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21 June 2017

Extraordinary storms caused massive Antarctic sea ice loss in 2016

Antarctic sea ice – frozen ocean water that rings the southernmost continent – has grown over the past few decades but declined sharply in late 2016. By March of 2017 – the end of the Southern Hemisphere’s summer – Antarctic sea ice had reached its lowest area since records began in 1978. Puzzled scientists wanted to know why.

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16 March 2017

New Technology Gives Insight to Ocean Color for NASA Satellites

NASA Scientists return to land on Schmidt Ocean Institute’s research vessel Falkor after making important observations of phytoplankton with new technology to support current and future satellite observations.

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14 March 2017

High-Resolution Mapping Reveals the Evolution of Underwater Landscapes in the Johnston Atoll

The mapped region is almost the size of the state of Connecticut and falls within the recently expanded boundaries of a U.S. marine protected area. The area is populated with high-density deep-sea corals and sponges and is of great interest to researchers who view it as a stepping-stone between distinct marine ecosystems in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and the Central and South Pacific.

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13 March 2017

A picture is worth a thousand words

The diversity of shapes and sizes in phytoplankton is overwhelming and beautiful. I was able to see the actual individuals that were in the sea surrounding us all the way across the Pacific. Seeing them first-hand made me realize how interrelated all things are on this planet: they may be invisible, but they are important. We are dependent on them and they on us.

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10 March 2017

What color is the ocean? The sky?

What Color is the ocean? The sky? Most of us would reply immediately—blue! But what shade of blue? I am exploring this topic during the research cruise by capturing the blues of the sky and sea through direct observation using my eyes and three instruments—watercolors, photography and a cyanometer.

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8 March 2017

Phytoplankton sampling strategies

Plankton comes from the greek word planktos, meaning wanderer. It does not define a specific organism, but rather a specific life style. Plankton consist of all organisms dispersed in water that are passively driven by water currents or are subject to passive sinking process. Some of those organisms have an ability to produce oxygen and sugars using sunlight and carbon dioxide, just like terrestrial plants do.

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3 March 2017

The ocean’s colors from space

Earth’s ocean is vast and deep, and we still need to study many things about it. To investigate and quantify biological and chemical processes, for instance, we need to determine the concentration and size of particles (living and non-living organisms) floating in the water, dissolved materials, and the diversity of organisms such as the microscopic photosynthetic phytoplankton.

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2 March 2017

Study improves forecasts of summer Arctic sea ice

Each year, as sea ice starts to melt in the spring following its maximum wintertime extent, scientists still struggle to estimate exactly how much ice they expect will disappear through the melt season. Now, a new NASA forecasting model based on satellite measurements is allowing researchers to make better estimates.

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1 March 2017

Maiden Voyages

Melissa and Noah are working with two different novel instruments in this cruise. The first one is a time-lapse camera developed after repurposing her previous mobile. The phone will dangle at the base of a 150 meter wire, deployed as part of the Wirewalker assembly. For three or four days, the camera snaps pictures of the base of a sediment trap which collects falling particles called marine snow.

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28 February 2017

Going with the flow

Trying to sleep on a trampoline while somebody is jumping on it – this is how it feels during many nights at sea as the ship zig-zags in an imaginary box around our drifting instruments in the North Pacific during winter. This is when biological activity is lowest, but clearly there is no absence of physical forces, such as waves. Clearly.

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27 February 2017

Measuring the pulse of the ocean

At the unholy hour of 0400, I find myself on the aft deck of the world-class research vessel Falkor, bubbling with excitement stemming from a unique combination of four shots of espresso, generally being a morning person, and, most importantly, preparing to test an experimental device that I have put my blood, sweat, and tears into. I take a moment to silently congratulate myself on the superb display of stamina and posture; it appears that my sea legs have finally decided to make an appearance.

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16 February 2017

Letting Go and Looking Forward

As the bright yellow line and blinking strobe slip slowly down into the heaving waves, I feel a familiar sense of unease. Even though I have seventeen successful deployments of free-drifting, neutrally-buoyant sediment traps (or NBSTs) under my belt, it never feels quite normal to see the gray and orange float with its payload of painstakingly-prepared sample collectors sink away from the comparatively safe, solid deck of the ship.

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Video ~ Rough Recovery

Often, the “small victories” of a research cruise are what add up to a successful expedition. This video gives a great look into what many probably assume is an easy task: recovering samples and getting them on board Research Vessel Falkor.

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13 February 2017

Sea to Space Trek: Oceans, The Final Frontier

On board we have holographic microscope. (Yes, holographic!) In contrast to a normal microscope, the recorded holograms can refocus the microscopic image at different distances to the camera.

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3 February 2017

Lack of sea ice and Lower 48 weather

Unless you are now eating muktuk in Savoogna, it’s hard to pinpoint the effects of less sea ice floating on the northern oceans. But some researchers say the northern ocean — now absorbing so much more heat and reflecting so much less — is affecting weather far from the Arctic.

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1 February 2017

Taking Sail on a Creative Voyage from Sea to Space

I will do as they did, utilizing my 21st Century skills as scientific illustrator, designer and photographer, to explore and share the connections between nature, science, and art.

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23 January 2017

Closing Video – Eyes Below the Surface: Mapping Johnston Atoll

“This part of the ocean has never been mapped before… tens of millions of years – stories that have to be put together.” Our final #MappinTheFloor transit/cruise video explains what was accomplished and how members of the team will move forward with the data and discoveries!

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20 January 2017

A Student at Sea ~ Troubleshooting

Even as an early career scientist, I have learned that things seldom go as planned. Unforeseen obstacles, despite the stress, make science refreshingly exciting, interesting, and sometimes result in unexpected (important) discoveries.

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19 January 2017

Antarctic Scientists Honor Obama by Collecting Climate Data

Researchers studying the West Antarctic Peninsula marine ecosystem will recognize President Obama’s efforts to combat global warming by collecting climate data at an oceanographic station they named for the 44th president.

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Drawing You into Ocean Exploration with Multibeam

Check out this animated explanation of ocean exploration during the #MappinTheFloor expedition and Falkor’s multibeam!

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