Weathering a Bit of a Blow

Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Bob Morris Helps Bring in the CTD
SSSG Casey  Working on the CTD

Shipboard Scientific Support Group member, Casy Canfield, helps with the CTD.

Today Jason was out of the water because of a bit of a blow with 20-25 knot winds, just at the working limit of safe operations for recovery of the vehicle. The day was spent by some participants "merging" with their bunks, while others caught up on processing data or preparing for the next dive. Many of the students put the time to good use by refining their project objectives. We also conducted CTD operations and began an EM300 bathymetric survey of areas south and east of Axial Seamount that had not been previously mapped using this sonar.

Weather is a continual presence out here, guiding all operations and forward-looking dive planning efforts. In the NE Pacific, weather is a mighty force, with storms that can generate waves many tens of feet high even in the summer. Having worked in this area for many years, we chose the months of July and August for operations because, historically, these are the best "weather windows" for operations. Yet, it is not unusual for the ship to remain "hove to" for a couple days during a 30-day operation. A significant benefit of having the high-power and bandwidth cabled observatory in the NE Pacific will be that seafloor and water-column sensors will continue to transmit data in real time to shore during weather days when operations from ships would be impossible. We look forward to having this cabled observatory presence and to learning more about the impact of storms on the biological, chemical, and geological processes that operate in this area.