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 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 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