Wind direction:  130 degrees
Wind speed:  7 knots
Sea wave height:  2-3 feet
Swell wave height:  4-6 feet
Sea water temperature:  27.8 degrees C
Sea level pressure:  1012.2 mb
Dry bulb pressure:  27.0 degrees C
Wet bulb pressure:  26.0 degrees C
Cloud cover:  7/8 Altocumulus, cumulus, altostrattus
Air temperature:  27.0 degrees  C

Science and Technology Log

The phenomenon known as El Nino will be the subject of our discussion today.  El Nino is a recurrent weather phenomenon that has been known for years by fisherman along the coasts of South America.  During an El Nino, the normally strong easterly tradewinds weaken, bringing warmer than normal currents eastward to the the coasts of Peru and Ecuador.  Fishing drops off, and there can be catastrophic effects in weather all the way from Australia and Indonesia to both American continents.

During the unpredicted El Nino of 1982-83,  the effects began to be felt in May.  West of the dateline, strong westerly winds set in.  Sea levels in the mid-Pacific rose several inches, and by October,  sea level rises of up to one foot had spread 6000 miles east to Ecuador. As the sea levels rose in the east, it simultaneously dropped in the western Pacific, destroying many fragile coral reefs.  Sea temperatures in the Galapagos Islands rose from the low 70 degrees Fahrenheit to well into the 80s.  Torrential rains on the coast of Peru changed a dry coastal desert into a grassland.  Areas from Ecuador, Chile and Peru suffered from flooding as well as fishing losses, and that winter there were heavy storms pounding the California coast, the rains that normally fall in Indonesia. The effects of this El Nino to the world economy were estimated to be over $8 billion.

During the 1920s, a British scientist, Sir Gilbert Walker, pioneered work in what he called the Southern Oscillation Index. Using data from barometric readings taken on the eastern and the western sides of the Pacific Ocean, Gilbert discovered that when the pressure rises in the east, it falls to the west, and vice-versa.  When the pressure is in its high-index, pressure is high on the eastern side.  The pressure contrast along the equator is what drives surface winds from east to west.  When the pressure is in the low index,  the opposite condition occurs.  Easterly winds usually disappear completely west of the dateline, and weaken east of that point.

The TAO/Triton array is part of an international effort to be understand, in order to be able to predict and prepare for such events as El Nino and its counterpart, La Nina.  Formerly, data was collected from historical records, instruments at tide gauging stations, and also the observations made by ships transiting the ocean.  The data that is being collected will be able to help scientists hone their understanding of the complex relationship between the atmosphere and the oceans.  We have only recently become aware of the profound effects that climate changes in far flung points on the globe have for many parts of the inhabited world.  It is a sobering fact to realize that oceans cover 71% of our planet, and that, next to the sun, the oceans are the biggest determinant of climate and weather.

Personal Log

The buoy operations are over and we are now steaming our way back to the KA’s home port of Honolulu.  The ship is basically moving at approximately 10 miles an hour, so in 10 hours, we only travel 100 miles.  Our estimated time back is sometime Sunday evening.

Fishing lines have been set out off the fantail, and the crew is beginning to clean up the gear, power washing the deck and acid cleaning the sides for our grand entry back in Hawaii.  Tonight in the mess lounge, we had the “wog Olympics”  where we competed in such races as rolling olives on the floor with our noses.

My usual routine has calmed down a bit, but we are still making videos.  Some of them have to be tossed and redone if  I flub my lines too much.  It was raining today, the sky a mass of almost evil-looking clouds.

We also had periods of rain and drizzle.  I paid a visit to the bridge asking for any old navigation charts, and came away with a bundle.

I am also busy rehearsing my “act” for tomorrow night’s performance on the fantail after a barbecue dinner.  We wogs are expected to provide the evening entertainment for the honorable shellbacks.

Tonight for the first time,  I watched some television.  We have programming provided by the Armed Forces Network.  I’d like to take this opportunity to send my best wishes for a safe return to all those men and women serving in the current conflict in the Middle East, and most especially to PFC Noel Lewis and all those in his unit.
Question of the Day:   What is the difference between weather and climate?

Aloha from the KA!

Nancy Lewis

Nancy Lewis, September 23, 2003

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

Mission: Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO)/TRITON
Geographical Area: Western Pacific
Date: September 23, 2003

Sunrise:  0608
Sunset:   1815

9/22/03~2330:  6 N CTD

0615:  7N CTD

1300:  8N CTD

2000:  Repair 9 N Buoy W/ CTD

Weather Observation Log

Latitude:  7 Degrees, 25.3’ N
Longitude:  140 degrees, 8.0 W
Visibility:  12 nautical miles (nm)
Wind direction:  170 degrees
Wind speed:  10 knots
Sea wave height:  3-4 feet
Swell wave height:  4-6 feet
Sea water temperature:  28.5 degrees C
Dry bulb pressure:  30.4 degrees C
Wet bulb pressure:  26.3 degrees C
Cloud cover:  5/8, Altocumulus, cirrus
Air Tempterature:  30.4 degrees C

Science and Technology Log

Previously, I explained that there is other scientific work being done on this cruise.  One such project is CO2 and pH analysis.  Previous to this, NOAA has been using water samples taken from the CTD, and these samples only come from particular depths, generally every 200 meters.  The scientists from the University of South Florida have brought along devices which they are testing in order to work out the “bugs”, from these prototypes.  They are called SEAS systems, and are lowered in the water column to a depth of 300 meters at a rate of 6 meters per minute to collect pH profile continuously.  The advantage of the SEAS system over taking samples from the CTD is that they get a continuous data, not just data from the specific depths tested by the CTD.  The data they produce is therefore much more complete and accurate.

