Linda Armwood, May 3, 2006

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Linda Armwood
Onboard NOAA Ship Fairweather
April 25 – May 5, 2006

Mission: Hydrographic Survey
Geographical Area: Aleutian Islands, Alaska
Date: May 3, 2006

Weather Data from Bridge 
Visibility:  8 nautical miles (nm)
Wind direction:  120°
Wind speed: 10 kt
Sea wave height: >1 ft.
Sea water temp: 10.7
Sea level pressure:  1022.5 mb
Present weather: Overcast
Temperature:  °C~ 9.5 dry/8.5wet

Linda Armwood dons her survival suit aboard the Fairweather

Linda Armwood dons her survival suit aboard the Fairweather

Science and Technology Log 

The weather data is collected daily by the NOAA Ship FAIRWEATHER. These observations can be used by ship personnel to help interpret the forecast and any changes in weather that may have occurred along the route.  This recorded data is sent monthly to the NOAA Seattle, WA station for archival purposes.  The observations of data that is collected on the NOAA Ship FAIRWEATHER at 4:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 4:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. are sent to NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS).  The NWS employs meteorologists who can use these observations from the sea to evaluate local weather conditions, to locate and determine the strength of weather systems, and prepare surface weather charts. In addition, meteorologists are able to use these observations to forecast over land areas to include long-range forecasts of climate, temperature, and precipitation; to monitor climatic change and ocean currents; and to conduct studies of the constant interaction of air and sea.

Personal Log 

The Alaska shape files, charts and sail plans will be an extra bonus for students to share in my journey!

Question of the Day 

Geospatial Semester and Environmental Science Students 

Make an inference of which continent is affected by the North Pacific Ocean weather systems.

A Profile of Able Seaman (in training) Emily Evans 

Able Seaman Evans is a native of Rochester, NY and is the sole female crew member in the Deck Department of the NOAA Ship FAIRWEATHER.  As an Able Seaman in training, she is committed to completing assigned duties and tasks, including manning the helm of the NOAA Ship FAIRWEATHER.  She graduated from Wellesley College, MA with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics in 2000.

Her initial interest in working on the NOAA Ship FAIRWEATHER stems from her desire to advance in her career of marine science.  She has a 100-ton license with five years of sailboat driving.

She is fiercely independent in working towards setting her goals.  A short-term goal for Emily is to get more sea time so that she can get license advancement.  An additional short-term goal for her is to become NOAA system qualified.

Mrs. Armwood

Linda Armwood, May 2, 2006

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Linda Armwood
Onboard NOAA Ship Fairweather
April 25 – May 5, 2006

Mission: Hydrographic Survey
Geographical Area: Aleutian Islands, Alaska
Date: May 2, 2006

Weather Data from Bridge 
Visibility:  10 nautical miles (nm)
Wind direction:  130°
Wind speed: 7kt
Sea wave height: 0 ft.
Sea water temp: 10.2
Sea level pressure:  1030.0 mb
Present weather: Mostly cloudy
Temperature:  °C~ 9.0 dry/7.5wet

Science and Technology Log 

The ship continued to perform the Gulf of Esquibel data collection.  Today, however, the ship used the Moving Vessel Profiler (MVP), also known as the “Fish,” in place of the Seacat to provide multiple vertical profiles of the water’s data to include sound velocity and the CTD cast. Two advantages of using the MVP are 1) the ship does not have to come to a complete stop and 2) it is automatically deployed from the ship or initiated by the MVP operator without the need for deck personnel.  Once the MVP has created the profile, the survey tech is able to immediately view the data.

I witnessed the operation of the anchor as we prepared to leave San Fernando Island.  As able seamen positioned themselves on the ship’s bow to raise the anchor, it was clear that it is a major undertaking dependent upon teamwork.  There are two anchors, one on the port side (north left) of the ship and the other on the starboard side (north right) of the ship, that are alternately used.  Each anchor has eight shots of chain.  One shot of chain is equivalent to 90 feet. Of the eight shots of chain, there are selected color-coded chains in red, white, blue and yellow. These color-coded combinations allow the able seamen to determine how many shots to drop in the water and how many shots have been dropped in the water. As a rule, the number of shots dropped should be three to five times the depth of the water which is measured in fathoms.  One fathom of water equals six feet.

Personal Log 

Thanks Able Seaman Grayeagle for letting me read your book, Whittier–The Strangest Town in Alaska, truly a memorable nugget.

Question of the Day 

Geospatial Semester and Environmental Science Students 

Solve the following problem:  The FAIRWEATHER Ship dropped anchor in 35 fathoms of water. 1) What is the depth of the water in feet, 2) At least how many shots of chain should be dropped, and 3) Approximately how much chain is left out of the water?

