7th Grade Students
8th Grade Students
About Roger
Mrs. Brice's Cruise Logs, Jan.-Feb. 2005

The island of Moorea

Mrs. Brice boarded the R/V Roger Revelle in the Southern Pacific Ocean south of New Zealand in January 2005. She flew to Tahiti January 4th and spent several days there before meeting the ship and sailing south toward the continent of Antarctica to observe and share the water sampling cruise with her students.

For detailed information about the cruise and the research on board, see the page Dr. Bernadette Sloyan & Dr. James Swift's Cruise.

She left the ship February 25, 2005 in Wellington, New Zealand and returned to her San Marcos Middle School classroom.

You can see exactly where the R/V Revelle is now by clicking here.


The R/V Revelle in Papeete

Chief Scientist, Dr. Sloyan with "plankton"

Mrs. Brice's Daily Logs

January 9, 2005: Log #1
Log #1 Summary: The Revelle left Papeete, Tahiti on January 9, 2005 and will sail into Wellington, New Zealand on February 20, 2005. CTD casts will be done every 30 miles as far south as we can go, or about 70°S. We will go south until we start to see ice. The weather is nice and warm with a calm sea.

There are 32 people in the science party and 22 crew members on board. The chief scientist is Dr. Bernadette Sloyan from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the co-chief scientist is Dr. Jim Swift from Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Tomorrow I will introduce the scientists and start to give a description of each of their jobs.

Dr. Swift at work

The CTD for collecting water samples
January 10, 2005: Log #2
Log #2 Summary: Position: Lat: 16-43.3S, LONG: 150-00.0W
We are traveling south. The first live broadcast is today and I will show my students the main lab and introduce them to some of the groups working on the water analysis. I am learning how to participate in the deployment and sampling of the CTD. I learned to operate the hydraulic boom to deploy and retrieve the CTD and how to record the sampling order of the bottles.

One of the groups working in the main lab are the CFC (chlorofluorocarbons) analysis are from the Rosenthiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. We are repeating a run that was done in the 1990s and will be able to see the differences in concentrations of the various trace metals and dissolved gasses.

In class, my students are learning about the constituents of seawater, concentrations of salts and trace metals, and dissolved gasses. We will be looking at their distribution within different water masses amd their relationship to Thermohaline circulation.

ARGO float being prepared in the main lab
January 11, 2005: Log #3
Log #3 Summary: Position: Lat: 18-31.3S, LONG: 150-00.0W
We are doing about three CTD casts each day at 30 miles apart. The weather is really warm and the sea is calm. We were able to see the Southern Cross from the bow in the clear sky tonight.

We did the first broadcast yesterday from the main lab. I introduced my class to members of the sampling group from UCSB. Chantal Swan, a grad student, introduced herself and explained that her group is taking carbon samples from the water. She spoke about how her interest in oceanography began and what motivated her to pursue a career in science.

I showed the students one of the Argo floats that are being deployed on this cruise. Marine Technician Scott Hiller and Dr. Jergen Thiess were preparing the float. Eighteen countries are pargicipating in the ARGO. I introduced two of the crew members on the Revelle: Ablebodied seaman Heather Galiher and Botswain Jim Pearson. They spoke briefly about their duties on the ship. Future broadcasts will be from other locations on the ship and will introduce more crew members.


Pilot whales feeding on squid

Climate Variability & Predictability
World Climate Research Programme
January 12, 2005: Log #4
Log #4 Summary: Position: Lat: 20-30.0S, LONG: 150-00.0W
Another beautiful, warm day and very calm seas. We did the second broadcast yesterday into my 7th period class and introduced the chief scientist, Bernadette Sloyan, a researcher from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The students had questions for her about weather, our location, salinity, and why salinity is used as an indicator of water mass.

This cruise is part of the CLIVAR program, which is an international project on Climate variability and predictability. Some of the parameters they are looking at in the water samples are: oxygen levels, CFCs (chloroflourocarbons), temperature, carbon, salinity, nutrients, bacteria, trace minerals, alkalinity, tritium, helium, and several others. However, they do not sample for all of these every time. Many of these characteristics are linked to particular water masses and by looking at these indicators, the location and movement of these various water masses can be plotted.