In my interview with Dr. Renate Bernstein I asked the question:  “Is your work related to studies of global warming?”  Her answer was: “absolutely. “  The SEAS system is analyzing dissolved CO2 in the ocean water. Normally, the ocean is considered to be a “sink” for CO2 in the atmosphere.  Cold water has the capacity to dissolve more CO2 from the atmosphere than hot water.  The analogy would be to think of the carbon dioxide in a carbonated soda.  If you shake up a cold drink,  it doesn’t fizz as much.  If you do the same thing with a warm soda,  it will fizz up much more.

How does dissolved CO2 relate to the pH of the ocean?  The  carbon dioxide combines with water (H20) molecules in the ocean to produce carbonic acid, which has a higher acidity.  Thus water with more dissolved CO2 would have a higher pH value.

Dr. Bernstein explained that there are areas, however, where the ocean is liberating CO2. She said that was what they were seeing from the data they’ve collected.  The water near the equator where cold water upwelling occurs were the places where CO2 was being diffused into the atmosphere.  According to Dr. Bernstein, what they were doing on board this vessel was truly “cutting edge science” being done nowhere else in the world.  It has been exciting to me and a great honor to share with you some of  the science being done on board the KA’IMIMOANA.

Personal Log

For the first time on this cruise,  the weather has become hot and humid.  It was not a pleasant day to be out on the deck of the ship, plus they were power washing the deck and acid cleaning the sides of the vessel.  Last night I was out with my Planosphere, trying to identify some constellations, but the clouds had started, so visibility was not that good.  I did see Sagittarius, which looks like a teapot.  Randy, the Survey Tech in charge of the CTD, showed me a computer program that I want to get called “Starry Night”.  You put in your location and the time and date, and it shows the night sky and superimposes images over the constellations:  very cool!

I almost missed the biggest event of the day, and for me, of this, cruise.  John Kermond had told me that the buoy repair was cancelled, so there wouldn’t be a last RHIB ride out to the buoy.  I had already prepared for bed, when there came a knock at the door. “ Hurry up,  they’re going on the RHIB!” I quickly scrambled on some clothes and ran up to the deck, while Doc hunted up a hard hat and life jacket for me.  They strapped a Cyalume light onto my vest, John gave me a flashlight, and we were off.  I felt a little like what it must have been like on the Titanic, getting into lifeboats in the inky blackness.  We roared off, using a powerful light to see the buoy.  The water around the buoy was teeming with large fish, mostly mahi.

This buoy had been damaged and Patrick Ahearn, the Chief Scientist would be making the necessary repairs.  Sometimes, they say, other ships hit the buoy, or fishing boats tie up to the buoy.  This was the first time the sea had been relatively calm, and it seemed a good thing, since higher seas would make a repair job much more difficult, like working on a bobbing cork.  Patrick swung out onto the buoy, follwed by Nicole Colasacco, the Field Operations Officer who would assist him.

In the meantime,  we sped back to the KA to pick up replacement instruments, a new rain gauge, a new anemometer, and a new temperature sensor.  The ship seemed a long way off, but all of its running lights were on.  I thought about how it must have felt for Patrick and Nicole to be all alone in the dark on that buoy while we went back to the ship.

As soon as we returned with the instruments,  Jimbo set out fishing lines and we bagan to troll.  We spent a good 45 minutes circling the buoy, but got nary a bite.  Maybe it just wasn’t feeding time.  As our eyes got our night vision, we could see the sparkling of bioluminescent creatures in the water all around the boat.  The skies were cloudy, so stargazing was out, and eventually it began to rain.

Finally, they were finished with the repair job, and it was my turn to get out onto the buoy.  I already knew that the donut would be slimy and slippery, and it was.  There are several platforms, though, that afford good footing inside the bars of the instrument scaffold.  By the time I was up on the buoy, the swells had picked up a little, and actually, there was a terrific current pulling on the buoy.  It was a little like riding a bucking bronco!

We were out on the buoy operation until well past 11 last night, but I was so glad I hadn’t missed my last chance to get on one of the buoys.  The fish weren’t biting, so we came away empty  handed, but they’ll be other fishing opportunities as we start the long transit back to Honolulu.  Since we have to go right past South Point on the island of Hawaii, there is a chance that students from my school may get to see us, and I’ll keep you posted on exactly when that will be.

Question of the Day:  What is the chemical formula for carbonic acid?

Aloha from the KA!

Nancy Lewis

Nancy Lewis, September 22, 2003

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

Mission: Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO)/TRITON
Geographical Area: Western Pacific
Date: September 22, 2003

Sunrise:  0610
Sunset:  1817

0515:  4 N CTD

0900:  Shellbacks on bow

1215:  Deploy Test Wind Buoy

Repair 5 N 140 W Buoy

SOLO

Weather Observation Log

Latitude:  4 degrees.,  22.7’ N
Longitude:  139 degrees, 58.8’ W
Visibility:  12 nautical miles (nm)
Wind direction:  160 degrees
Wind speed:  10 knots
Sea wave height:  2-3 feet
Swell wave height:  4-6 feet
Sea water temperature:  28.0 degrees C
Sea level presuure:  1013.0 mb
Dry bulb pressure:  27.8 degrees C
Wet bulb pressure:  24.6 degrees C
Cloud cover:  4/8 Cumulus, altocumulus, cirrus
Air temperature:  27.8 degrees C

Science and Technology Log

I promised that I would return to a discussion of the ADCP, or Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler.   You can see from the Daily Log’s Plan of the Day when these were deployed, but they are deployed at the following locations:  (0-147 E, 0-165 E, 0-170 W, 0-140 W).  On which of these locations did we deploy the ADCP on this leg of the cruise?