A Profile of Ensign Matthew Glazewski 

Ensign Glazewski is the newest Junior Officer aboard the NOAA Ship FAIRWEATHER.  As a Junior Officer, he has several collateral duties in ship management — Tides, Training Assistant, Weather, Discharge Certificates and Mess Treasurer.  He graduated from Penn State University, PA with a Bachelor of Science degree in Meteorology in 2005. His concentration of courses included Calculus, Physics and Weather Systems. His initial interest in meteorology began at an early age when he became curious about why trees fell on his parents’ home.  Matthew, nicknamed Matt, has an interest in tropical meteorology and has completed a case study of a 1975 tropical cyclone that traveled north while maintaining its characteristics in northern latitudes.  A short-term career goal for Matt is to pursue graduate studies in order to obtain a Master’s degree in Ocean Atmosphere Interaction.  His long-term career goal is to become an expert in the field of marine forecasting.

Matt wanted to become an Officer in the NOAA Officer Corps instead of working as a civilian. He believes that his experience on the NOAA ship FAIRWEATHER gives him an opportunity to see and apply what he has studied at Penn State and provides him with a better understanding of factors that influence small-scale climates.

Mrs. Armwood

Linda Armwood, May 1, 2006

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Linda Armwood
Onboard NOAA Ship Fairweather
April 25 – May 5, 2006

Mission: Hydrographic Survey
Geographical Area: Aleutian Islands, Alaska
Date: May 1, 2006

Weather Data from Bridge 
Visibility:  10 nautical miles (nm)
Wind direction:  182°
Wind speed: 14 kt
Sea wave height: 1 ft.
Swell wave direction: 235
Swell wave height: 1
Sea water temp: 7.5
Sea level pressure:  1029.6 mb
Present weather: Partly cloudy
Temperature:  °C~ 7.5 dry/6.0 wet

Science and Technology Log 

The ship performed a procedure for collecting data from a selected area of the Gulf of Esquibel analogously compared to ‘mowing the lawn.’  In this process the ship actually sails up and down the selected area within the Gulf collecting various data.  As the ship sails, parallel lines are produced on the hydrography chart.  The hydrography chart is viewed via the DELPHMAP system during this entire process in the pilot’s house and the plotroom.  In the plotroom, rotating survey technicians monitor the area being covered with four computer screens and communicate with the pilot’s room when data collection is paused and when it is resumed.

The ship performs this process rather than the launches because the ship works in deeper water than the launches. Sound data was collected today with an instrument called the Seacat. In order to collect sound data with the Seacat the ship has to come to a complete stop. The Seacat is manually attached to cable that is housed with a structure called the ‘J’ frame.  The cable travels through two rotating blocks and the Seacast is manually deployed into the water until it reaches the bottom of the water.  It is immediately pulled back onto the ship, detached from the cable, and attached to a computer for prompt reading of the data known as a Conductivity, Temperature, and Density (CTD) caste.

Personal Log 

Thanks to FAIRWEATHER shipmates for answering all of my questions either verbally, with hand-drawn illustrations, or through demonstrations.  The tide staff stop observations that Ensign Gonsalves and I made were consistent with the automatic tide gauge readings. I’ve got the results to prove it!

Question of the Day 

Geospatial Semester and Environmental Science Students 

Give the length and width of the Gulf of Esquibel.  Also, include the name and geographic location of its land boundaries.

Mrs. Armwood

Linda Armwood, April 30, 2006

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Linda Armwood
Onboard NOAA Ship Fairweather
April 25 – May 5, 2006

Mission: Hydrographic Survey
Geographical Area: Aleutian Islands, Alaska
Date: April 30, 2006

Weather Data from Bridge 
Visibility: 10 nautical miles (nm)
Wind direction: 160 °
Wind speed:  5 kt
Sea wave height:<1 ft.
Swell wave height: 0 ft.
Seawater temp: 7.3
Sea level pressure: 1017.4 mb
Present weather: Mostly cloudy
Temperature:  °C~ 7.0dry/5.0wet

Arriaga Passage, AK

Arriaga Passage, AK

Science and Technology Log 

During the morning I spent a considerable amount of time in the pilot house on the bridge. It was imperative that I review the instrumentation and their functions as they relate to the ship’s navigation. Among  the navigation instruments are the Global Positioning System Navigator which shows the latitude, longitude, speed over ground and course over ground; the Gyro Digital Repeater which copies from the master compass which provides the true heading; the fathometer which is the echosounder from the bottom of the ocean that listens for how long it takes for sound to come back to the top; the magnetic compass which is the standard compass backup for the gyro; the two-bands Auto Radar Plotting Aid (ARPA) which can be used to get location and pertinent information of nearby vessels; the rudder angle indicator; the steering stand which has two steering positions of either hand or automatic; and the Machinery Alarm and Control System (MACS) which has multiple functions to include main engine monitoring, water intake, and electrical steering to name a few.

