Water, Water Everywhere…

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.

Student sits on floor in DEII wet lab before coming on station. (Credit: Jerry Prezioso, NOAA Fisheries)

Old Dominion University researcher Brittany Widner finds a quiet spot in the crowded Delaware II wet lab just prior to coming on station. (Credit: Jerry Prezioso, NEFSC/NOAA)

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.

rosette visible just below the water's surface

Water bottle sampler just below the ocean's surface. (Credit: Jerry Prezioso, NEFSC/NOAA)

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.

Researchers take water from water bottles on sampler.

NASA and ODU researchers Mike Novak and Cory Staryk drawing water from the Niskin sampling bottles on the rosette. (Credit: Jerry Prezioso, NEFSC/NOAA)

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.

Water sampler retrirved at sunset through the A-frame on the Delaware II.

Water bottle sampler being retrieved at sunset through the A-frame on the aft deck of the Delaware II. (Credit: Jerry Prezioso, NEFSC/NOAA)

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.

Jerry Prezioso
Chief Scientist

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