These moorings are subsurface, and the data is only available after their recovery. Typically, the depth is 300 meters, and these buoys use the Doppler effect to gather data on ocean currents at that depth.  I have posted several pictures on the website of the ADCP, and to me, it looks like a satellite when it was on board the ship.  In the water, it looked like a big orange fishing bobber.

Our buoy ops (operations) are beginning to wind down, and we recovered no TAO buoy today, as you can see from the plan of the day.  There was a repair done to the 5 N 140 W buoy.  A whole group went out to do that, and used the time while out at the buoy to do a little fishing.  Two large fish came back on the RHIB, a yellow-fin tuna and a mahi-mahi. Kamaka was preparing the fish by cutting filets and making poke for tomorrow’s lunch.

I’d like to make available for teachers a lesson plan submitted by Suzanne Forehand from Virginia Beach City Public Schools.  Because the schools have been closed due to the hurricane,  it is not available as yet on the web.  Teachers may request a copy from me, and I will send it as an attached file to an e-mail.  I would like to thank Ms. Forehand for her collaboration on this project, andI  hope that their electricity is restored soon.  I look forward to hearing from the students at Plaza Middle School in Virginia Beach.

Personal Log

Oh, the life of a lowly Wog!  Traditionally,  those who have crossed the equator at sea for the first time are treated to a variety of secret initiation ceremonies where one is designated a “wog”.  Shellbacks are those people who have already made the passage, and it is their delight to devise various tortures to inflict on the wogs.  The 6 of us on board here were ordered up on the forward deck early this morning, and the fun began.  I cannot give away any of these secrets, but suffice it to say that we all got a saltwater shower.  From here on until we complete the initiation, we have to wear our clothes in ridiculous ways, and bow and scrape to the honorable shellbacks.  At the end of several days of this entertainment for all the shellbacks,  we then become a shellback ourselves and will be issued certificates and a card that we will hold on to forever to avoid having to endure the same in the future. In the 19th century this tradition was carried to extremes with such measures as keel-hauling the wogs, and some very serious, life-threatening acts of hazing.  It is toned way down from those days, and all is done with a spirit of fun and good humor.

I have been busy looking at the photos I have taken on the digital camera, and of course selecting ones to be sent to Maryland to be posted on the website.  There were various glitches today with the computer I am working on, so my work had to be done in fits and starts throughout the day.

Tom and I played 2 games of sequence this evening against the CO and Doc and we won the championship!  The competition is fierce around here because the winners get a T-shirt or cap from the ship’s store.  I guess I’ll find out if it was wise to beat the Captain hands down like that.  I am scheduled to play him next in Scrabble.

Question of the Day:  What is the origin of the word “hurricane”?

Aloha until tomorrow!

Nancy Lewis

Nancy Lewis, September 21, 2003

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

Mission: Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO)/TRITON
Geographical Area: Western Pacific
Date: September 21, 2003

Sunrise:  0609
Sunset:  1819

Plan of the Day:

0045:  1.5 N CTD

0445:  pH profiler Cast

0700:   Recover/Deploy 2 N 140 W Buoy

CTD after anchor drop

AOML after buoy fly by

2230:  3 N CTD and AOML

Weather Observation Log

Latitude:  2 degrees, 2.2’ N
Longitude:  140 degrees, 2.5’ W
Visibility:  12 nautical miles
Wind direction: 140 degrees
Wind speed:  15 knots
Sea wave height:  3-4 feet
Swell wave height:  4-6 feet
Sea water temperature:  27.7 degrees C
Sea level pressure:  1012.2 mb
Air Temperature:  26.7 degrees C
Dry bulb pressure:  26.3 degrees C
Wet bulb pressure:  24.0 degrees C
Cloud cover:  2/8 Cumulus

Science and Technology Log

Several other scientists are utilizing the CTD casts in their projects.  The first thing that is done when the CTD is brought to the surface is to collect what we have been calling the “Dickson” sample  A .5 liter sea water sample is collected from the surface and then capped using a small bench-top press.  These samples are sent to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego and are analyzed for dissolved inorganic carbon.  This procedure is done by the Survey Technician, and yours truly has learned to do it.  Also, scientist Charles Gutter-Johnson, from Bloomsburg University, uses the CTD water samples for the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute research.  This involves taking chlorophyll and nutrient samples using a bench-top flourometer.  Charles also works to collect barnacles off the retrieved buoys for the Bloomsburg University Barnacle Census.

Tom Nolan from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has been calibrating his instrument, called the MISR, which stands for Multi-angle Imaging  SpectroRadiometer. What Tom is doing is checking this instrument against NASA’s  satellite in order to check its calibration. The instrument basically looks like a small oblong box, which he points to the sun to get a reading, and then down at the ocean to get another reading.

Lewis 9-21-03 Tom Nolan
Tom Nolan, from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, calibrates the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR).

