Thursday, 10 July 2014

Ocean Sampling Day in the Antarctic – this time around, we were early!


This year we managed to get out on the 17th of June. As the weather forecast is very unreliable and another weather window was not in sight, we decided to take the opportunity and get the samples early. When we left base in our RIB it was still snowing and it took us quite a while to push through the pancake ice but we finally got to Site 1 (see Figure 1). The fast ice edge was just where we wanted to sample which was good as it was slightly too windy and we would have drifted quite a lot. However, we found a little bay and were able to throw an anchor onto the ice to stop us from drifting. During the 2 ½ hours we were out there, the weather cleared up and it turned into a quite beautiful day. Despite the sun not rising currently, it got quite light and the wind calmed down.

Click here to a little video we have put together.

Figure 1: At Rothera we have 3 Sites we commonly visit for CTDs. Site 1 is 500m deep and allows us a full CTD profile. Site 2 is closer to base and only 200m deep but less likely to be covered by ice in the winter. Site 3 is just off the wharf and only about 100m deep. This side is only visited if the ice is too thick to get any further.


Like last year we filtered 2l for each of the 4 replicates through Sterivex filters. They were put into the -80°C freezer for preservation until the ship picks them up in March 2015.
For us in Antarctica, the 21st of June is a very special day being the winter solstice. It marks the day with the least daylight. At Rothera this means that we still get a couple of hours of daylight (without seeing the sun), but others spend their days in complete darkness. As Christmas is not quite as big as a deal down here as it is at home, midwinter is celebrated much more. At the beginning of winter we all pick names out of a hat (like secret santa) and had to make a present for the person we drew. Lots of amazing things were made like hammocks, clocks, cake stands, models of sledges, a real size sledge, a Banjo case and more. We got together in the morning at around 11am (just when it started getting light) for breakfast. We met up again at 2pm all dressed up nicely, ate canapés and exchanged presents. At 4pm we started the epic journey of an 8-course dinner. We had an interval at 7.30 just before the main course for our mid-winter broadcast. This is the only time of the year the BBC World Services transmits in a way that we can pick it up. They put together a 30min show for all British bases with the songs of our choices, maybe a celebrity we asked for and most importantly messages from our loved ones at home – quite special and emotional.
Sabrina Heiser, Rothera Marine Assistant

Crew: Mairi Fenton (Marine Assistant for the Dutch collaboration), Petra Mildeova (Meteorologist)

Rothera is a British Antarctic Survey research station, located on Adelaide Island on the Antarctic Peninsula at 67° South.

The whole team with the presents (Photo: Chris Walton)

3 comments:

  1. Yeah its a good article. According to you what we project managers do is communicating. And a lot of this communication is done during project meetings. It can sometimes feel like you are running from one meeting to another and that your time is often wasted. Meetings don’t start on time, the issues aren’t dealt with, there is no agenda, there is no focus, nobody assigns any follow ups or tasks and of course then they also don’t end on time. An efficient project manager is required for the good management of a project. I think a project manager should PMP certified. Looking forwards to apply what I learned in PMP classes in my company.

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  2. The study of oceanography is divided into branches:

    Biological oceanography investigates the ecology of marine organisms in the context of the physical, chemical, and geological characteristics of their ocean environment. It is closely aligned with marine biology, though the latter has more emphasis on the biology of individual marine organisms.
    Chemical oceanography, or marine (or ocean) chemistry, is the study of the chemistry of the ocean and its chemical interaction with the atmosphere.
    Geological oceanography, or marine geology, is the study of the geology of the ocean floor including plate tectonics and paleoceanography.
    Physical oceanography, or marine physics, studies the ocean's physical attributes including temperature-salinity structure, mixing, surface waves, internal waves, surface tides, internal tides, and currents.
    These branches reflect the fact that many oceanographers are first trained in the exact sciences or mathematics and then focus on applying their interdisciplinary knowledge, skills and abilities to oceanography.

    Data derived from the work of Oceanographers is used in marine engineering, in the design and building of oil platforms, ships, harbours, and other structures that allow us to use the ocean safely.

    Oceanographic data management is the discipline ensuring that oceanographic data both past and present are available to researchers.

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