Kim Gogan: Preparing to be a NOAA Teacher at Sea, March 26, 2014

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Kim Gogan
(Soon to be aboard) NOAA Ship Gordon Gunter
April 6 – May 1, 2014

Mission: AMAPPS & Turtle Abundance Survey,  Ecosystem Monitoring
Geographical Area of Cruise:
North Atlantic Ocean
Date: March 26, 2014

Personal Log

Sunset and fishing on Chandlers Cove Wharf, Chebeague Island, Maine

Sunset and fishing on Chandlers Cove Wharf, Chebeague Island, Maine

My name is Kim Gogan. I was born and raised on Chebeague Island in Casco Bay, Maine. Chebeague Island is a small rural community of about 500 year round residents that blossoms with tourists in the spring. My father’s side of the family has lived there for many generations, so I have roots unlike many people can experience. It’s cool that I can visit the Chebeague Island Museum and learn all about the history and life of my ancestors.

I have always been around the oceans. As a young kid I spent much time on the beach and in the frigid Maine waters. I was lucky to have many people around me with motor boats and sailboats and I took any and every opportunity to be on one. When I was 10, I spent the summer in sailing school, and as I got older even spent some time crewing on racing sailboats. My love of being on the ocean continued into my teenage years where I worked on a lobster boat as a stern person for many summers. Lobstermen are not fair weather workers and I quickly learned what it meant to work hard and be tough. We were up before sunrise and worked long hard hours. Rain or shine, we were on the sea. In my college years I worked at a boatyard scraping barnacles off docks and painting and fixing boats. The ocean is in my blood and I feel a strong connection to it. I am so excited and looking forward to be spending a month on a ship at sea.  Even more importantly I am so excited to be learning some amazing science about the place I spent my childhood years.

Me at the 2013 New Hampshire Science Teachers Association Annual Teacher's Conference.

Me at the 2013 New Hampshire Science Teachers Association Annual Teacher’s Conference.

Currently, I  am a science teacher at Newport High School in Newport, New Hampshire. I teach General and Honors Biology to mostly 10th grade students. I have never been out of my classroom for more than a few days and I am going to miss seeing my students every day! I love sharing science with them and seeing how much they learn while in my Biology classes. Newport is a small high school with a lot to offer and where everyone is very close. Working in a small high school makes me feel right at home, much like my small island community.

My family and I live in Claremont, New Hampshire which is the next town over, only a short commute to work. I have been at Newport High School for 9 wonderful years. I work with 5 other incredible teachers in the Science Department as teacher and science department head. The thing I like most about the other science teachers I work with is that they also enjoy learning new skills and bringing new fun stuff into the classroom no matter how long they have been teaching. Our department regularly attends science conferences of all sorts. Last June, a whole group of us spend almost a week in Virginia at the Jason Learning Conference learning about Climate Change and Ecosystems. I am very lucky to work with such a supportive and collegial group of teachers.

Before we moved to Claremont, my family and I lived in Maine where I also taught 7th grade Life Science in Portland, Maine. I haven’t always taught science or been in the classroom. While in Maine, I also worked for a company called Jobs for Maine Graduates and ran a School to Work program for at-risk students. My degree is in Environmental Education with a minor in Adventure Education from Unity College, Unity, Maine. This degree gave me the flexibility to become a classroom teacher as well as an adventure trip leader. I have also been lucky enough to work for Maine Audubon Adventure Camps leading canoeing and hiking, as well as Maine Audubon Nature Day Camps, as a naturalist that takes kids on field trips to explore different habitats. I have a very diverse background that I try bring into teaching Biology to high school students as often as I can.

kids and I hiking

The kids and I hiking the hills near our summer campground.

Chris & kids skiing

The family skiing at Attitash Mountain on my birthday.

When I am not teaching or going to conferences, I spend as much times with my family as I possibly can. I have a wonderful husband, Chris Gogan, that I met at Unity College. We have been together since 1996! Chris and I have had many adventures since we first meet. We have traveled to many places including Bequai Island, St Lucia Island, Key West, Hawaii, West Virginia, New Orleans, & New Mexico just to name a few. Our most favorite place has to be here in New England.