These checks have to be done at precise times in order to catch the satellite in its orbit overhead.  The satellite images are used in weather forecasting and tracking of storms, such as hurricane Isabel. Here is the website address for viewing the satellite image of Isabel taken by MISR: http://www-misr.jpl.nasa.gov.  I would love to look at the image myself, but we do not have the internet on the KA.

I would also like to give you a website address where you can view a labeled diagram of a buoy.  It is: http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/tao/images/nexgen.gif.  Here is a question for you: why do the buoys measure conductivity?  To give you somewhat of a hint, conductivity is actually measuring the salinity of the ocean water.  How does salinity relate to ocean currents?

Personal Log

Today we dedicated the TAO buoy to Naalehu Elementary and Intermediate School!  On a large NOAA sticker, I wrote the name of our school, and we had a dedication ceremony where the Captain, John Kermond, our videographer, Tom Nolan and myself signed the sticker. Captain Ablondi and myself then fixed the sticker to the central shaft of the buoy, which is above the water.

CO Ablondi, scientist Tom Nolan, and TAS Nancy Lewis dedicate a buoy to Na’alehu School.
signing the sticker to dedicate the TAO buoy

I am very proud to be a part of the Teacher at Sea program, and be able to share the work on the KA’IMIMOANA of climate observation.  I hope to inspire many of the students at my school, and at schools around the country to a greater interest and study of science, and in particular earth science and oceanography.  If we fail to care for the oceans (and it is all one big ocean despite our giving them separate names) we risk upsetting the entire ecosystem of this planet.  We need the next generation, those of you in school now, to learn as much as they can about this planet, the waters that cover 70% of it, and the atmosphere above us.

We finished filming this afternoon just before sunset, and would like to see who can answer this “brain teaser” of a question:  Why does the ocean foam? Even I do not know the answer to this question, and I pose it for all you budding young scientists out there.

The game tournaments have begun, and I just learned how to place the card game “Sequence”.  Tom is my partner and we won 2 out of 3 games that we played against Nicole Colasacco, the Field Operations Officer (the FOO) and Curt Redman, Engine Utilityman.  The championship game will be against Doc and the CO (Commanding Officer), Mark Ablondi.  According to Doc, whoever wins the first round will be going down when they play her and the CO.  We’ll see!

Questions of the Day:  Quiz for prizes!  First prize will be a KA’IMIMOANA T-shirt, Second prize a ship’s baseball cap, and Third prize a special KA’IMIMOANA patch.  

Here are the questions:

  1. Name the world’s 5 oceans.
  2. Which one is the largest?
  3. How many island groups make up French Polynesia and what are their names?
  4. What is La Nina?
  5. What does NOAA stand for?

Kia Orana!  (May you live long and be at peace, in Cook Islands Maori language)

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

9/19/03:

2015  Deep CTD

9/20/03:

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 Engler@noaa.gov or check out http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/ 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

Nancy Lewis, September 19, 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 19, 2003

Plan of the Day:

0700:    Recover /Deploy Equatorial ADCP
Recover CO2 Buoy (if there)  OR
Deploy CO2 Buoy ( if Buoy is missing)

Weather Observation Log:  0100

Latitude:  0 degrees,  0.7′ N
Longitude:  140 degrees., 2.3′ W
Visibility:  12 nautical miles (nm)
Wind direction:  120 degrees
Wind speed:  21 knots
Sea wave height:  3-5 feet
Swell wave height:  5-7 feet
Sea water temperature:  26.0 degrees C
Sea level pressure:  1011.2 mb
Dry bulb pressure:  26.0 degrees C
Wet bulb pressure:  23.8 degrees C
Cloud cover:  3/8 Cumulus, altocumulus

Science and Technology Log

The equator!  For me as for most people, it has always just been “that line around the globe,”  but now that I am out here on this project,  I realize that the equator defines more than just the northern and southern hemispheres of the earth.  It is here that the ocean currents are being intensively studied in order for us to understand the relationship between the oceans and climate.  The 1982-83 El Nino was not predicted by scientists, and it had far-reaching, damaging effects on such diverse places as South America and Australia.  It was then that NOAA funded the Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere project that is the TAO/Triton array.  Approximately 50 of the buoys are maintained by the U.S. and the other 20 are maintained by Japan.  It took 10 years to complete and in essence, it is a 6,000 mile antennae for scientists to monitor conditions in the equatorial Pacific.

Normally,  the trade winds blow from east to west, but in an El Nino event,  the situation is reversed.

The phenomenon has long been observed by South American fisherman,  and usually occurs around the time of Christmas, hence its name which means “Christ child.”  The great ocean currents are moved by the wind, but around the equator, there are counter, below-sea currents.  Instruments in the TAO/Triton array are involved in collecting important data on these below surface currents.

Each TAO buoy is moored to the bottom of the ocean using steel cable surrounded in plastic and railroad wheels are the anchor.  At various depths on the Nilspin, temperature sensors called thermistors are strapped to the cable.  The cable conducts a signal to the surface of the buoy.  These cables can become damaged (by sharks biting them!) or otherwise degraded, and then the signal will be corrupted. Thus, there is the need for the periodic maintenance which is the main mission of the KA’IMIMOANA.

In addition, some of the buoys are equipped with CO2 sensors, which measure the amount of dissolved CO2 in the water, and which can then be used in studies of global warming.  The buoy which we retrieved today stopped working shortly after it was deployed, and it was not known if it had broken free or what had happened.  As it turned out, the buoy was there, and has been replaced with a fully functioning buoy. Right now, I am looking at innards of that CO2 sensor, which is in the computer lab and is being analyzed by the Chief Scientist.

