At sea


As a marine scientist I have always had an obsession with the sea and what it is doing. You can see that by looking at the photos section of this site, or my flickr stream.  A couple of weeks ago Dr Ian Brooks (Leeds) tweeted to a colleague, a movie clip of a ship in bad storm.  I looked at the video and there was no doubt. It was taken on the RRS James Clark Ross when I was on board. Here is the clip:

It was taken by Doug, who was then the Third Officer of the James Clark Ross, and I think that I was probably standing on the bridge with him and my two colleagues Dr Geli Renner, and Dr Paul Holland. We were the night shift on a research cruise in the Bellingshausen Sea.

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Discovery sails away
RRS Discovery en-route to disposal after a 50 year career in marince science,
Photo taken by Andrew Yool. NOC.

Life at sea is hard to compare with the home quotidian because colleagues, work, dinner, pub, TV, laundry, bed, labs, computers are continually present within the same hundred feet and few decks of space.  It can be quite intense, especially when the vagaries of the environment are included:  wind and sea, icebergs, aurorae, gulls, whales, seals.  Often the port calls lend an exoticism verging on glamour to the unlikeliest places, such as Wallsend, Cardiff or Fairlie, although Reykjavik, Tromsø, Cape Town and Rothera (for example) are more dramatic.  A six- or seven-week expedition can seem like it will never end.

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This morning I posted my 10,000 tweet.

Whilst I am not sure if 10,000 is significant, I pointed to the brilliant NASA Earth Observation www site which has a wonderful post today about the reduction of sea ice increasing phytoplankton growth in the Arctic. (Be sure to click the "image comparision" button on that page).

High chlorophyll in open water
Sat picture from 10 July 2011 showing milligrams of chlorophyll per cubic meter of seawater. From the Aqua Satellite

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I got an email from a friend asking me about the picture I am using for the blog header.

"Where did you take that?"

Antarctica on 30th March 2007 in southern Marguerite Bay, and looking towards the Antarctic Peninsula.

It was a fantastic day's work, making oceanographic measurements with CTD sensor to work out the ocean circulation beneath the King George VI Ice shelf.

Here is an picture with a similar view from the same day showing the whole scene.

King George VI Sound
King George VI Sound facing the Antarctic Peninsula

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