Here in New England you have the water and the mountains. Chris and I have spent many hours and days hiking, ice climbing, skiing or camping the in the White Mountain National Forest. We are not just purely terrestrial either, we enjoy aquatic ecosystems as well. We love to canoe and kayak on the fun and fabulous rivers and lakes New England has to offer. We also enjoy boating on the ocean and spending time on Chebeague Island where I am from. Basically we love the outdoors and try to plan as much time and as many fun activities as we can in it.

My kids, Lilly & CJ Gogan

My kids, Lilly & CJ Gogan

I also have two fabulous young children; Lilly Rose Gogan who is 10 and CJ Gogan who is 6. I love my kids! They are great kids (but who doesn’t think their kids are great, right?)! Our kids love the outdoors too, but they are both also up and coming hockey stars. I do think they could agree that their favorite place would be our summer retreat at Loon Lake Campground. This will be our third year going to the campground and we couldn’t find a better place to spend our summers. My kids are real champs agreeing to let their mom go out on a ship for 30 days. I know we will miss each other, but I hope they think what their mom is doing is pretty cool too! Hopefully my adventures on the Gordon Gunter will give me plenty of stories to tell around the campfire this summer and make the time I was gone well worth it!

 

Kevin McMahon, August 5, 2004

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Kevin McMahon
Onboard NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown

July 26 – August 7, 2004

Mission: New England Air Quality Study (NEAQS)
Geographical Area:
Northwest Atlantic Ocean
Date:
August 5, 2004

Weather Data from the Bridge
Lat. 44 deg 03.77 N
Lon. 68 deg 18.53 W
Heading 210 deg
Speed 8.7 kts
Barometer 1005.7 mb
Rel Humidity 79.8%
Temp. 15.4 C

Daily Log

0800 hours. We have left behind the protective cove in the shadow of Mt. Desert Island and are now in the Gulf of Maine of 235 degrees along the Maine coast. The skies ahead look more threatening than the skies we are leaving behind.

1130 hours and we are just off Matinicus Rock Lighthouse. I spent about one hour in the engine room with Keegan Plaskon who is the ships 3rd engineer. A very sophisticated propulsion system not to mention electrical systems, HVAC, and desalinization systems for the ship.

The RONALD H. BROWN is known in the trade as a diesel electric ship. It propulsion system is somewhat unique in that it uses diesel engines to generate electricity which in turn is used to power the motors turning the propellers. On most vessels of this size, there is a direct connection between the diesel engines and the propellers.

The propeller system is also unique in that there is no rudder system to steer by. With the propellers connected to what is known as a thruster, the two aft propellers can be rotated independently of each other a full 360 degrees. When the two aft thrusters are synchronized with the bow thruster and tied in with the ships GPS system, it allows the team of scientist onboard to remain on station in one place for an extended period of time. Wind, tide and currents can be overcome. Last evening we stayed in one position in a small bay near Bass Harbor, ME with the ships bow pointed into the wind. Although the wind was only about 4 knots out of the northeast, the tidal flow was running about seven knots at its peak.

There are three large diesel engines onboard whose primary use is propulsion. Each is a 16 cylinder Caterpillar (Cat 3500). A single Cat can propel the ship along at about 7 knots. As more speed is needed, the other two Cats are brought on line. The top speed of the ship is about 14 knots. But the ship also uses it diesel engines for other needs. There are three other Cats onboard. They are smaller engines with 8 cylinders each. These engines are used to provide the ship with the needed electricity for everyday use, and the BROWN uses a lot of electricity. Besides the need the scientists have for electricity, there scientific equipment runs on 110 AC just like in your TV and refrigerator home. The ship uses its generators to make fresh water, provide climate control, refrigerate its food supplies, and run the sewage treatment system, its navigational system and what seems like an endless list of other needs.

What is the fuel consumption like? I am told that the ship consumes between 5 & 6 thousand gallons of fuel per day.

Question

If there are about 75 scientists and crew aboard, how many gallons are needed per hour per day for each person per day?

The vessel is also capable of producing 4,000 gallons of water per day but that on a normal day the people onboard consume about 3,000 gallons per day for consumption, personal hygiene, toilets and industrial uses.

Question

How many gallons is this per person per hour per day?

