At approximately 60° South and 174° East the FSG members sampled their first official station of the field campaign. The solid red line in the map below denotes the current ship track (as of March 27th). The ship has not yet reached the P16S line that begins at 150° West (the blue circles on the map below).
The FSG will deploy an IOP package at one station each day. The FSG IOP package is an assemblage of instruments that collect data for temperature, salinity, depth, absorption of particles and dissolved components, and particle scattering. The instruments are contained within a metal ‘cage’ that is lowered on a wire to a chosen depth in the water column. The data collected by the instruments are saved to a type of hard drive located within the cage. Before the cage can be deployed, weight must be added so that it can sink.
Here, the cage with all of the instruments is being lifted off the deck of the ship and lowered into the water.
And, sometimes, King Neptune decides to send a wave your way. But that is why we wear our safety gear!
The FSG also collects surface water samples in conjunction with the IOP package deployment. A weighted tube is lowered over the side of the ship, and a large peristaltic pump gently transfers seawater to a large container (carboy).
The water is filtered and processed back in the laboratory on the ship.
Now, let’s take a moment to understand the significance and importance of hydrographic field campaigns. Oceanic and atmospheric processes are tightly coupled. Temperature and freshwater fluxes between the ocean and atmosphere are in control of climate variability. A good example of this strong ocean-atmosphere relationship is El Nino Southern Oscillation or ENSO. During an El Nino event, the temperature structure of the equatorial Pacific Ocean is disrupted. The central equatorial Pacific Ocean becomes warmer than normal affecting tropical rainfall in Indonesia and global weather patterns. The objective of the Climate Variability and Predictability of the ocean-atmosphere system, or CLIVAR, program is to understand this dynamic coupling and model future ocean-atmosphere variability by collecting and analyzing ship-based global observations. The International CLIVAR program is a continuation of its predecessors: the Tropical-Ocean Global Atmosphere (TOGA) and the World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE). The TOGA program was formed in 1985 to study the relationship between the tropical ocean and the global atmosphere with the ultimate goal of predicting variability on various time scales. The WOCE program began in 1990 with the objective to study global ocean circulation and its relationship to the global climate system over long time scales using global observations. The US-CLIVAR program contributes to the international program as well as the World Climate Research Program. You can learn more about the US-CLIVAR program here.