Notes from the Field

NASA scientists are in the field and write home to tell about it.

The Pacific or “Peaceful” Ocean

The Pacific Ocean is the largest of these basins as well as the deepest. Its expanse runs 155 million square miles and contains "more than half of the free water on earth.” The CLIVAR P16S field campaign has entered the waters of the South Pacific knows as a subtropical gyre. Gyre means “circular or spiral motion.” In the ocean, wind generated surface currents travel in a circular direction, either clockwise or counterclockwise, forming a large, circular body of water. Blooms (large cell numbers) of phytoplankton cannot grow in these gyres because the water that piles up within the center of circulation is nutrient deficient. read more

That’s All, Folks!!!

An Appreciation for True-Color Satellite Imagery

We have spent the last few weeks discussing the differences between inherent and apparent optical properties in the ocean and how we measure them. Now let’s take a moment to appreciate the information these data give us. I am sure many of you have seen satellite images of the ocean, hurricanes, etc. on the news and at other outlets. A lot of work goes into each and every one of those images and they can show remarkable things on a global scale that would be difficult to detect through fieldwork alone. read more

On The Ice Sheet!

Sampling the Global Ocean and a Note on Ocean Acidification

One of the greatest tools used by oceanographers today for measuring ocean processes is the CTD. CTD stands for Conductivity, Temperature and Depth. Conductivity is a measure of ocean salinity. The parameters collected and analyzed during CLIVAR campaigns includes, but is not limited to: salinity, oxygen, nutrients, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), total alkalinity, pH, dissolved organic carbon (DOC), helium, and tritium. read more

Stormy weather and radiometry don’t mix

In spite of the rough weather, the FSG fellows have taken advantage of some calmer days to deploy a radiometer. A radiometer measures apparent optical properties or AOPs. AOPs describe how the light is entering and exiting the water column. Remember that sunlight contains a whole spectrum of colors that are determined by their wavelength. The character of the light that is reflected back out of the water can be different than what went in. More specifically, the wavelengths or colors that are reflected back out are the colors that were not absorbed or scattered forward. read more

Bonjour from Kulusuk!

If you can’t get to the field, the field will come to you

Tsunamis and the Open Ocean

As many of you probably heard, there was an 8.2-magnitude earthquake off the coast of Northern Chile on Tuesday night. As with any earthquake around a coastal region or on the ocean floor, there is a concern about the formation of a tsunami. However, the wave height (the height from the base of the wave at the water line to the top of the wave) in the deep, open ocean is very small, maybe a few feet tall. As you can imagine, a boat or ship in the open ocean wouldn’t even notice such a tiny wave. read more

What about a round-trip cargo flight?

Earth Matters

Earth is an amazing planet, and the one that matters most to us. Let’s have a conversation about it.

April Puzzler

Aerial View of Kahauale‘a 2

Saluting the Tournament Earth Winner: Canary Islands

March Puzzler Answer: Nalabana Bird Sanctuary

Aerial Views of the Landslide in Oso, Washington

Elegant Figures

On data visualization and information design on the Earth Observatory.

Malofiej 22 Wrap-up

Climate Q&A

Myths, misunderstandings, and frequently asked questions about climate.