MaudNESS Cruise: Eastern Weddell Sea, Winter 2005


What is MaudNESS?
Meet the ESR Participants
Where's Gerhard?
Gerhard's Journal: July 21,2005 - September 18, 2005


What is MaudNESS?

MaudNESS is the Maud Rise Nonlinear Equation of State Study. The data that was collected on the MaudNESS cruise will help us find out the conditions that cause deep mixing events in the Southern Ocean in winter. This mixing is one of the processes which drive the "Global Ocean Conveyor Belt", the mechanism by which warm water moves towards the poles, cools and becomes denser, then sinks and moves back towards the equator. This large-scale ocean circulation is a key factor in setting the climate around the world. A large change in the behavior of the conveyor belt would be reflected in significant changes in the weather experienced throughout the world.

The study was carried out during a 56-day cruise on the icebreaker Nathaniel B. Palmer. The N. B. Palmer left Punta Arenas, Chile, in late July (Southern Hemisphere winter), and traveled to Maud Rise, a broad seamount in the eastern Weddell Sea (see the maps, below). Maud Rise is a region which we know, from previous experience and satellite images of ice concentration, frequently experiences deep mixing events in winter. Going into the cruise, we expected the weather to be frequently windy: in a cruise to the same area in 1994 the wind speed frequently exceeded 40 knots and occasionally reached hurricane speed (64 knots). We were expecting an exciting cruise.

MaudNESS is funded by the National Science Foundation, Office of Polar Programs.

ESR Cruise Participants

Laurie Padman: Laurie is a Senior Research Scientist at Earth and Space Research, and has specialized in high-latitude physical oceanography since 1986. He is the ESR Principal Investigator on the MaudNESS cruise, taking measurements of ocean temperature, salinity, turbulence, and velocity, as well as running models of the distribution of tidal currents around Maud Rise.

For more information, go to Laurie's staff page at ESR.
Robin Muench: Robin is a Senior Research Scientist at Earth and Space Research, and has been involved in high-latitude physical oceanography since 1986. He is a Co-Principal Investigator on the MaudNESS cruise, taking measurements of ocean temperature, salinity, turbulence, and velocity.

For more information, go to Robin's staff page at ESR.


Kristin Richter: Kristin is a graduate student in Physical Oceanography at the Geophysical Institute in the University of Bergen. Her masters thesis is about internal waves and mixing at high latitudes. After studying physics in Potsdam, Germany, she spent one year at Svalbard studying Arctic geophysics. While there she took part in various field programs, including two scientific cruises along the west coast of Spitsbergen and to the Fram Strait.

Gerhard Behrens: Gerhard is a teacher at Adams Elementary School in Corvallis Oregon. He has taught 2nd, 3rd, and 6th grades during the past 17 years, and will be teaching 5th grade in 2005/06 after returning from the MaudNESS cruise. Gerhard spent a month aboard the USCG Healy near the "other" pole with a team of American and Canadian scientists in the Nares Straits on the west coast of Greenland. Check out this ongoing research at the Canadian Archipelago Throughflow Study webpage.

Mr. Behrens' participation in the MaudNESS cruise is supported by NSF, Office of Polar Programs.