Personal Log

Early this morning, we recovered the ADCP, which is a subsurface buoy.  Shortly thereafter, we deployed a new ADCP.  ADCP stands for Acoustic Dopplar Current Profiler, and this instrument is used to record data on the below surface currents. I will spend time later discussing this buoy, which looks like a giant orange ball.

I spent much of the day catching up on my daily logs, downloading photos and making several video clips to send to the website.  It appears that the hurricane did a number on the East Coast, and we probably will not have email communication until at least tomorrow.  I have been very happy to get some good questions from the students at Na’alehu School on the Big Island, and I am looking forward to hearing from many more of you next week.

I also spent time today chatting with the Chief Boatswain, Kamaka, a very hard working Hawaiian young man who spreads a lot of aloha wherever he goes.  I have invited Kamaka to come to my school when we get back to Hawaii since he is planning to visit the Big Island.  His girlfriend is Marquesan and lives on Nuku Hiva.

The sunset this evening at the equator was stunningly beautiful,  and there was a rainbow under some misty clouds in the east.  I am hoping my photo was able to capture it for you all.  We shall remain here at the equator overnight, and I am looking forward to the gentle rocking of the ship once I tumble into my berth later this evening.

Question of the Day:   What is the Coriolis effect and how does it relate to winds and ocean currents?

Aloha from the KA’IMIMOANA!

Nancy Lewis

Nancy Lewis, September 18, 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 18, 2003

Plan of the Day:  

0130:    4  S CTD and SOLO

0840:    3 S CTD and AOML

1545:    Visit  2 S 140 W Buoy w/CTD and AOML

1800:    Shellback Meeting in Main Mess:  Shellbacks Only!  (If you do not know what a shellback is you are not one)

2345:    1 S CTD and SOLO

 

Weather Observation Log:  0100

Latitude:  2 degrees,55.3′ S
Longitude:  139 degrees,57.2′ W
Visibility:  12 nautical miles (nm)
Wind direction:  080 degrees
Wind speed:  16 knots
Sea wave height:  4-5 feet
Swell wave height:  6-8 feet
Sea water temperature:  26.4 degrees C
Sea level pressure:  
1012.7 mb
Dry bulb pressure:
 26.3 degrees C
Wet bulb pressure:
 24.1 degrees C
Cloud cover:  3/8 Cumulus

 

See Tomorrow’s Log for info

Nancy Lewis, September 17, 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 17, 2003

Plan of the Day:

0900:    Recover/Deploy 5 S 140 W Buoy
CTD after anchor drop
AOML Drifter after buoy flyby

Weather Observation Log:  0100

Latitude:  5 degrees, 2′ S
Longitude:  139 degrees, 54.7′ W
Visibility:  12 nautical miles (nm)
Wind direction:  090 Degrees
Wind speed:  21 knots (kts)
Sea wave height:  4-6 feet
Swell wave height:  7-9 feet
Sea water temperature:  26.8 degrees C
Sea level pressure:  1012.7  mb.
Dry bulb temperature:  27.1 degrees C
Wet bulb temperature:  23.8 degrees C
Cloud cover:   2/8 Cumulus

Science and Technology Log

The primary mission of the KA’IMIMOANA is to service and maintain the TAO/Triton array of weather buoys strung out along the equatorial Pacific Ocean. TAO stands for Tropical Atmosphere Ocean and Triton is the name of the Japanese component of the array.  These buoys are jointly maintained by Japan and the U.S.  in an effort to better understand how the oceans affect climate and weather, especially in the regions close to the Equator.

Today I was able to observe first hand the entire operation of retrieving and deploying what used to be called the Atlas buoy.  They are now designated as TAO buoys. These buoys are placed at strategic points north, south and on the Equator.  The first leg of this mission began in Honolulu on August 21, 2003.  Honolulu is the home base port for the KA’IMIMOANA, which I hope you all know means “ocean seeker” in Hawaiian.

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TAO buoys are jointly maintained by Japan and the U.S. in an effort to better understand how the oceans affect climate and weather, especially in the regions close to the Equator.

Tetsuro Isono from JAMSTEC (Japan Marine Science and Technology Center) was on board as part of the Teacher at Sea program for the first leg from Honolulu to Nuku Hiva.  You can access his broadcasts on the NOAA Teacher at Sea website.  Although he was speaking Japanese, an English translation can be printed out for you to follow. In his broadcasts, Tetsuro interviews many of the scientists on board and introduces much of the equipment and buoys that are used in this project.  It would be very helpful for you to view these broadcasts in order to get a working background for the buoys and their operations, but I will also be giving explanations during the project.

The first thing in retrieving the buoy is that is that it is sighted from the bridge of the ship. These are moored buoys, so they remain in position where they are placed. Once the buoy is sighted, the RHIB (Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat) is lowered from the ship, and a crew is sent out to visually inspect and to remove some of the instruments that would be damaged during the retrieval process.  The anemometer, rain gauge, and Patrick Ahearn, the Chief Scientist and one other “volunteer”.  The buoys are usually very slimy and slippery having been out in the ocean for a period of several months, so climbing on the buoy can be a dangerous affair, especially if there are significant waves and swells.

