Saturday, April 25, 2015

Clivarians from Scientifico arrive at the Equator

And just like that - it's Spring. We have moved from Fall in the Southern Hemisphere to Spring in the Northern Hemisphere, skipping winter entirely.  Yesterday we, the Clivarians of P16 N arrived at the Equator.  Bruce Cowden is our chief bosen and he is a very creative person.  He began calling us the "Clivarians from the island Scientifico" as we are scientists working on a CLIVAR - related project.  So be it.  It grew from there. He had a vision of what the Clivarians were like and that vision emerged on the page through a combination of ink and water colors, as cartoons of each the Clivarians (see pics below).

The "Clivarians from Scientifico" through the eyes of Bruce Cowden
Recovery on deck of the CTD at our Equator station!

Yesterday, the Clivarians sampled right at 0 degrees, thanks to the skillful positioning of the crew, despite the strong equatorial currents raging beneath us. Check out the snapshot of the ship's ADCP from our station on the equator.  The strong surface current dominates the upper 200 meters of the water column.  Below that, the currents reverse direction and continue to flow for another 150 meters or so.  To put the numbers from that figure in perspective, the Gulf Stream flows at ~2 m/s - so these equatorial currents are right up there!
ADCP surface currents from the equator station courtesy of the Ron Brown.

Our CTD watchstanders, Annie Foppert and Alex Sanchez Franks, deployed an Argo float at this station, as well.  It emailed us that it is working too! The Argo program is a system of free-floating drifters that collect data across the world's oceans and remotely transfer the data back to shore.

Mark, Alex, and Annie deploying our Equatorial Argo float. 

There were many polywogs  or "wogs" on board (the name for someone who has yet to cross the equator), so there was much excitement about our equatorial crossing.  We took in the sights and marveled at the sea and even took a group photo. We couldn't have done what we have so far without the help of the crew.  So crew, you are Clivarians now - and thanks!

Clivarians at the equator.  Photo courtesy of Avery Edson.

 When asked about how it felt to be on the equator, the chief scientist, Jessica Cross, responded "51 stations down, 60 more to go."  Right you are, Jessica, right you are. Onward!

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