A group of 17 scientists and four technicians aboard the RRS James Cook departed from Florida, U.S.A the 19 of January to survey over 4,000 miles of ocean in a research expedition through the Global Ocean Ship-Based Hydrographic Investigations Program [GO-SHIP]. The goal is to document the physical and chemical changes occurring in the ocean.
GO-SHIP is a program that brings together scientists who are interested in physical oceanography, the carbon cycle, marine biogeochemistry and ecosystems to develop a global network of sustained hydrographic sections as part of an ocean and climate observing system.
The project is led by the National Oceanography Center [NOC], is part of the Climate Linked Atlantic Sector Science and Research Programme and is funded by the Natural Environmental Research Council. It consists of individuals of eight different nationalities and ten different institutions are participating. In just 42 days, the group hopes to complete a full hydrographic section in the North Atlantic Ocean by visiting 145 stations.
At each station, the team is taking samples to look at aspects of the water such as the salinity (how much salt is present), temperature of the water, fluorescence, dissolved oxygen, dissolved inorganic and organic materials, dissolved inorganic and organic carbon, methane carbon isotopes and methane.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, hydrography is the science that studies the physical features of the Earth surface and its coastal areas. Scientists involved in hydrography study bodies of water to see what the floor of the ocean (or other bodies of water, such as ponds and lakes) looks like.
“For me, it was fascinating seeing actual temperature and salinity profiles taken from the CTD sensors as it descended the water column,” Maria De La Fuente Ruiz, an ocean modeller aboard the RRS James Cook, wrote in the research expedition’s blog. “As a modeller, some smooth analytical function is used to mimic these profiles. So, seeing in-situ profiles develop was a really cool experience.”
For more information about the research project, please visit projects.noc.ac.uk.