Teacher At Sea Logs

RITAS Expedition

CTD Data Check it Out!

This is one data set from a CTD.  The graph has a huge amount of information.  On the left hand side the data table is showing a variety of “live” data, meaning it changes constantly as the CTD is deployed and recovered.  The y axis of the graph is the depth of the CTD in the water with 0 meters (the surface) at the top.  The four different colors show the following: green is a measure of chlorophyl, grey is a measure of how clear the water is, blue is the amount of salt in the water, and red is the temperature.

Take a look at the graph.  What are trends or patterns you notice?  What does this graph tell you about different layers in the water?  There is SO much information that can be pulled from just one CTD data set.  We have done over 70 of these!  So much DATA!

Another question:  What is chlorophyl?  Why is there more chlorophyl near the surface than down deep?

Track a Drifter

A few weeks ago we deployed drifters (see picture).  Debbie labeled one with the name of her school and Todd labeled one for his school.  The drifters collect and transmit data for up to 3 years!  You can now go to a website and track the location of the drifters.

Website: http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/phod/dac/gdp_track.php

Code for Debbie’s tracker: 44925

Code for Todd’s tracker:  44932

Red Sky

Last night we experienced a fabulous sunset.  It lasted for over an hour.  The color changes were amazing.  I know that pictures will not do it justice, but I will include one.  There is a famous sailor’s quote that says “red sky in morning, sailors  take warning; red sky at night, sailors delight.”  Can anyone give me more information about this saying?

Another Beautiful Sunset

Click to enlarge the pictures!

New Question for Students

We had a rough night at sea last night.  Lots of rocking and rolling.  Almost fell out of bed more than once.  I hope as we go south we will move into some nicer weather again.

Here is a new question:  What is the science behind someone getting sea sick?  In other words, what is happening in the body (the biology) of a person who gets sea sick?

May 17

The seas are back!  The motion today is a little different; there are some very high swells.  If you are working in the main lab this means everything that is not tied down goes rolling across the table. This sometimes includes people.  Our chairs are all tied down, so if you hold onto the table you can prevent yourself from sliding into the wall.  Before the trip began we all tied down our computers with clamps, hooks and bungee cords.

Outside the weather is just slightly overcast. The temperature is around 45 degrees Farenheit, which is pretty warm.  On our first cast of the UCTD the birds were very lazy.  Only a couple tried to touch the cord, but there was a rather large audience sitting on the water observing.  Someone asks me about seeing the birds at night. We see the birds day and night, rain and shine.  The crew members told me that they often have hitchhiking land birds but most don’t make it all the way back to land.

Eddie the Egret

At approximately 1:00 AM on my watch we were doing the UCTD from the fantail of the ship.  The sea birds were playing their usual game of seeing how close they get to the cable without actually touching it.  There are usually about 10 birds that compete in this game.  Suddenly I noticed a bird that did not belong.  It was an egret and it wasn’t out playing with the other birds. It was perched on the guide wire on board ship.  I know that most of you know what an egret looks like; they are very common in Florida.  As a matter of fact I see ten to twenty of these birds on a daily basis around my house.  I knew right away this bird was out of his element, 400 to 500 miles from the closest land.  It stayed with us all evening, overcoming his fear of man in favor of his own survival.  Sadly, by morning he was nowhere to be found.  It just seems funny to me that a common Florida bird winds up on a vessel with another common Florida species, me!

What is this?

Take a guess.  What is this?  Click to enlarge!

May 12

For time purposes we did only the outer points of the larger grid.  We are now back on the smaller grid collecting a second data set.  We are about to stop at HR08 for a CTD and then we will continue south.