The guys are finally on their way! The R/V Nathaniel B. Palmer set sail from Hobart, Tasmania on March 20, 2014 ( GMT +11 hours). The science party is made up of a total 29 scientists, 9 of which are graduate students. The first Go-SHIP station is located at 67°S, 150°W. While in transit, scientists will deploy the first Bio-Argo float of the campaign, 6 days from sail. An Argo float is a battery-operated, autonomous float that can move up and down the water column collecting temperature and salinity profiles up to a 2000m depth by pumping fluid into and out of a bladder to manipulate buoyancy. A Bio-Argo can collect measurements of chlorophyll-a and backscattering, in addition to salinity and temperature profiles. The deployment of Bio-Argo floats is particularly important for validating ocean color remote sensing data. For more information about Argo floats, you can proceed to the following links:
Setting up a scientific laboratory on a ship is no easy task. Space is usually limited and you must be able to play well with others. We have filtration equipment (the large wooden frames) set up to collect the biogeochemical parameters, i.e. phytoplankton pigments, particulate organic carbon and particle absorption. The parameters are collected onto small paper filters and frozen for future analyses back at NASA Goddard. We also have two instruments set up on board to measure colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM), which is like tea, compounds extracted from plant material that can flow out into the ocean via rivers. While in transit to the first station Mike, Joaquin and Scott are busy collecting samples.
A major addition to this year’s field campaign is a ‘souped-up’ underway-sampling system built by none other than Scott Freeman, our optics expert on board the Palmer. The set-up contains multiple instruments that collect dissolved and particulate absorption, CDOM fluorometry, chlorophyll and particle scattering at 660nm. The system is connected to the ship’s seawater system that pumps clean seawater from <10m depth through the ship and then to faucets at which the water can be accessed. The term ‘clean’ means the plumbing that facilitates seawater pumping to the laboratories is routinely checked for clogs and algae growth.
Lastly, a blog post isn’t complete without a gratuitous photo of macrofauna. Here is a photo of a petrel taken by Joaquin Chaves. Can anyone identify what kind of petrel this is?