Meet the Other Members of the Science Crew




Gerhard's Journal

September 18, 2005: Thank You
It's the end. And, yet, there is still so much to explain about being on a cruise like this: the fascinating vocabulary used in the science labs; the engine room and the engineering of the ship; the importance of understanding the Southern Ocean and its influences on global ocean circulation... read more...
September 17, 2005: Overview
At the end of a term and the end of the school year, every teacher completes report cards for her/his students. It seems natural to look back on the 8+ weeks at sea and do the same for this cruise. Like any human endeavor, this experiment has its successes and disappointments. read more...
September 14, 2005
Eight weeks ago, we moved on to the ship and it became home. Being a long way from home, and especially being away from home for a long time, little things make a big difference toward feeling comfortable. Because food is such a basic need, meals become one of those little things. read more...
  September 13, 2005
Backgrounds of Science Party: ...
What does it take to be part of an Antarctic oceanographic research cruise? I asked the NSF grantees and RPSC staff (30 people in total) to describe their academic histories and professional backgrounds. read more...
September 12, 2005
To all on the NBP,
Want to try your luck at driving the ship in the ice? Conditions permitting, Rachelle will work with anyone that's interested in having a little fun at the wheel. We'll do it as long as there's good ice and we're on schedule so if you're interested, head to the bridge any time between 1300 & 1500 after the end of science and ask to have a go. read more...
September 11, 2005
The Marine Projects Coordinator, Raytheon Polar Services Company, is the person behind everything that happens on a project like this, much like a General Contractor oversees all aspects of a home construction. read more...
September 9, 2005
Not everything that happens on the ship is heavy duty science. In previous logs (Aug. 1, 6, 20) you can read about the diversions in which people indulge to engage their minds in a different way, to keep their bodies fit, and to lift their spirits. read more...
September 7, 2005
I suppose if you watch anyone at their job, teacher, lawyer, health professional, parent, craftsman, artist, you'll notice a wide array of skills and traits. After watching scientists at their job and talking to them about their careers over the past 7 weeks, I am in awe of the breadth of their abilities. read more...
September 6, 2005
School starts today in many districts, or has started recently. I have the great fortune to participate in this oceanography cruise. The only downside to being here is that I miss my home, family and the exciting beginning of school. My substitute for the next two weeks, Pam Wilson, has taught 5th Grade for 16 years, so the students may be in better hands than if I were there! read more...
September 5, 2005
On August 1st, 6th, and 20th, I wrote about the diversions we pursue in our ship life and the little things that make ship life spectacular and enjoyable. Today's thoughts describe the other side of ship life: the things that, through no one's fault, make us think of our own beds, our homes, our families, and our normal routines. read more...
September 4, 2005
The heavy duty science part of our cruise is coming to an end. Hard to believe. read more...
September 2, 2005
With the sophistication of the oceanographic instruments, it's tempting to imagine that these scientists simply toss their devices overboard and happily watch the data stream in to their perfectly formatted computers. Unfortunately, the more sophisticated the device, the more there is to go wrong and the more outside events can affect your experiments. There are lots of ways to have "a bad science day." read more...
September 1, 2005
If you read the daily log for August 30, you already know a little about icebergs and that we did some measurements upstream and downstream of MaudBerg (as we lovingly call it now). Here is more information for you to ponder. read more...
August 31, 2005
Sometimes it's convenient to start with a quote from the chief, chief scientist Miles McPhee: "...there is a sizable iceberg about 9.5 miles SW on the way and Jamie has suggested we change to MaudBERG for a short time. read more...
August 30, 2005
It's hard to think of a 6,500 ton ship and 4 major installations of oceanographic equipment as "nimble," to quote Tim Stanton, but that's exactly what we're attempting. read more...
August 29, 2005
The Senior Analyst, Kathleen Gavahan, has a special role among the Information Technology group. She runs the MultiBeam, a sonar system that maps the ocean floor. Based on the data she can collect, Kathleen produces art gallery quality maps of the area of study's bathymetry. read more...
August 28, 2005
This is day two for acknowledging the Raytheon Technicians who, like a great neighbor, know when and how to lend a hand. Yesterday's log featured the MT and MST positions, the Raytheon techs that provide the various marine services from getting instruments in the water to running the lab. Today's heroes are the teams who work with electrons, which mean they, too, are involved in just about everything the science crew does. read more...
August 27, 2005
My neighbor, Al Hayden, was the kind of guy you wanted living close by. Sadly, he's deceased, but for many years, Al always seemed to know when I needed help, or something had broken around my house. He just couldn't stand to see me struggle with a task, or call an expensive repair person. He would pull out the right tool, or have the right skill to help me get through a problem. I hope you have an Al in your life. On this cruise we've got the Raytheon techs. read more...
August 26, 2005
Models. Some of you will think of Sports Illustrated or a particular catalog. Others might think of small pieces of easily lost plastic, held together by smelly glue, which hopefully resembles an airplane or automobile. Mention models, or a modeler, on this cruise and you think first of Ramsey Harcourt, Brian Powell, and Laura de Steur. read more...
August 24, 2005
Here's another quote from the chief scientist, Miles McPhee, lifted from his weekly report to the National Science Foundation. "As we anticipated, the Phase 3 operations are difficult. [see yesterday's log] Each instrument system must be watched continuously for entanglement with sea ice drifting by the starboard and stern, as well as with other instruments. read more...
August 23, 2005
Phase Three of MaudNESS. We left Punta Arenas, Chile on July 21. During the first eleven days we steamed east and south toward the underwater seamount called Maud Rise in the Weddell Sea. When you pull out an atlas, look for 65o South latitude and 0o longitude. Lots of preparations took place during that time. read more...
