Category Archives: Main Experiment

A tale of two drifters

We have recovered all of our (SIO, Feddersen) instruments, and the fun of sorting out and QCing the data has begun, however, I thought I’d share a sweet tale of loss and love. We were fortunate to only leave 2 instruments at Pt Sal, drifter 23 and 24, although I do believe their fate may have always been intertwined. Their tale begins during experiment preparation during final drifter assembly, when drifters were being labeled with a sharpie: 1… 27 – then 23 and 24 were shipped to Pt Sal, right next to each other in a large box. During IOP-1, both 23 and 24 rose to the occasion and provided excellent data from which internal waves, fronts, and surface waves were observed. However, on the final day of IOP-1, Sept. 17, drifter 23 (red in the figure) decided he/she wasn’t long for this world and sacrificed itself (for science, I presume) on the rocks, either that or that the point (0,0) in Pt Sal (x,y) is some sort of worm hole? (actually, we checked some mooring lines, which were kelp free! delaying recovery of 23). Regardless, we had finally lost a drifter, much to everyones dismay (delight?).

Now drifter 24 was sad, however, he/she performed admirably throughout IOP-2 collecting much data. On the final day of IOP-2 (Oct. 14), about 1 month after losing drifter 23, 24 decided enough was enough and attempted to reunite with 23. Upon release at 8:05, 24 went directly shoreward (green in figure), hitting the surfzone at 12:39. Realizing that 23 was 1 km to the south, 24 stumbled down the beach for 4 hours, getting about 200 m from 23’s final resting place. At this point, after stumbling down the beach for 4 hours (a difficult task for an old drifter from the 80s), 24 needed a rest. After a long 24 hour nap, drifter 24 made tje final push south toward 23, coming to rest about 100 m from his partner in science. Although we mourn the loss of these two drifters, we are happy they are once again together enjoying their retirement on a beautiful coastline. (in the figure, contours are at 2.5 m intervals, and the 20 m contour is thick)


An Oceano trifecta in X-band vision

The IOP1 asset visualization now includes 3 ships, 3 boats, 2 sets of drifters and x-band radar images! Thanks to Falk Feddersen for hosting the full video of IOP1!

On 15 September the UNOLS vessel trifecta encountered mingling fronts and internal wave packets headed onshore during Oceano surveys. Two-hours of near-surface temperature data trail each vessel. The tightly-packed moorings, soon to be recovered, were in the middle of it all.  Good luck to the mooring recovery teams!

Sun sets on turnaround cruise

The R/V Oceanus offloaded personnel early this morning in Monterey Bay, bringing to a close the ship’s role in the second intensive operating period (IOP). The Oceanus weathered some sizable swells this past week and is currently steaming up to Newport with hopes of dodging another incoming storm in the north. This research vessel never sleeps.

To commemorate the hustle and bustle we have seen aboard these last twelve days, here is a science GIF (the best type of GIF, if you ask me!) from October 6th.

Mooring redeployment at dusk on October 6th aboard the R/V Oceanus

This sequence is from redeploying our second mooring (MS50-T). You can see us standing in a line on the deck of the ship, holding instruments in hand as we wait for the top float to be released overboard.

I have to admit that the feeling of putting those first few moorings back in the water– after an exciting and frenzied 24 hours between recovery and redeployment– was that of pride and relief: pride for how much we had accomplished in a short amount of time, and relief that the instruments were going back into the ocean where they belonged. As engineer Pavan Vutukur said when he saw the mooring returned to the water with numerous of his lab’s GusT instruments attached:

“Now that they’re going back? I feel so much better.”

We look forward to seeing those instruments again at the end of October. But for now, the sun has set on the second IOP aboard the Oceanus.

— Jenessa Duncombe and the R/V Oceanus team

The Kalipi kicks off another week on the water

The Kalipi is back in action starting today. The OSU group recovered the 10-meter temperature string mooring and the ADCP lander this morning. The seas were glassy calm and the instruments were all returned ondeck safely. The recovery could not have gone better. As Jim Lerzcak said when we brought the lander onboard: “There’s nothing like the warm fuzzy feeling when an ADCP comes back pinging.”

The five of us will be running CTD and ADCP surveys for the rest of the week from the Kalipi. Look for us out there, Oceanus, Sounder, and Sally Ann!

— Jenessa Duncombe and the Kalipi team

Jim Lerczak showing excellent

cotter-pin-removal form

Hoisting a lander onboard:

85% winch and 15% muscle

All smiles after a successful recovery

(from left to right: Jack McSweeney,

Dean Henze, Taylor Eaton,

Jim Lerczak)

Ocean color at NASA

NASA has put Pt. Sal at the center of their ocean-color reporting (a coincidence?). Thanks to Kate Adams for pointing out the current regional phytoplankton bloom: It’s on the front page of ocean color today:

“On October 4, 2017 the Aqua/MODIS sensor saw some oceanic fall color that is less often noticed than the corresponding land-based colors of deciduous forests. The offshore colors in the above view of western North America are from sunlight reflected by water and phytoplankton.”

scripps oceanography uc san diego