A big iceberg

Another CTD cast for Dr. Measures
January 13, 2005: Log #5
Log #5 Summary: Position: Lat: 22-28.0S, LONG: 150-00.0W
The weather is still warm and beautiful. Last August, I told my students that, according to NOAA and NASA, we were going to have a mild El Niño. From torrential rains in Southern California to devastating wildfires in Australia, it is certainly shaping up to be an El Niño. As we discussed in class, during an El Niño event, the trade winds weaken. Warm, nutrient-poor water occupies the entire tropical Pacific Ocean. Heavy rains, which are tied to the warm water, move into the central Pacific and cause drought in Australia and Indonesia. The water temperatures in the western Pacific have also changed enough that commercial fish are not where they normally would be found.

My students are to consider what it would be like for fishermen, who are counting on catching those fish to earn a living, to discover that they are not in the right place to catch them. Could they have used the predictions of NOAA to help them decide where to fish this year? Do we have a system that is reliable enough to make economic decisions like this? We will see if we find any differences in typical sea surface temperatures while we are taking samples here.

Scott Hiller & Dr. Thiess lower the ARGO
into the water
January 14, 2005: Log #6
Log #6 Summary: Position: Lat: 24-00.0S, LONG: 150-00.0W
We can feel the air cooling slightly. There are many clouds on the distant horizon and we can see the rainstorms.

A group from the Rosenthiel School of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences in Coral Gable, Florida is working on this cruise. Dr. David Cooper and technician Charlene Grall are doing CFC sampling from the CTD rosette. The Rosenthiel School has been involved in the CLIVAR program from the beginning of it.

CLIVAR is investigating the carbon cycle. The oceans contain nearly 50 times as much carbon dioxide as the atmosphere. Small changes in the ocean carbon cycle can have large atmospheric consequences. Climate changes are predicted to occur in the next 50 to 100 years as a result of rapidly rising levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Computer models indicate that the oceans are currently taking up at least a third of the man-made carbon dioxide by dissolving it in the water. One of the things being investigated by some scientists is whether we could increase the phytoplankton production to have them take up more CO2 out of the atmosphere.

R/V Revelle's position in early February
January 15, 2005: Log #7
Log #7 Summary: Position: Lat: 26-00.0S, LONG: 150-00.0W
The weather is very warm and the sea is relatively calm. We are still doing round-the-clock CTD casts. I am helping to lower and raise the CTD.

Another group on this cruise is from the University of California Santa Barbara. A graduate student with the group is Stuart Golberg. I asked Stu to explain what his research on the cruise is about and his other interests.

Stu is from Montgomery, New York with a B.S. degree in Marine Science. His research involves how the ocean serves as a storage mechanism for carbon compounds. He is interested in understanding how marine microbes (bacteria) process certain organic carbon compounds. Understanding bioavailability of the pool of dissolved organic material in the world's oceans will yield further information regarding the exchange of carbon between the atmosphere and the surface ocean.

The weather gets rougher approaching the "Roaring 40s"

January 16, 2005: Log #8
Log #8 Summary: Position: Lat: 27-48.0S, LONG: 150-00.0W
It's Sunday. Today we have our weekly fire and abandon ship drill. The weather is a little cooler and the skies are gray. The water temperature has also dropped by about 10°F.

Tomorrow we will be doing our 3rd live broadcast, this time from the deck just ourside of the main lab so that my students can watch the launching of a CTD rosette. We will be talking to Dr. Jim Swift, co-chief scientist of P16s, about his many past expeditions, his research on this expedition and what he hopes to learn from the data being collected on this cruise.

In class, we decorated styrofaom cups and wigheads to send down on some of the CTD casts. These were chosen as a way of demonstrating the effects of pressure underwater. We will observe what happens when we let the water pressure squeeze the air out of the styrofaom.

