May
30
Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Robert on 30-05-2009

Between all the deployments, datalogging, chemistry/calibrations, repairs and tweeking, recoveries and sometimes sleep, the team finds minutes here and there to ‘act normal’ (well, not really, but at least we try to act differently).

shift change

shift change

Dale strums

Dale strums

Margaret and Miguel mug for the camera

Margaret and Miguel mug for the camera

Scripps R/V New Horizon steams south to drop scientists off in Newport after a CMOP research cruise in the Columbia River Estuary.

Scripps R/V New Horizon steams south to drop scientists off in Newport after a CMOP research cruise in the Columbia River Estuary.

Miguel contemplates the CTD ... or the real meaning of life.

Miguel contemplates the CTD ... or the real meaning of life.

May
30
Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Robert on 30-05-2009

We are past the half-way point in our cruise and there is still much work left to be done.  While we continue to track the dye that was injected several days ago, we are also sampling water from different depths for chemical parameters including carbon, iron and methane.  Pictured here is a gas chromatograph that can detect dissolved methane in order to see how this dissolved gas changes with changing depths. This instrument is great for measuring individual samples, but we also need a continuous methane analysis to couple with the continuous flow of data (and water) that the towed vehicle provides.   This is necessary to understand how methane behaves in the boundary layer and is transported to the surface ocean and atmosphere in this dynamic coastal upwelling system.

This Gas Chromatograph system measures methane in gases stripped from seawater.

This Gas Chromatograph system measures methane in gases stripped from seawater.

At the forward end of the ship laboratory (see below), the pumped seawater flow arrives and is split for the analysis of nutrients and total dissolved CO2.  Dissolved gases are then ‘stripped’ from the remaining seawater by a stream of pure air and analyzed for carbon dioxide and methane gas.  Our new analyzer (pictured on the left side of the photo) continuously monitors methane stripped from seawater using a very sensitive infrared spectrometer.

At the forward end of our ship's "wet" laboratory, we complete nutrient and dissolved gas analyses.

At the forward end of our ship's "wet" laboratory, we analyze nutrients and dissolved gases.

The picture below shows the methane analyses continuously recorded from the Fast Methane Analyzer over an hour of towing the Super-Sucker up and down near the seafloor.   This sawtooth pattern will be correlated with all the other data we collect from the towed system to understand the processes controlling methane in this environment.

This is a plot of methane concentration (white saw-tooth pattern) over time (one hour) as the Super-sucker is towed up and down near the safloor.

This is a plot of methane concentration (white saw-tooth pattern) over time (one hour) as the towed Super-sucker is flown up and down near the seafloor.

May
28
Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Robert on 28-05-2009

filtrationOne of the objectives of this work is to quantify the export of particulate organic carbon (POC) from the shelf to the ocean interior via the bottom boundary layer (BBL).  With that in mind, we are collecting samples in a semi-continuous basis by filtering discrete volumes of water from the SeaSoar through 0.45 micron filters.  These samples will be analyzed for carbon and nitrogen contents in the laboratory to determine the content of POC in each filter collected.  Discrete sample data will be compared to in-situ measurements of turbidity and optical backscatter to help define the distribution of POC throughout the water column and investigate how it changes with depth, location and upwelling/relaxation conditions.

We are also filtering larger volumes of water manually to further analyze the composition of the particulate organic matter in suspension.  Stable isotopes and organic biomarker analyses are planned to elucidate the source and degradation state of the organic matter in suspension.

As shown by the picture of one of the filters, we are recovering quite a bit of material!

filter

May
28
Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Robert on 28-05-2009

At the other end of the Super-Sucker sits “mission control” which orchestrates the vehicle flight, water pumping, all the data flows from the towed package CTD and acoustic sensors, and  a complex network of analytical instruments in the lab.  We all “dance to its beat” when the instrument is deployed.    Pictured is Burke Hales, chief scientist and resident LabView geek.