Kevin McMahon, August 4, 2004

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Kevin McMahon
Onboard NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown

July 26 – August 7, 2004

Mission: New England Air Quality Study (NEAQS)
Geographical Area:
Northwest Atlantic Ocean
Date:
August 4, 2004

Weather Data from the Bridge
Lat. 44 deg 07.58 N
Lon. 68 deg 01.74 W
Heading 035 deg
Speed 7.6 kts
Barometer 1005.17 mb
Rel Humidity 98.3%
Temp. 15.5 C

Daily Log

0700 hours and we are off Mount Desert Island. The air is cool with a light fog over the water and partly cloudy skies above.

The morning was spent on a heading of 035 degrees as we continue our move to the Northeast. I am told that we will just make it to the boundary area between the U.S. and Canadian border. Then we will reverse our course. It is hoped that by being close to the coastline and with the winds cooperating that the ships scientist will be able to measure some of the organic biogenics being produces by the forests of Maine. The relationship between the Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) which are natural in nature, and man made pollutants produced by the combustion of hydrocarbon products is one of the areas that scientist are working to understand.

0930 hours. I have been spending some time on the bridge transferring the Ships Sighting Log to an Excel Spreadsheet File and then putting the file on the ships website so that some of the scientist can compare their pollution data with various ships we have encountered.

I had a brief tour of the LIDAR (Light Radar) operation today. But we needed to cut it short as they were in the middle of a software problem. I plan to return tomorrow when the equipment is functioning more reliably.

1600 hours.

Weather Data from the Bridge
Lat. 44 deg 06.37 N
Lon. 68 deg 12.10 W
Heading 220 deg
Speed 7.4 kts
Barometer 1003.89 mb
Rel Humidity 88.96%
Temp. 15.35 C

We seem to be charting a course to enter one of the many fiords around Mt. Desert Island, ME.

2030 hours. We are in a fjord near Mt. Desert Island off the town of Bass Harbor. Instead of setting the anchor, the ship will hold position with its bow into the wind using its thrusters which are controlled by the GPS system. The plan is for the atmospheric sensors to measure the organic biogenic compounds which are produced by the forests of the surrounding area.

Kevin McMahon, August 3, 2004

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Kevin McMahon
Onboard NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown

July 26 – August 7, 2004

Mission: New England Air Quality Study (NEAQS)
Geographical Area:
Northwest Atlantic Ocean
Date:
August 3, 2004

Weather Data from the Bridge
Lat. 43 deg 38.65 N
Lon. 69 deg 43.93 W
Heading 096.4 deg
Speed 7.9 kts
Barometer 1009.84 mb
Rel Humidity 99.47%
Temp. 16.5 C

Daily Log

0635 hours and we are in dense pea soup fog.

1120 hours. We have been delayed by the fog but are now underway at a very slow speed, fog horn sounding every minute. The ship need to travel about 10 miles to the entrance to Boothbay harbor so that we can put ashore by launch one of the scientist and bring back to the ship another of the NOAA scientist who has been working at Pease.

I am starting to hear other fog horns in the distance. I spent some time on the bridge. The radar’s give a very accurate view of what’s around us, shoreline as well as vessels large and small in the area, but still it is not perfect and hence the need to proceed slowly.

We made it in very close to the entrance to Boothbay Harbor. I was hoping to get some pictures of the area but we were entirely fogbound. One scientist was sent ashore at approximately 1330 hours but then the return of the launch with the replacement took longer than anticipated. Apparently they became lost in the fog on their return to the ship.

We spent most of afternoon south of the Boothbay area traveling in an east west pattern taking air and water samples. We seem to slide into and out of dense fog…

I spent about an hour today on the bridge. The ability to track and identify an object at sea is so common now that it is taken as a guarantee of safety. The personnel on the bridge made it abundantly clear that it is not.

It is amazing to me that the same technology which is used to see and identify ships at sea is in a way the same technology that allows many of the scientists onboard to identify and measure many different species of chemical compounds.

Question

What size are the smallest particles we can measure in our Chemistry lab at Grady H.S.?

Kevin McMahon, July 31, 2004

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Kevin McMahon
Onboard NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown

July 26 – August 7, 2004

Mission: New England Air Quality Study (NEAQS)
Geographical Area:
Northwest Atlantic Ocean
Date:
July 31, 2004

Weather Data from the Bridge
Lat. 43 deg 38.20 N
Lon. 69 deg 57.97 W
Speed 8.9 kts
Barometer 1016.68 mb
Rel Humidity 97.27%
Temp. 18.16 C

Daily Log

0835 hours. The wind speed has increased and is now at about 16 kts which lend a slight roll the ship.