August 22, 2005
A log entry of August 2nd or 3rd describes the weather balloons that Peter Guest of the Naval Postgraduate School sends up daily at 11 am and 11 pm. He is the atmosphere guy. Yesterday's log describes the weather mast he had on the ice. The everyday kite, a là Ben Franklin, is today's topic. read more...
August 21, 2005
A log entry of August 2nd or 3rd describes the weather balloons that Peter Guest of the Naval Postgraduate School sends up daily at 11 am and 11 pm. He is the atmosphere guy. While everyone else dunks devices into the water and analyzes water structure, he records what's happening above the ice surface. read more...
August 20, 2005
Ship Life. It's home for us. It's our workplace. It's where we find recreation and rest. We're about four weeks out of Punta Arenas, Chile; we're about four weeks away from returning to Punta Arenas. Here are some insights into ship life. read more...
August 19, 2005
Polar Oceanography, High Latitude Science, Arctic or Antarctic Research...all these titles include at least one assumption about the work: it's going to be cold. read more...
August 18, 2005
As an Elementary School teacher, the playground is an important place for kids and it is a school-wide management issue. In a way, the ice became the investigators playground. read more...
August 17, 2005
The mixed layer floats and the ice buoys strike me as tools from the arsenal of James Bond (see 8/8 and 8/9). The CTD appears to be the workhorse, pumping out mountains of data on temperature and salinity during its 80+ casts (see 8/3 and 8/4). This next set of devices is a mixture of both. read more...
August 16, 2005
Names mean a lot, whether they are for people or things. I'm named after my father. The Grand Canyon describes itself well. In oceanography, the CTD earns its name because it records conductivity, temperature, and depth. What would you call a slender, sleek, black device with shiny, stainless steel probes that look like fangs? read more...
August 15, 2005
It's not the kind of excitement you hope for. When a Zodiac boat gets placed out on the ice as a safety precaution, it's there for the worst case scenario. read more...
August 14, 2005
Ice Operation Logistics. We found solid ice, or maybe it found us. The scientific playground has been humming since late Friday afternoon. read more...
August 12, 2005
There’s no such thing as a sure thing. Well, science at sea isn’t a sure thing. read more...
August 11, 2005
We are no longer a ship moving through countless miles of sea ice, taking data and dropping instruments into the water as we go. read more...
August 9, 2005
James Bond Oceanography, Part II: The Autonomous Ocean Flux Ice Buoys read more...
August 8, 2005
James Bond Oceanography, Part I: The Lagrangian Float or Mixed Layer Float read more...
August 6, 2005
Science. There is always science. We forge on with CTD casts and scientists monkey around with their tools: unclogging an observation hole in the deck; gingerly moving a computer controlled winch from the stern to the bow; deploying another $40,000 float; and fiddling, ever fiddling, with data and ocean models. read more...
August 4, 2005
CTD Casts on Maud Rise continue. We have completed 22 of 66 casts, over 486 miles of ocean. These happen 24 hours a day, almost as quickly as it takes to get from one location to the next. read more...
August 3, 2005
CTD Casts. It's what we steamed towards for 11 days. Although it's not the only science work going on, it is the focus for nearly 8 days of ship operations. What the heck are they? read more...
August 2, 2005
How do you check the weather? Temperature? How the wind is blowing? Maybe the humidity (especially if you live in the Midwest or East Coast)? read more...
  August 1, 2005
Another 24 hours or so remains before we begin the work of collecting data from the ocean under the sea ice, and collecting water samples. Despite the apparent lack of "work" during this last part of the transit, an amazing amount of things still happen... read more...
July 31, 2005
As we steam further south, below 56 degrees South latitude, the ship no longer pitches and rolls with the swells of the ocean. Instead, we rock and jolt with the crunching and smashing of sea ice. read more...
  July 30, 2005
There are 30 members of the scientific party aboard 0the ship: "grantees," who have received funding from the National Science Foundation for research, and Raytheon Polar Services Company employees who offer professional expertise to help the grantees on the Palmer. read more...
July 29, 2005
More of the same... sleep, eat, work on computer programs, eat again, more programming, read more...
  July 28, 2005
We are still in transit to our destination in the Weddell Sea and starting our second week at sea. read more...
July 27, 2005
This must be why it's called a "cruise". For about 7 days and nights, we have been cruising at about 10 knots, making our way east from Punta Arenas, Chile to the edge of the sea ice in the Weddell Sea. read more...
  July 26, 2005
What's everyone doing down here? After almost a week surrounded by scientists
and technicians in the science party, the picture is getting clearer. read more...
  July 25, 2005
Here are a few questions you never hear: "What's the capital of Antarctica?" or
"Name some countries that are in the continent of Antarctica?"
You never hear those because no nation owns Antarctica, and you don't need a
passport to enter Antarctica. read more...
  July 24, 2005
North Pole, South Pole, penguins, polar bears, ice, snow...it's all about the same, right? The short answer is no. Please keep reading to find out how different these places are. read more...
  July 23, 2005
Quickly, I lose track of what day and month it is since there are none of the usual markers in our lives. Although it is Saturday in July, it doesn't feel like it because read more...
  July 22, 2005
Safety is the most important personal and community skill on the ship. OK, there are expert oceanographers, talented programmers, knowledgeable technicians, and a reliable crew. read more...
July 21, 2005
BON VOYAGE....VIA CON DIOS...AWAY WE GO We left the Punta Arenas, Chile dock at 14:00, which is 2:00pm in international, or military time. The cruise was scheduled to leave yesterday, but a crew member was recovering from a serious sickness read more...

Where's Gerhard?

Back In Corvallis

Last Weather Report, Sept. 17, 2005 at 1200 hrs:   Temperature: + 8.0 oC         Wind Speed: 20-25 KN
Last Daily Situation Report, Sept. 17: We spent our last full day at sea transiting with good speed toward the Bahia Posession pilot station and Punta Arenas beyond. We are scheduled to pick up the pilot in a few hours and anticipate an on-time arrival at Prat Pier. This will serve as the last daily sitrep of cruise NBP05-06.




Map Position updated for Sept. 17, 2005.