This complex of computers in the main lab controls the Super-Sucker (the electronics on the bench helps, as well)

This complex of computers in the main lab controls the Super-Sucker (the electronics on the bench helps, as well)

Below can be seen two of the many data screens continuously monitored on the control system computers.  The upper plot shows the depth of the Super-Sucker package as it “tow-yo’s” in the 20 meter boundary layer near the seafloor.  The white sawtooth trace show’s the instrument depth over a 1-hour time window (covering about 1 mile from West to East toward shore) and the blue/green traces are the depth of the seafloor below the package.  The lower plot shows some of the insitu chemical and optical sensor data from the package: the Pink line represents the fluorescence of our dye-tracer, injected into the boundary layer several days earlier to study mixing and transport; the blue trace relates to the dissolved oxygen; and the yellow trace is related to the backscatter of light from particles resuspended at the seafloor.

Control system data

In order to study how carbon is controlled by the physics, chemistry and biology of this coastal upwelling system, we continuously tow an instrument package behind the ship.  The package is called the Super-Sucker because it continuously pumps water back to the ship through a hose (see the Yellow tow line pictured below).  Besides its water pmp, the Super-Sucker contains electronics to measure the depth below the surface and height above the seafloor, the physcial properties of seawater (salinity, temperature, currents), chemicals such as dissolved oxygen, and biological tracers such as chlorophyll fluorescence.  It also carries sensors to measure tracers we inject near the seafloor before our experiment begins to measure the transport and mixing of water along the “benthic boundary layer” (BBL).

The Super-Sucker is towed from this special cable that contains a nylon tube that carries the pumped water back to the ship’s laboratory, wires connected to the various sensors on the package, all wrapped in a woven outer sheath made of “spectra” line fibers.  The “shaggy tails” are left on the line as “faring” to make the hose-line tow through the water more efficiently.

The Super Sucker is towed from this special cable.

The Super Sucker is towed from this special cable.

Bellow, the team prepares the final “details” before deploying the Super-Sucker off the fantail, “… quick, give me your roll of black tape … and get that computer outta here or we’ll deploy it, too!”

Prepare to Launch

May
24
Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Robert on 24-05-2009

Actually, the recovery of the OSU Glider named BOB went without difficulty tonight.  This Bob has helped rescue that BOB twice now … perhaps it’s a sign … of something.  Dave O. directs, Justin drives, and Dave H. picks up the pieces.

For more background about OSU gliders, see the OSU Glider Blog

Bob recovered

Bob was transfered over to the R/V Elakha to continue its science missions after some well-earned TLC.

R/V Elakha takes the injured glider onboad, transferred from the R/V Wecoma.  The glider, turned on for the transfer, immediately "phoned home" for rescue - apparently not impressed with our ongoing attempts.

R/V Elakha takes the injured glider onboad, transferred from the R/V Wecoma. The glider, turned on for the transfer, immediately "phoned home" for rescue - apparently not impressed with our ongoing attempts.

May
23
Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Robert on 23-05-2009

We completed our first long section today, towing the ‘Super Sucker” vehicle to the West off Lincoln City.   Starting in 30m of water about one mile off the beach, we towed for 13 miles to the 180m depth contour along 45 degrees N latitude.  During the tow, the pilot (and chief scientist, Burke Hales) continuously raises and lowers the instrument package – “painting” a section of water chemistry, physics and biology on the shelf.  Our efforts focus on how the fluxes of carbon are controlled by varying upwelling strength and biogeochemistry on the shelf.  Tonight we will steam to recover an OSU glider, quietly waiting for us at the surface.  Tomorrow, we will return here to continue our surveys.

The wetlab hard at work, sampling particles, biology, iron, nutrients, the CO2 system, iron, and methane from water continuously pumpued onboard from the towed vehicle.

The wetlab hard at work, sampling particles, biology, nutrients, the CO2 system, iron, and methane from water continuously pumpued onboard from the towed vehicle.

Near the end of our section, the hose/cable jammed in the block and forced the team into a "creative recovery" of the tow vehicle.  The experienced crew and scientists carefully completed the recovery and repairs on the cable should be finished by morning.

Near the end of our section, the hose/cable jammed in the block and forced the team into a "creative recovery" of the tow vehicle. The experienced crew and scientists carefully completed the recovery and repairs on the cable should be finished by morning.

May
22
Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Robert on 22-05-2009

We are underway on Wecoma Cruise W0905b – in search of upwelling conditions followed by relaxation events.   We have the upwelling covered in spades …

Testing equipment during the first day of the cruise off Lincoln City - >20 knot winds from the North

Testing equipment during the first day of the cruise off Lincoln City - >20 knot winds.