Saturday, 4 February 2012

Tracing our route...

We are still steaming steadily southwards towards the main study area and should arrive at our first proper station on the North Scotia Ridge tomorrow evening. The weather has taken a bit of a turn for the worse, but didn’t stop us squeezing into our schedule an opportunistic second station this morning. Early results from the test station yesterday suggest that the dye, which had initially been released in the Eastern Pacific in 2008 (see map below), has now moved all the way into the Argentine Basin. The dye has gradually spread out over around 800 m in depth, suggesting rapid mixing in the Scotia Sea region. There’s a plot of some of these very early results below.

We’ve had a request on the blog for a map of our cruise track, to help everyone see where we’re going. For those not in the know, the Scotia Sea is the region immediately to the east of Drake Passage, the stretch of ocean that separates South America from the Antarctic Peninsula. This is well known to mariners as one of the roughest seas on the planet.

Plot of dye concentration from the test station
In total, we plan to occupy four sections, labelled NSR, SE, SR1b and DP on the map. Along these sections we are measuring the dye concentration and making turbulence measurements. We will also be collecting some moorings that were put into the ocean last year (marked with the large black circle) and deploying some surface drifters and Argo floats. We’ll tell you more about this in later blogposts, so stay tuned.

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