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lowering the Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB)

One of my students has asked the question:  “What information is gathered by the buoys?” The buoys gather data constantly on the following:  wind speed and direction, air temperature, relative humidity, rainfall, downwelling shortwave radiation, downwelling longwave radiation, barometric pressure, sea surface and subsurface temperature, salinity, water pressure, and ocean currents.  You can find more details about the instruments for measuring these variables at this website:  http:www.pmel.noaa.gov/tao/proj_over/sensors.shtml.  The data is transmitted via NOAA polar satellites and is actually picked up by computers located on Wallops Island.  This information is used by scientists all over the world who are studying the Pacific Ocean and its relationship to weather and climate, particularly the El Nino and its opposite La Nina.  I will be talking more about these as the cruise progresses.

After the buoy was retrieved, a replacement buoy was deployed.  I will be posting pictures on the website of the marine life growing on the bottom of the buoy, and it must be cleaned, painted and otherwise serviced before it is used again.  The process of retrieving and deploying a new buoy takes approximately 8 hours, as many meters of cable must be spooled on board, and it is amazing to watch this crew work together to bring it all off.  It is a well orchestrated event that I will do more to explain as we go along.

Lewis retrieved buoy
The retrieved buoy must be cleaned, painted and otherwise serviced before it can be used again.

Personal Log

Today was a full day indeed for me, and thankfully I was over my initial seasickness.  The opening act of the morning was my first ride in the RHIB to go out to the buoy.  You can see from the weather observations that it was by no means calm seas, so the ride out to the buoy was pretty exciting.

I was then put to work helping to spool the Nilspin cable which attaches the mooring to the buoy.  The spooling operation takes a long time, and even the XO (Executive Officer) joins in to help.  I observed the entire retrieval and deployment operation, and it basically took the whole day.

After dinner, I began training with Randy Ramey, the Survey Technician in charge of the CTD’s.  I was actually involved in every aspect of the operation under Randy’s expert guidance and Tom Nolan, the scientist from NASA was also on hand.  I will save an explanation of the CTD for another day, but this instrument is really fascinating to me.

It has been a long and exciting day, but very satisfying. I am still learning my way around the ship and getting used to the shipboard schedule  I would like to invite anyone who is looking at the website to e-mail your questions to me, which I can include the answer to on my daily logs. Before I close, let me pose a question for you: What is the Doppler effect?

My thanks go out to my colleagues and students at Na’alehu Elementary and Intermediate School for helping to make this project a success, and I wish you all a fond Aloha!

Nancy Lewis

 

 

Nancy Lewis, September 16, 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 16, 2003

Nuku Hiva, Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia

0815       Anchor Aweigh:  Underway

Weather Observation Log:  0100

Latitude:  8 degrees, 56.7′ S
Longitude:  139 degrees, 59.1′ W
Visibility:  12 nautical miles (nm)
Wind direction:  100 degress
Wind speed:  18 knots (kts)
Sea wave height:  5-6 feet
Swell wave height:  5-7 feet
Sea water temperature:  27.2 degrees C
Sea level pressure:  1013.8 mb (millibars)
Dry bulb temperature:  28.0 degress C
Wet bulb temperature:  23.0 degrees C
Cloud cover:  2/8 Cumulus, Altocumulus

Personal Log

Today is my first full day on the KA’IMIMOANA, and we steamed out of the harbor of Nuku Hiva at 8:15 am past the huge rocks that guard both sides of the bay.  I was out on the forward deck for much of the morning, admiring the striking coastline of Nuku Hiva as we got underway in what were somewhat rough sea conditions.  I took some pictures of the dramatic cliffs that break off sharply down to the sea with not a sign of any human habitation. I was somewhat wistful at departing this very unspoiled island, but thought, perhaps some day I will get to return.  After all, I never in my life expected to ever visit such a remote spot as the Marquesas Islands.  Off in the distance, so shrouded in mist it seemed almost a mirage, could be faintly discerned another one of the Marquesas Islands, its craggy peaks rising up like castle ramparts in a fairy tale. I remained on deck taking in the salty breeze, but the ship was heaving up and down in seas that were at least 6-9 feet.

I thought I should go back to my stateroom and finish my unpacking and arranging my things, as everything on board a ship has to be “ship-shape,” meaning neat, clean  and orderly.  I was aware that I really wasn’t feeling all that well, having developed somewhat of a queasy feeling from the rocking of the ship while in the bay at Nuku Hiva. I went outside a few more times to catch some final glimpses of  island we were leaving behind, and it  seemed that the seas were definitely rough.  Uh, oh, I had heard horror stories about some crew members being seasick for days on end.  By this time, I was feeling quite ill.  I talked to several “old hands” on board, and several urged me to take it easy, and maybe try and sleep.  We were steaming to our destination at 4 degrees South Latitude from Nuku Hiva, which is at 8 degrees South latitude, and so were basically headed north, along the 139th meridian of Longitude.   We had no buoy operations scheduled today, so I decided it would be best to just take it easy.

There is nothing worse than being seasick, although I never really got that bad.  I took some more Dramamine and hoped for the best.  The few times I did get up in the afternoon to go down to the mess for some tea,  I saw other crew members, and they were telling me it was unusually rough, and I was not the only one feeling sick.  So there isn’t much to tell about today, except that they say that a little seasickness comes with first going to sea until you get your “sea legs”.  As I turned in for the night, I imagine my face looked a little green, and I was fervently hoping I would get those legs as quickly as possible.

From the Plan of the Day:  Notice:  ” Secure all items for sea”

Does that include lunch?

Aloha from the KA!