The afternoon was devoted to collecting several bottom samples in the Arriaga Passage which is a channel situated north of Noyes Island.  The samples were collected with a specially-designed backpack which contains a GPS and Differential GPS (DGPS) antenna and a laptop with appropriate software.  An open metal clamshell scoop which is attached to at least 300 feet of line is used by the surveyor to place in the water.  The line is loosened so that the scoop is able to reach the floor of the water without hindrance.  Once the line has stopped, the surveyor (or two) reels the line back up to the boat where the mouth of the scoop is opened to identify its contents.  The contents are then recorded on the laptop. This data is stored for later analysis of the ocean floor.

Personal Log 

The bottom samples assignment was a good workout! It was hard to return the starfish to its home, but an unoccupied clamshell will serve as a suitable souvenir.

Question of the Day 

Environmental Science Students 

In cooperative groups, create a graphic organizer that identifies and illustrates marine bottom-dwelling organisms.  Be certain to isolate similar characteristics of organisms.

Geospatial Semester Students 

Explain the disadvantage of absolute reliance on a magnetic compass for navigation.

Mrs. Armwood

Linda Armwood, April 29, 2006

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Linda Armwood
Onboard NOAA Ship Fairweather
April 25 – May 5, 2006

Mission: Hydrographic Survey
Geographical Area: Aleutian Islands, Alaska
Date: April 29, 2006

Weather Data from Bridge 
Visibility: 10 nautical miles (nm)
Wind direction: 200 °
Wind speed:  15 kt
Sea wave height: 1 ft.
Swell wave dir: 280
Swell wave height: 2-3 ft.
Seawater temp: 7.2
Sea level pressure: 1016.6mb
Present weather: Overcast
Temperature:  °C~ 8.2dry/6.5wet

Science and Technology Log 

My assignment today was to work with the benchmark descriptions and level run team.  The responsibility of the team is to accurately and completely describe the benchmarks.  The description must include the following items:

  • directions for location
  • exact location relative to other structures including the tide gauge
  • sketch of location
  • latitude and longitude
  • above datum of tabulation in meters
  • date of establishment/recovery
  • photograph of benchmark
  • statement that benchmark disk is flush in raised concrete

The team is also responsible for completing the level run assignment.  The purpose of the level run is to level the primary benchmark to the staff stop.  This procedure provides the elevation of the staff stop. In helping with the level run, I assisted the Tides Director in the recording of rod readings. These measurements are read in three parts: top thread, middle thread and bottom thread.  Ideally, thread intervals should be equal.  However, if the thread intervals are not equal, they must be within 2 to be an acceptable reading.  Many of our readings were acceptable upon the first recording.  For the few readings that were not acceptable, the software in the I-Pod associated with the 3 stadia leveler would indicate as such.  Readings were redone accordingly.

In addition to providing assistance to the Tides Director as a recorder, I participated in holding the rod at benchmark locations for level readings.  The indication that the rod would be level is when the surveyor succeeds in moving the rod so that the bubble inside the gauge would sit on the center circle. The tide staff observation was my third assignment for the day.  The completion of these observations provides you with the elevation of your orifice to your staff stop. The tide gauge is located on the pier leg facing the benchmarks.  The boat was placed in a vantage spot that enabled a survey tech and I to monitor and record the tide height every 6 minutes for three hours.  This recorded data would later be compared to the data received by the tide gauge set-up on the pier.

Personal Log 

It was great to get out of the bitter, cold, sleeting weather conditions to the warmth of the ship. The food on the FAIRWEATHER is absolutely delectable!

Question of the Day 

Environmental Science and Geospatial Semester Students 

In which two months are the largest tidal ranges?

Mrs. Armwood

Linda Armwood, April 28, 2006

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Linda Armwood
Onboard NOAA Ship Fairweather
April 25 – May 5, 2006

Mission: Hydrographic Survey
Geographical Area: Aleutian Islands, Alaska
Date: April 28, 2006

Weather Data from Bridge 
Visibility: 10 nautical miles (nm)
Wind direction: 190 °
Wind speed:  13 kt
Sea wave height: 1 ft.
Swell waves dir: 310
Swell waves height: 2 ft.
Seawater temp: 7.3
Sea level pressure: 1012.4mb
Present weather: Mostly cloudy
Temperature:  °C~ 6.5dry/5.0wet

