On Thursday, June 2, 2011 the Delaware II embarked on a three-week cruise to survey the waters of the northeast continental shelf of the US. This is the sixth collaborative cruise between NOAA, NASA and Old Dominion University as part of the Climate Variability on the East Coast (CliVEC) program; our primary missions are to monitor shelf hydrography, plankton distribution and abundance, and to ground-truth satellite imagery of surface water temperature and color, as well as primary production and carbon distribution.
This cruise also includes a researcher from the Graduate School of Oceanography at URI who is studying the distribution of nitrogen and carbon stable isotope ratios along the shelf-wide plumes that emanate from major estuaries along our northeast coast, from Narragansett Bay down to the Chesapeake Bay. An undergraduate student from Acadia University in Nova Scotia, on her very first deep-sea cruise, is volunteering her time to assist all of us with our data and sample collection.
We have a very full ship! Every flat surface is covered with instruments and filtering gear. When we come on station it seems like rush hour on a subway as people bustle around to get their gear ready and collect their water and plankton samples.
After a bumpy start the winds and seas have gradually come down to an almost glassy calm today while the air and sea temperatures have gone up as we’ve worked our way south to Cape Hatteras. Now, on Monday evening (June 6) , we are starting to work our way back north, and have just completed our forty-third station, a sunset water bottle cast.
The forecast looks good for the remainder of this week, and I’m optimistic that we’ll complete this survey, which is scheduled to return to Woods Hole on June 22nd.