Friday, February 25, 2011

Rough seas

I realize that I have not mentioned anything about the reason I am here in
the Southern Ocean. As part of the Calibration and Validation program at
NASA it is our job to ground truth data satellite products, such as from
MODIS-Aqua. These products include chlorophyll a, which is loosely
representative of phytoplankton biomass in the surface layer of the oceans.
As such, I collect biogeochemical samples that represent anything that
would influence the optical properties of the water: suspended particulate
matter, particulate organic carbon, colored dissolved organic matter,
particulate absorption, dissolved organic carbon, and phytoplankton
pigments. This involves a great dealing of filtering, which is like
watching for water to boil. Most sampling occurs from the subsurface but I
am getting profile samples, from the water column for pigments and CDOM.
Normally in our program we do not collect profile samples for pigments,
because we are primarily concerned with what MODIS-A 'sees', but I am
interested in phytoplankton community structure so, at my own accord,
decided to take profile samples. Unfortunately, I haven't seen much
biomass yet. The primary focus of this program called Climate Variability,
or, CLIVAR is chemistry and physics but I hoping to bring a biological

Today has been a non-science day. The winds were whipping up to 60kts and
the swell has made life difficult. I think King Neptune must be in a bad
mood. Thankfully this ship rides very well. I do not feel sick but have
been very sleepy and unproductive all day. We were not able to sample any
stations with the CTD rosette because of the weather. I did finish a book
on my Kindle and start a new one. That is my accomplishment for the day. Oh
yeah, and this blog entry. I am attaching a picture of the weather outside.
The picture was taken through the window of the bridge. There was no way I
was going outside!


  1. WOW! Very rough sea. Hope it's better now and you guys are able to start collecting data. What an adventure and I cannot wait to hear more about it.

  2. I would love to read more about your plans for the phytoplankton community structure!

  3. Wow! The sea looks like something out of a movie. Luke 8:22-25

  4. Tell me more about this ... chlor-o-phyll.