Here we are waiting for the CTD to return to the surface so that the real work can begin.
And, since we are waiting, a good opportunity for a photo!
Still blowing 40 knots out of
the northwest. We are sure glad that we are going downwind. If it is like
this on our return in May it will be very painful, the ship will only be
able to make a few knots. We are actually going uphill to Baja. Sea level
is several centimeters higher off Baja than off Monterey. The extra weight
of water is what creates the California Undercurrent, forcing water to
move poleward. The northwesterly winds that we are currently experiencing
are responsible for the higher sea level off Baja. Since they are not that
active during winter, the sea level difference is smaller. We expect the
undercurrent to be weak during the southbound transect that we are
currently making and much stronger when we return in May. Our scientific
interest in the undercurrent has to do with the fact that it carries
chemical fingerprints and organisms from tropical waters to the California
coast. Changes in its intensity can have impacts on Monterey Bay chemistry
first results of our voyage are starting to come in, courtesy of the iron
group (Ginger Elrod,
Josh Plant, and Steve
Fitzwater). Profiles of iron like the one shown on the graph are very
rare because ship contamination is a serious issue. The profile shows a
maximum close to 100 m, exactly where we expect the flow of the
undercurrent to be strongest. Is the undercurrent bringing iron from the
south or is it just acting to resuspend iron-rich sediments from the
bottom? We hope to be able to answer these questions soon.
After the next station we
will be turning into the Southern California bight, coming very close to
the Channel Islands. The bight is protected from the northwesterly winds
so we should see calmer waters after that. Even with the strong winds we
are experiencing, the Western Flyer provides an extremely nice
ride. I just snuck into the kitchen to see what we will be having for
dinner tonight. It looks like roast beef, potatoes, and asparagus. Hope I
donít outgrow my pants before we reach La Paz!
Anyone for fish tacos?