Wind and Waves

The days of sunny skies, gorgeous sunsets, scenic sea ice, and no sea or
swell are long gone and only a distant memory. Currently, science
operations have ceased because the winds are 35-45 knots (40-50 mph) with waves and swell on the order of 12-16 feet.

When the weather gets this bad, some of the scientists retreat to the Foosball table
in the helo hanger for consolation.

There are still a few operations that we can do under heavy seas. Almy is
taking a rest on the kasten corer prior to deployment. We use about 900
pounds of lead on the top of this corer to push it into the seabed, such
that it returns with a core that is 3-8 feet long. The sediments at the
bottom of these cores are thousands of years old, and they tell us what
oceanographic conditions were like in these frigid waters over centuries to

To collect bottom-dwelling animals we use either a Blake Trawl (shown here
with Almy riding the sled) or an Otter Trawl.

The animals come up, usually in a ball of mud, which needs to be rinsed down, and
then the various species of animals are sorted into buckets prior to dissection.

We are trying to understand the feeding strategies of these creatures living at the
bottom of the ocean in a pretty hostile environment. For example, do some
of the animals hibernate during the winter, when there is little or no
fresh plankton falling from the surface ocean (because of the low light and
ice conditions)? The bottom dwelling animals feed year-round at our
northern stations, but we don't know, what is happening at the southern
stations -- YET!.

We are hoping for better weather so that we can collect megacores. Due to
the need for undisturbed sediment, the ship needs to be pretty stable. We
are in between fronts, and the winds (we hope) should start calming. If
all goes well, we will get our window and complete station B.


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