Planning the Science
March 14, 2009
Sea temperature: 0.604°C
Air temperature: -0.8°C
We continued our course to iceberg C18a today. At the daily science
meeting, the principal investigators planned their equipment deployment
and sampling for the first days around the iceberg.
Maria Vernet’s phytoplankton group was first on the list, planning a
test of the profiling reflectance radiometer or PRR. The PRR
availability was an unexpected research bonus from our detour to King
George Island. A missing part for the sensor coincidentally was being
transported by ARSV Gould from Palmer Station back to storage in Punta
Arenas. Vernet’s group was able to get this part during one of the
Zodiac transfers yesterday. The PRR provides additional capability over
the profiling ultraviolet sensor (PUV) that they had planned to use in
absence of the PRR. The PRR has 19 channels for measuring wavelengths of
UV and visible light. This range matches the ocean color satellite data
that the team analyzes for phytoplankton production in the sea surface.
A few more instrument tests and some water collections were planned for
the late afternoon but the weather did not cooperate. As we steamed
ahead toward the iceberg, the winds increased to 25-30 knots and the
seas were rough. It became clear that we wouldn’t be deploying any gear.
However, it was possible to begin surface mapping, the next main effort
on the schedule. John Helly, Maria Vernet, Alison Murray, Ben Twining,
Tim Shaw and Ron Kaufmann have been collaborating on this important
survey, planning about 18 hours of surface mapping around the iceberg.
Results will provide the framework of the sampling strategy for the next
eight days we are at this iceberg.
25-30 knot winds. Photo by Kim Reisenbichler
To follow the ship's track, be sure to check out the map on Google Earth 5.0
as we are sending position information with each daily log. Also,
the website, www.sailwx.info/ receives ship position data. Captain Mike
Watson’s parents sent a message today about this site as it is one they
have used to follow the Palmer on its voyages around Antarctica.
— Debbie Nail Meyer