Saturday, January 24, 2009

saturday night yo-yo contest

One of my fellow crewmembers jokingly asked yesterday what we should
do on friday night. I think you have to tone down your expectations
when you're aboard a 300 foot ship at 75S. Luckily I don't need too
much stimulation. I relaxed and watched my first movie of the trip.

Tonight's crazy saturday night activity consists of watching the CTD
monitor for 8 hours in a row. We're on a 24 hour "yo-yo" near the
ice front while the autosub is off exploring the depths of PIG.
Spending so much time in front of one ice shelf has left most people
feeling a little stir crazy. But because it's so difficult to get
here on a normal year and because there is a long wait for the sub to
get back from a 60 km trip under into the ice, we're sampling the
"temporal" variability in addition to the spatial variability.

In general, the problem with observations is that they are few and
far between in both space and time. When I use a model to describe
the ocean, I can show some of this variability, but it's difficult to
verify its accuracy. When we take observations, the data is real,
but we are limited in our capability to describe everything that's
happening in the ocean. Autosub is getting spatial coverage (where
we have no previous observations). The yo-yo is watching to see how
tides, winds, sunlight, and heat over the course of a day change the
flow in a critical part of the ocean.

Though we get to enjoy more varied sights and cover more ground when
we move more often, the yo-yo is giving us a new perspective on the
melting and circulation underneath the ice shelf. That said, I'm more
than happy to hand over control of the operation to my night shift


  1. Speaking of crazy things.... We noticed the phot you took of the Ob Hill Cross in your slide show. Is it stil engraved with the lines of the poem?

  2. We were wondering, we are working on a lesson/activity for IPY's upcoming Polar Ocean Day about water masses and thermohaline circulation. Would it be possible to link the CDT data that you shared with the class as a real example?