NOAA divers preparing to install a tide gauge at Noyes Island, AK

NOAA divers preparing to install a tide gauge at Noyes Island, AK

Science and Technology Log 

The project’s first priority for the day was to get the tide gauge installed and to set tidal benchmarks.  The tides party consisted of three onshore crews: the reconnaissance and planning team; the benchmark recovery and installation team; and the dive and install team.  I was assigned to the dive and install team boat in order to observe the divers install the tide gauge. I did not observe the underwater installation below the pier; however, the secure installation of the above water equipment was a major undertaking!  The tide gauge installation involves the proper placement of the following items:

  • satellite antenna
  • gps antenna
  • hydro gauge
  • solar panel
  • 12-volt battery
  • nitrogen cylinder
  • nitrogen regulator

I assisted in drilling with the benchmark recovery and installation team.  The historic benchmark was located about 15 feet from the low water line and the next four benchmark locations were set at 200 feet apart from one another in somewhat of a straight line from the historic benchmark.  Benchmarks are important because they represent permanent marks of the land leveling system.  The tidal gauge will automatically read water pressure which it then converts to depth every six minutes over the next 30 days in order to determine the constituents of the tide-generating force. Determining these constituents allows the survey technicians to form possible hypotheses related to ranges, heights, rates and future directions of tides.

Ensign Matthew Glazewski drills to establish a benchmark on Noyes Island, AK.

Ensign Matthew Glazewski drills to establish a benchmark on Noyes Island, AK.

Personal Log 

At the time of this writing, the weather was as stated above; however, during the tides party the weather was miserable with intermittent showers of sleet followed by sunshine and overcast.  The kindness extended to the crew by the Noyes’ Island caretaker will be remembered.

Question of the Day 

Environmental Science and Geospatial Semester Students 

Give some possible non-human factors that may have an effect on the decision-making of tide gauge location.

Mrs. Armwood

The Tidal Party recovered this historic benchmark recovered from Noyes Island, AK

The Tidal Party recovered this historic benchmark recovered from Noyes Island, AK

Linda Armwood, April 27, 2006

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Linda Armwood
Onboard NOAA Ship Fairweather
April 25 – May 5, 2006

Mission: Hydrographic Survey
Geographical Area: Aleutian Islands, Alaska
Date: April 27, 2006

Weather Data from Bridge 
Visibility: 4  nautical miles (nm)
Wind direction: 120 °
Wind speed:  20 kt
Sea wave height: 1-2 ft.
Swell waves dir: 300
Swell waves height: 2 ft.
Sea level pressure: 1006.0mb
Present weather: Drizzle
Temperature:  °C~ 7.6dry/7.1wet

Science and Technology Log 

I attended the navigation meeting in preparation for today’s departure from home port.  The personnel responsible for conducting the navigation meeting and providing all of the essential information for exploration are junior officers who are trained in atmospheric science, oceanography, mathematics and navigation technology.  Several charts were displayed to show the route of travel and the location of the intended areas for research.  The first priority of the project is tide gauge installation.  One particular area of the travel route (Snow Passage) will present a challenge because it is hard to go through during this time of year as a result of the currents in the narrow parts.  One of the areas of research (Gulf of Esquibel) contains lots of navigational hazards such as rocks and low water levels near high water levels. The FAIRWEATHER only needs four fathoms of water to navigate, but generally stays in water deeper than ten fathoms due to the nature of the seafloor and the age of the charts.

An in-depth explanation of the survey tech procedures in data acquisition and processing was provided by a member of the survey tech team.  Survey techs are given a charted sheet that represents their area of concentration.  In order to do this, the tech first collects raw data, including depth information, with the Global Positioning System (GPS), the Shallow Water Multibeam (SWMB), and the Position and Orientation System for Marine Vessels (POS-MV) in operation at the same time.  The POS-MV does the inertial motion of the vessel’s roll, heave, pitch, and gyro positions.  Next, the tech uses processing systems as a visual way to look at the surface of the water.  The third and fourth steps are to apply motion corrections and tide corrections.  The fifth step is to create the sound velocity profile based on water conductivity, temperature, and density.  The next step is to combine each of the files into one file – a concatenated file.  Following is the step involving computing total propagated error.  This will result in the error value based on error associated with sonar data.  Step eight is for the tech to make a digital terrain model which is a basic grid from XYZ data. The final step is to view or look for errors caused by the system. These errors may indicate dangerous uncharted errors.

Personal Log 

First time feeling the boat leave dock was a rush!  The whale sighting was awesome!  Too far from my cellular phone extended network coverage to call home and share with family.

Question of the Day 

Environmental Science Students 

Explain the importance of water conductivity, temperature and density to sound velocity.

Geospatial Semester Students 

Using course software, produce a map that indicates the bodies of water associated with the Gulf of Esquibel. Identify those areas that have less than 30-40 fathoms.

Mrs. Armwood