Bringing up the CTD

January 17, 2005: Log #9
Log #9 Summary: Position: Lat: 29-30.0S, LONG: 150-00.3W
We received a bad weather warning from the Captain today to secure our rooms and working spaces as rougher conditions are predicted. The crew was out on the deck securing the lab vans and anything else that might move with chains.

We are almost 1/3 done with our CTD casts. The CTD slides on a rail to the side of the ship and then the winch pulls it up and the boom takes it our over the water. It is then lowered to within 10 meters of the sea bottom. The water samples are taken at regular intervals as the CTD is raised. Salinity, temperature, and pressure are all recorded on the computer during the ascent. The CTD has 36 sample bottles and sends out a sonar beep to locate the bottom. The sonar signal is received in the lab and lets the CTD controller keep the rosette from actually hitting the bottom.

Sampling in the staging bay

January 19, 2005: Log #11
Log #11 Summary: Position: Lat. 33-00.0S, LONG: 150-00.0W
We plotted an ocean water mass diagram in class today using data from CTD casts to make a horizontal model of the ocean basin. The horizontal scale of this model is greatly exaggerated in order to see the water masses and their movements form source areas. In reality, the layers of water in a scale model would be very, very thin.

I am now sample cop. That is the person with a clipboard that keeps track of the order of sampling, bottle numbers, types of samples collected, etc. I am also learning how to direct the rosette up and down. A penguin was spotted last night. No one is seasick yet, although there is quite a bit of motion. I am starting my interviews. I will do a broadcast at 9:45 tomorrow from the bridge with Captain Dave. He will have several other crew members there also to answer students' questions.

Captain Dave was reading up on navigating in ice. The first icebergs have been sighted at 48°S, not far from New Zealand. I was also lent a notebook on "Reports on Acts of Robbery and Piracy Against Ships" to help explain to my students that this is still a concern in some areas, and, no, they do not resemble Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean.

Captain Dave takes a picture of an iceberg

January 20, 2005: Log #12
Log #12 Summary: Position: Lat 35-00.0S, LONG: 150-00.0W
The weather is still good, but we are wearing jackets outside most of the time now. We are still doing about 3 CTD casts per day.

Captain Dave of the R/V Revelle has worked for Scripps Institution of Oceanography for 20 years. He studied to become a captain at the California Maritime Academy in Vallejo, California. Athough, when he was young, he wanted to be an oceanographer, Captain Dave says that today he is happy to be the captain of an oceanographic research vessel and to play an important part in world-class research in oceanography. He is always learning new things from the scientists with whom he travels and he participates in many unique and fascinating research projects.

Tomorrow we will be broadcasting from the bridge of the R/V Roger Revelle and my students will tour the bridge with the Captain and be able to ask him questions about his interests and insights into life at sea.

Albatross following the Revelle

January 21, 2005: Log #13
Log #13 Summary: Position: Lat: 36-30.0S, LONG: 150-00.0W
There were some problems with the ARGO floats we deployed earlier. Two of them are not communicating with the satellite, so two more were uncrated and turned on out on the deck to see if they could be detected by the satellite. When we know if they are working, we will deploy them. The ARGOs can communicate for about a year and a half. They provide a new source of data from the top 2km of the ocean. A fleet of robots spend most of their life at depth, but surface regularly to make the temperature and salinity profile measurements. As of January 2005, there are 1,583 floats worldwide, including the ones we deployed.

Today we had several albatrosses flying around the ship. They can weigh up to 22 lbs. Albatrosses live at sea and come to land only until their chicks can fly. Albatrosses can fly thousands of kilometers during one trip to find food. Scientists have found 24 species of albatrosses.

Wild, unpredictable weather can be found between 40° and 60° latitude including gale force winds and huge waves. Wind speeds of 120kph are common, but they can reach more than 250kph. Making conditions even more treacherous is the Antarctic Circumpolar Current that flows against these winds in an easterly direction. This is the largest ocean current in the world, transporting five times more water than the Gulf Stream in the Northern Hemisphere. This massive wall of water acts like a cold insulator, blocking warmer tropical waters from the north and maintaining Antarctica's permanent ice sheet. Antarctic coastal temperatures can drop as low as minus 50°C.


