Download The Science Aboard, a four-page summary of the Around the Americas Science Program in PDF format.
.The latest science posts from the blog
Coral Reefs and Ocean Acidification
Ocean acidification is one of the most significant threats to ocean health. The implications are far-reaching and dire, and are likely more pervasive and far more threatening to marine life than initially envisioned. This article, generously shared with us by Oceanography Magazine, focuses on the threats that ocean acidification poses to coral reefs, a precious and vulnerable marine resource…
Report from the On-board Scientist: Upwelling, Clouds, and the Baja Bash
Today we are anchored in a little bay on the west coast of the Baja peninsula. We are hiding from 30-40 knot north winds and a nasty swell that have been building for the past two days. The little fishing village at the head of the bay, San Juanico, is enveloped in a sand storm. It is a mile away and a dinghy ride in these winds would be far too wet for a visit. So, we will hide here at least for the afternoon. These north winds are called the “Baja Bash,” because any boater foolish enough to try to get to San Diego by this coastal route is bashed unmercifully. Adding to the wind bashing is the surprising cold; sea and air temperatures have dropped by 10°C (18°F) in the past two days and we have said goodbye to tropical nights…
The World Was Our Oyster
The National Science Foundation recently released an audio slideshow which highlights a research group from the Bodega Marine Laboratory studying the effects of ocean acidification on Olympia oysters collected from Tomales Bay, California…
Report from the On-board Scientist: Physical Oceanography from Ocean Watch
In Costa Rica Ocean Watch took on two new instruments: a second thermosalinograph for underway measurements of surface water temperature and salinity, and a profile instrument called a CTD for conductivity-temperature-depth. The CTD has a high-precision pH sensor. The CTD is lowered by a rope so a profile of the upper ocean structure can be obtained. The profile is necessarily shallow, but still reveals interesting near-surface structure including solar heating layers, mixed layers, and a strong thermocline. We will use the profiles to demonstrate many important concepts in physical oceanography…
Report from the On-board Scientist: Aerosols, Volcanoes and Global Dimming
Volcanic ash from Mt. Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland is disrupting air travel. Could it also disrupt the climate? “Ahh,” say the skeptics, “that should solve the global warming issue for awhile.” Any excuse for business as usual. But the fact is that this eruption, and the aerosols they disperse into the atmosphere, are small by comparison to previous events. Any global dimming, and associated temperature decrease, they produce is a short-term adjustment to the continuously increasing global temperature. Aerosols do, in fact, counteract the warming from increased greenhouse gasses, but they are short lived and they can never completely stop the warming process. We review aerosols, global dimming, and nuclear winter. The measurement program on Ocean Watch is discussed…
An overview of the Around the Americas Science Program
In the field of oceanography, research is commonly conducted using large (~250’) research vessels with unlimited power, ample storage space, and flexible lab spaces that can be configured for diverse projects ranging from culturing bacteria and sawing rock samples to recovering 500 m-long moorings.
Using a 64’ sailboat as a research platform presents unique challenges in power management, instrument deployment, and instrument mounting. Because of the nature of sailing and keeping to the itinerary of Around the Americas, planning a focused research mission was not possible for this voyage. However, Ocean Watch can be used to collect something scientists call “datasets of opportunity.” Essentially, instruments are used when opportunities present themselves. The Around the Americas voyage is a unique opportunity for scientists to collect new types of data and to test new methods and equipment.
Ten scientists from six institutions (University of Washington’s Applied Physics Laboratory (UW-APL), the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean (JISAO), RMR Co., MIT Sea Grant, NASA, and Western Washington University) have placed a diverse suite of instruments on board Ocean Watch to collect datasets of opportunity throughout the voyage. Projects span topics ranging from polar science and weather to jellyfish populations and the reflection solar energy. Brief descriptions of these projects can be found in the Science category along with updates from throughout the voyage.