Nancy Lewis, September 15, 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 15, 2003

Nuku Hiva:  Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia

Personal Log

Several of us piled in Rose Corser’s Land Rover and were dropped of at the school in Taiohae, where we soon found the principal’s office.  I was pressed into service as interpreter since the principal did not speak English.  We were directed to one of the classes, where Tom Nolan and Tetsuro Isono made a short presentation to the students.  “Le professeur” explained a little about the mission of the KA’IMIMOANA,  and I was able to understand a quite bit of what he said.  Except for the language being French, I would have thought I was in a classroom in Hawaii.

The students then came outside with us and sang to us in the Marquesan language.  With the bay in the background, the KA moored in the harbor, it was one of those “island moments.”  Our objective today was definitely one of diplomacy and good will.

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Students from the school in Taiohae sing in the Marquesan language.

Our next stop was the Mayor’s office where there was to be a presentation from the KA’IMIMOANA to the VIP’s of Nuku Hiva.  The current mayor of Nuku Hiva was there, along with the past 2 mayors, the island Chief, the head of the Gendarmerie (Police) and the French representative for Nuku Hiva.  Captain Mark Ablondi presented them with an enlarged satellite photo of Nuku Hiva.  Many speeches were made, expressing appreciation for the collaborative work of all the parties in the effort to better understand the world’s oceans.

It was now time to take the water taxi out to the KA’IMIMOANA for the tour given to the VIP’s. This was my first time on board the ship, in fact, my first time on board any ship! I joined in the VIP tour of what would be my floating home for the next 2 weeks.

Lewis VIP tour
The VIP tour of NOAA Ship KA’IMIMOANA.

After lunch on board, a class of students from the school joined us and I enjoyed trying out my French with them, and just generally enjoying being around the kids.  By the time they served ice cream in the mess, several of the crew on board had become celebrities, signing autographs and the subject of many 14 year old girls’ giggles.

For the last night on Nuku Hiva almost the entire crew went out for pizza after saying our goodbyes to Rose and Diana, the manager of The Pearl.  It was nearly eleven by the time we took the water taxi to the ship, and I was shown to my stateroom.  Tetsuro had flown back to the States, and I was taking over his berth on the ship.  I must admit that my few hours on board earlier in the day had  given me a bit of a queasy stomach, so I regretfully swallowed some dramamine before turning the lights out.  We would get underway in the morning continuing the work of the KA’IMIMOANA near the equator.

Bon nuit and au revoir Nuku Hiva!

Nancy Lewis, September 14, 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 14, 2003

Nuku Hiva:  Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia

Personal Log 

A group of us from the Pearl Lodge signed on to make the day long trip back into the interior of the island to see a one thousand foot waterfall.  We were to have Jean Pierre, a native Marquesan, as our guide, but first we had to take a boat over to Hakaui Bay to reach the trailhead.  Once we reached the mouth of the bay, things got really interesting, with  our pilot expertly navigating the moderate sea swells that seemed much bigger from our small craft.

We came well south of the bay passing sheer headlands that plunged right to the sea, and then entered into Hakaui Bay facing a gray sand beach fringed coconut trees, the perfect picture of a wild, tropical beach.  As we all gathered on shore to begin the trek, an old Marquesan woman appeared with a dog on a leash, seeming to come out of nowhere. She reminded me of the stories of Pele back home in Hawaii. We soon started our trek, and found the very small village of Hakaui, and Jean Pierre, our Marquesan guide, told us that there had been many people living in this valley until 1942 when a malaria epidemic forced most of the inhabitants to leave.  We also met Daniel, a spry Marquesan who’d lived in the village since 1927.

The hike to the waterfall first passed through some of the village’s cultivated cleared areas where they were growing bananas, coconuts, and papayas.  We soon entered some dense tropical jungle, and were glad for the deep shade provided against the hot sun.  We passed many stone foundations of houses, called in Marquesan “papais”, remnants of former human settlement.  At one point, I saw a stone tiki sitting on top of one of these papais, and it seemed to be guarding some secret.  Although there was a trail, we had to cross the river several times, and so we definitely needed Jean Pierre’s services.

Just before reaching the falls,  we encountered several hunters on horseback, who had their kill wrapped in cloth and slung over their saddles.  A little further on, spiky ramparts of needlelike rocks rose up five hundred feet, and Renault, our other guide, told us that there were the bones of human sacrifices hidden in the clefts of one of the needles.

We soon reached the base of the falls with its sheer cliffs rising up in a narrow gorge that reminded me of certain places in Utah.  There was a spacious pool easily accessible,  but further back behind some rocks was the pool where the cascade roared down.  Several of us jumped into the cold fresh water, and eventually we found a way into the cascade pool, and discovered a hidden grotto behind the rocks.  The water was very cold, but invigorating.

After our swim, and a bit of lunch, we started back , but took a slightly different route, arriving at the beach of Hakatea Bay where our boats were waiting.  The ride back to Taiohae was exciting, and well, dangerous.  The seas had kicked up to between 9 and 12 feet, and we were literally holding on for dear life to stay in the boat as it crashed into one trough and rose up to meet the next:  and we had no life preservers! Jean Pierre was in my boat, and a few times had a worried look on his face, but I enjoyed it immensely.

We cruised into the harbor past the KA and piled into the back of an open Land Rover to go back to the lodge.  It was satisfying to turn in early after the excitement of our expedition into the interior of the island, and to once again hear the soft sounds of surf at the close of  a great day.

