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 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


2015  Deep CTD


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 or check out 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