Dr. Bill Landing models an all-weather safety

Water sampling in the staging bay

January 24, 2005: Log #15
Log #15 Summary: Position: Lat: 41-30.0S, LONG: 150-00.0W
Dr. Sloyan provided everyone with a cruise update: There have been minimal problems with the CTD casts with most of them going well. There have been more problems with the ARGO floats with 2 out of 4 not transmitting correctly. Problems with transmission appear to be caused by the floats not positioning themselves quickly and we continue to deploy them, but on a modified deployment schedule.

The weather is becoming increasingly cold as we have entered the "roaring forties" and we are receiving weather warnings of what is to come. We are shrinking the students' styrofoam cups on some of the deepest casts of the cruise - about 5000 meters - and a plankton tow turned up some good specimens I can send pictures of to my students.

Map showing the concurrent cruises of the
R/V Revelle & R/V Ron Brown

January 25, 2005: Log #16
Log #16 Summary: Position: Lat: 43-15.3S, LONG: 150-00.0W
Tuesday and still fairly calm, but we received another weather warning from the Captain, "Everyone has been doing a good job keeping everything secure, please continue to be consciencious about securing your gear. Be careful going through the heavy doors, especially when carrying your samples."

Bringing up the CTD aboard the
R/V Ron Brown
January 26, 2005: Log #17
Log #17 Summary: Position: Lat: 45-00.0S, LONG: 150-00.0W
The weather is a little rough today and everyone is bundled up in warmer clothes. Dr. Chris Sabine (NOAA/PMEL) received a message from the R/V Ron Brown today. It is currently in the Atlantic performing the opposite leg of this research cruise. Since they started in the south and are heading north, they already have some great pictures of icebergs.

Satellite view of the ice shelf

January 27, 2005: Log #18
Log #18 Summary: Position: Lat: 46-30.0S, LONG: 150-00.0W
Today we are experiencing 15 ft. swells. Yesterday we did two broadcasts into the classroom with Captain Dave and the students were able to watch a CTD retrieval from the big seas. Lots of wildlife sighted in the form of albatross and pilot whales. We had to view them from the bridge, though, because of the rough seas, no one is allowed on deck without safety vests and a VERY good reason to be there.

We are close to the ice shelf and Captain Dave gave me some great iceberg websites to view and track icebergs. My students learned that the smallest icebergs are called "Growlers" and the next largest are called "Bergy Bits".

Chief engineer Paul and his BBQ

January 29 & 30, 2005: Log #20
Log #20 Summary: Position: Lat: 49-30.0S, LONG: 150-00.0W
(Saturday) More CTD casts in rough weather. One of the boards near the staging bay was split in two by a wave. These boards are about 3 inches thick! We are now stopping the ship for a cast to help reduce the movement.

(Sunday) Position: Lat: 50-35.2S, LONG: 150-00.0W
Today is highlighted by the weekly fire drill and and BBQ steak for dinner. even though the grill had to be tied down in the 20 ft. swells!

We received the weekly report from Dr. Sloyan: "Once again, a successful week of CTD casts with a few difficulties after reaching 46° S with sustained winds and high swells. The main deck is off limits between stations as large waves have crashed over the rail and vans on the fantail. A number of stations had to be abandoned due to poor weather conditions but, the ARGO floats that previously had limited or no satellite transmission are now performing normally. We expect to cross the Sub-antarctic Front and Antarctic Polar Front within the next few days.

Dissolved oxygen from the Pacific Ocean

January 31, 2005: Log #21
Log #21 Summary: Position: Lat: 52-27.4S, LONG: 150-00.0W
We have entered the "Furious Fifties". Water sampling continues. The water samplers are looking for Freon, Helium, O2, CO2, Nutrients, Salts and various other things, depending on the cast.

Some factoids on dissolved gases in seawater: Gases are exchanged between the atmosphere and the ocean at the ocean surface. The surface tension is broken and gas exchange occurs due to wave action. Sea ice is a barrier to gas transfer at the ocean surface. When water is saturated with a gas, the rate the gas dissolves equals the rate in which it escapes into the atmosphere. Cold water holds more saturated gas than warm water.