Nancy Lewis, September 13, 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 13, 2003

Nuku Hiva, Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia

Despite my intention to catch up some sleep,  I woke up for the stunning sunrise across  the bay.  Because of some dense tropical foliage obscuring my view from the lanai, it was not until I walked over to breakfast that I could see that the NOAA Ship KA’IMIMOANA had arrived and was anchored peacefully in the bay.  My colleague, Tom Nolan, a scientist from NASA,  had gone to meet the ship, so I took advantage of this opportunity to steal back to my bungalow and read.  I had brought with me a copy of Herman Melville’s Typee, which is the semi-biographical account of how he jumped ship on this very island of Nuku Hiva, and escaped over into the next valley to live for a period of time with the notorious Typee natives. I mused on his descriptions of tyrannical sea captains, and inhumane treatment aboard his ship, and dreamed myself of stealing over to Taipivai Valley to visit the very place of his mild imprisonment with the “fierce Typees”.

My reveries were soon broken by the arrival of the party from the ship, and soon I was sitting and conversing with Tetsuro Isono, the scientist from Japan who was on board for the first leg of the KA’s mission from Honolulu.  I also met Diane Bernstein, from the University of South Florida, who is working on calibrating an instrument designed to analyze CO2 dissolved in the water. It was great to meet these people and all of the other folks who make up the crew of the KA’IMIMOANA.

The day ended for all of us in a very special way.  After dinner, a local dance troupe came and entertained the party with traditional Marquesan dancing and drumming.  The young men and girls were decked out in hand made costumes of feathers, beads, and raffia, and they brought out huge homemade drums.  The performance was a spirited dance that had the bare, painted chests of the young men glistening with sweat.  The only complaint was that the dancing didn’t go on all night.  I thought again about Melville’s time that he spent here on Nuku Hiva.  His story helped to fuel the romantic ideas associated with the remote South Sea Islands.  I walked back to my bungalow with the scent of tiares wafting down the path, and the moonlight reflecting off the waters of the bay.

Nancy Lewis, September 12, 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 12, 2003

Nuku Hiva, Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia

Personal Log 

I arrived in Nuku Hiva on Friday, September  12, 2003  after flying from Honolulu to Los Angeles, and from there to Tahiti.  I spent one night in Papeete, Tahiti, then boarded another flight for Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas Islands,  3 hours by air from Tahiti.  From the air I could see many of the other islands and coral atolls that make up French Polynesia, and which are strung out over one thousand miles of ocean.  The Marquesas Islands are one of 5 island groups comprising French Polynesia.  The other island groups are the Society Islands, the Austral Islands, the Gambier Islands, and the Tuamotus.

Lewis 9-12-03 Nuku Hiva
A map of the island of Nuku Hiva, in the Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia

The plane landed on the southern end of Nuku Hiva, its landing strip right beside the ocean, as the island rises sharply into craggy peaks affording little flat, coastal ground. I was greeted by Jean Claude, who asked me if I spoke French, as he informed me, in English, that he would be my driver to the village of Taiohae, on the other side of the island.

We soon departed in Jean Pierre’s Land Rover, and  it was to be a two hour  ride over a very rough, unpaved road, definitely a four-wheel drive track.  The road wound its way up into the mountains of the interior, and the views were spectacular.  One particularly deep valley, almost at the summit, is called the Grand Canyon, and it aptly deserves that name.  We bounced over the deeply rutted, twisting dirt road, and I was very glad that the rainy season was past, as I could tell that the road would have been absolutely treacherous under wet conditions.  In many places, we were right on the edge of steep precipices, with no protection, but Jean Pierre was an excellent driver.

Along the way I was observing the plants and trees, and saw many that were the same or similar to what we have in Hawaii.  We began to descend out of the steep crests of the interior mountains, and passed pastures with cows and horses grazing.  All at once we came to a paved road, and Jean Pierre joked that we had reached the “freeway”.  A young Marquesan waved to us from his horse. A freeway indeed!

Soon the village of Taiohae was laid out below us, nestled around the horseshoe-shaped bay, truly a delightful scene of tropical tranquility.  We descended into the village and came to The Pearl Lodge, my accommodations while in Nuku Hiva.  The grounds of The Pearl are a botanical garden, carefully tended by Rose Corser, an American woman who started the lodge with her late husband, Frank.  The bungalows are built in the Tahitian style, faced with split bamboo, and most tastefully decorated.  My lanai faced the bay, and at last,  I could have a rest from my long journey, and drink in the serene beauty of Nuku Hiva.

In the afternoon, needing some exercise after two days of being on an airplane,  I rode a bicycle from the lodge to the far end of the village,  and stopped at the quay at the end of the harbor.  Young men were just coming in on outrigger canoes and there were a number of people from the village there.  On my way back to the lodge,  I was hailed by some girls from the school, who said “stop” and indicated they wanted to talk to me.  They soon brought their teacher over to talk to me in English, as my French is not very good. It was wonderful to meet these young people and to explain why I was on their island.

I had dinner that evening with Rose and Tom Nolan,  a scientist representing NASA from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and who would also be joining the NOAA Ship KA’IMIMOANA. Tom endeavored to coax Rose into telling some stories from her adventurous past, as evidently she had sailed around the world and certainly had a wealth of tales to tell.

My first day on Nuku Hiva closed with the moon shining brightly over the bay, back-lighting the peaks of the mountains cradling the bay, and with the soft whisper of the surf  a lullaby of the island.