We came within a couple of miles of Fletcher Point, ME. Before turning around, at present we are heading in an easterly direction.

Helped to launch an ozonesonde at 1000. The winds had kicked up to about 20 kts out of the southwest which made it somewhat tricky. In all though it was a successful launch.

I learned later that the ozonesonde made it to an altitude of 39.9 kilometers, not the record but pretty close.

I’ve been up on the bridge. The views of the Maine coastline are spectacular.

Talking to some of the men and women who operate the ship I am amazed at the complexity of the vessel. Aside form the scientific aspect, the bridge alone seems to have more in common with a Boeing 747 than it does with a ship on the sea. Gone are the ships wheel and binnacle and the entire nautical flavor as described by Melville.

The RONALD H. BROWN is as modern a ship as you will find on the ocean.

She is 274 feet in length with a beam of 52.5 feet and a draft of 19 feet.

Its diesel engines do not drive the propellers directly, rather they produce electricity which intern powers electric motors that drive the ships twin aft thrusters and single bow thruster. The ship does not have rudders but is instead maneuvered by the thrusters which have the ability to rotate 360 degrees.

The ships wheel has been replaced by a joystick type apparatus which allows for minute movement in all direction. The GPS navigational system allows the ship to maintain a fixed course over an extended period of time or, hold a steady fixed position within one meter of a desired location.

Questions

How does a GPS system work?

Does the GPS system on the ship differ from the one we use for class fieldwork?

Kevin McMahon, July 30, 2004

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Kevin McMahon
Onboard NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown

July 26 – August 7, 2004

Mission: New England Air Quality Study (NEAQS)
Geographical Area:
Northwest Atlantic Ocean
Date:
July 30, 2004

Weather Data from the Bridge
Lat. 42 deg 37.86 N
Lon. 70 deg 12.37 W
Speed 8.6 kts
Barometer 1018.96 mb
Rel Humidity 93.16%
Temp. 18.9 C

The seas are calm. The skies have a distant haze. The New England atmosphere so common at this time of year. As is usual for the day, at 0700 we sent aloft a radiosonde, and then at 1000 an ozonesonde.

I was lucky enough to see a couple of finback whales; but unfortunately I had left my camera on my bunk, before beginning a discussion with Drew Hamilton about alternative power generation. Many of the scientists lead very diverse lives. Drew has a house in Seattle and wants to get off the electrical grid. He has worked for NOAA for 25 years and has seen much of the world. Thirty years ago he started out at the University of Miami, never in a thousand years dreaming he’d be involved in the kind of research he’s doing.

Ever hear of di-methyl sulfide DMS? As chemistry teacher I’d heard the name but never understood its significance to the atmospheric work the scientist aboard the ship are undertaking. It turns out that di-methyl sulfide is produced by plankton and is part of a planktons waste process. DMS is one of the major contributors of atmospheric sulfur. Overly high levels in the atmosphere can act as a reflective unit not allowing enough sunlight through our atmosphere. As a result, in certain areas the Earth does not receive the needed heat for some of the biological processes to take place.

Weather Data from the Bridge
Lat. 43 deg 17.84 N
Lon. 69 deg 33.83 W
Speed 9.3 kts
Barometer 1018.3 mb
Rel Humidity 86.16%
Temp. 20.65 C

1530 hours and there seems to be a flurry of activity among many of the scientist. A radiosonde is being rapidly readied to be sent aloft. It seems that the ship has reached a position somewhat east of Portland, ME and we have found a plume of ozone. The initial spike on the instrumentation showed 80-85 ppb (parts per billion) but then it jumped again to 101 ppb. This spike in the ozone was enough to request that another ozonesonde be readied and sent aloft. They have also requested a fly over by the DC3 out of Pease. Onboard the DC3 is a LIDAR (Light Radar) which measures atmospheric ozone. I am told that the cost of one ozonesonde is approximately one thousand dollars, so I assume that the readings on the instrumentation are justifying the expense. It will be interesting to see what they all have to say at the evening science meeting which is held each evening at 1930 hours.

We seemed to have found a large plume of ozone. It is as everyone, the science staff at least, had assumed. We have indeed found a large plume of ozone.

1930 hours. We are now heading in a westerly direction for Cape Elizabeth, ME.