Dr. Swift and Dr. Theiss at the winch control directing the CTD cast from the computer lab

February 01, 2005: Log #22
Log #22 Summary: Position: Lat: 54-00.3S LONG: 150-00.0W
The weather has calmed a little and the sea surface temperature has dropped several degrees since yesterday.

While on the cruise, we have an internal website where the daily and total cruise data are posted, as well as maps of the casts. In the photo at the left, Dr. Swift and Dr. Theiss are discussing the water column profile being generated by the CTD as it goes down. They are looking at pressure, salinity, and temperature, as well as monitoring the depth.

In our braodcast to the class, Dr. Measures discussed his study of sampling for trace metals aluminum and iron, and why they are important in the ocean. These metals in the ocean come primarily from dust blown off of the continents.

Bringing in the CTD. The staging bay is
visible at the right

February 02, 2005: Log #23
Log #23 Summary: Position: Lat: 54-00.0S, LONG: 150-00.0W
Dr. Swift has prepared a description of some of the data that was collected on the first cruise and the opposite one in the Atlantic. We are now repeating that Pacific cruise to compare data and to look at possible changes. Data from the Atlantic has been included because my students have done a density profile of the Atlantic that looks similar to these diagrams. We are looking at the water masses using density utilizing temperature and salinity.

I want my students to compare the water mass diagram in the Atlantic with the Pacific. There are big differences and I want them to think about some reasons for these differences. We will discuss the possible reasons for these differences in class.

Engine room of the Revelle


February 03, 2005: Log #24
Log #24 Summary: Position: Lat: 58-00.0S, LONG: 150-00.0W
We are still anxiously waiting to see an iceberg. Chief Engineer Paul Mauricio participated in a live broadcast to the classroom. He explained the equipment in the engine room as well as some of the seafaring lore associated with crossing the equator.

Did you ever wonder how we can travel at night without running into an iceberg? Yes, radar can detect the larger icebergs, but not the smaller ones. During the day, crew members watch for icebergs with binoculars and during the night, they watch with night-vision binoculars.

Deckhand Michelle and iceberg

February 04, 2005: Log #25
Log #25 Summary: Position: Lat: 60-00.0S, LONG: 150-00.0W
Icebergs are sighted and, oh boy, are they BIG. It is also getting much colder.

Some of the sampling data that was collected on the last cruise and that we are also looking at on this cruise are: dissolved oxygen and nutrients necessary for phytoplankton to thrive.

Penguin off the stern!

February 05, 2005: Log #26
Log #26 Summary: Position: Lat: 61-03.0S, LONG: 149-55.8W
There was a "man overboard" drill today and it snowed lightly on and off all day. The seas are calmer, so sampling was a bit easier. Since there was some sunlight, an optics cast was done to measure the amount of light available for plankton to photosynthesize.

On Tuesday we will cross the Antarctic Circle at 66.5°S and there will be a ceremony, as dictated by ancient seafaring lore, for those accomplishing this for the first time.

Night-vision equipment in use on deck to
watch for icebergs


February 07, 2005: Log #27
Log #27 Summary: Position: Lat: 65-05.2S, LONG: 149-59.8W
We received the Chief Scientist's report: The weather has calmed so that Trace Metal and noon optics casts could be resumed. The ship is currently at Station 100-65°S 150°W.

This week marked the crossing of the Subantarctic Front, Polar Front and Southern Antarctic Circumpolar Current Front. Dramatic property changes were observed in the seawater currents and water masses during the past week. Deployment of the 12 ARGO floats for NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) was completed and all were functioning normally. Icebergs and whales are commonly sighted. A few penguins have also been seen.

Justine Afghan sampling CO2

February 09, 2005: Log #29
Log #29 Summary:
The last live broadcast into the classroom was conducted with Dr. Measures and Dr. Sabine.

An interview was conducted with Justine Afghan, a lab technician at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. She discussed her educational background, her job duties at SIO and the details of how she has been participating in the water sampling on this particular cruise.