Sunday, September 19, 2010

An uninvited guest

Station 8
42° 23.995' N, 59° 19.113' W
Winds: 11 knots

Our final CTD for Station 8 is now on deck and we are ready to move on. Rather than moving further out into the Atlantic, we are going west. Where, exactly, is yet to be determined.

Like all research cruises, we came here with a detailed sample plan. It included estimates of where we would be, when we would be there, and how long each event would last before moving on to the next station. In our case, that adds up to 26 stations in 26 days under the assumption of 100% successful deployments and no weather delays. While we have had tremendous success so far, we are also aware of an uninvited guest in the Atlantic. His name is Igor, and he is on the move.

Hurricanes are one of our atmosphere's biggest shows. This one is several hundred miles across, but concentrated over a much smaller area. That means we can avoid the full fury, but we cannot avoid the waves. We have already entered into 10 foot swell and it is expected to grow. Fortunately, the dominant wave period (the time required for a full wave to pass by) today is long, approximately 14 seconds, and produces a fairly gentle roll. But it won’t last. And if it gets too rough, we might not be able to work on deck. We will have a meeting at 1300h today to determine, among other things, whether to steam to our next intended station or to circumvent Igor's influence and work through our remaining stations in reverse order. Regardless of our choice, we need to lash down our gear before moving forward.

For more information on the conditions at sea, check out data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) buoy array. For more information on Hurricane Igor, check out Wunderground.


  1. Sorry to hear Igor is messing with data collection. I hope you figure out a good alternative! Cheers, Marianne

  2. very cool stuff, Steve! I love these posts, and the account of your adventures. My secret career goal was oceanography, so I get to live vicariously through your travels! have fun, learn lots and be safe!