The sun peeked out briefly this morning, the first time in eight days! The decks are still humming, a lot of mooring and CTD recoveries are taking place. Scientists are busy collecting water samples for further study in their fields of expertise. Today, I would like to focus on another type of CTD, the Underway Conductivity, Temperature and Depth sensor (see photos). The UCTD is smaller and can only be used in open water because the line can break. Repeated casts are done, like a yo-yo, and the measurements are recorded. The UCTD line can go down to ~300 m (?ft). The advantage of the UCTD is that it may be used when the ship is moving between mooring sites or stations. Like the CTD, the UCTD measures conductivity, temperature and pressure (to determine the depth). Unlike the CTD, the UCTD does not take water samples, and other sensors cannot be added.

Stay tuned for what goes on in the labs!

A question from the Watershed Kindergarteners in Fairbanks, Alaska:

Are there sharks in the Arctic Ocean? That is a very interesting question. Yes, there is one known type of shark in the Arctic, the Greenland Shark, Somniosus microcephalus (small headed sleeper). We won’t see any Greenland Sharks on this expedition because we are not in the right area. They might be the oldest known creature and can live up to 500-years old. The Greenland shark is the largest Arctic fish, and the second largest carnivorous shark after the Great White Shark. Their length is between 3.5 m-7m (11-23 ft), and they weigh between 700-1,022 kg (1,540-2,250 lb). Most of the whales (85%) are partially blind. They hunt in near darkness under the winter ice, and feed on fish including salmon and halibut!  (The Arctic Guide, Sharon Chester) To find the age of a Greenland Shark is similar to finding out how old a tree is. The otolith, calcium carbonate structure in the inner ear, is cut in cross-sections to determine the age.

 Another question from the Watershed Second Graders:

Is anyone else blogging on the ship? Hi Second Graders! There is one other person blogging on the ship, Sandra Tippenhauer. Sandra is from Germany so her blog is in German. She is very busy doing other things as well. She is an oceanographer doing research, and helps with CTD casts (conductivity, temperature and depth information), lets the other team members know when an instrument is coming up on the line, and what kind of instrument it is.

A question from Lunavik at Yangtze University  in China:

The temperature of sea ice in arctic is up now, maybe 40 years later, there is no sea ice flow on the arctic, who must do something to prevent it? Interesting question. The ongoing warming is a result of greenhouse effect when certain gasses make our atmosphere a trap for heat coming from Sun and preventing its escape to space. These greenhouse gases are emitted by humans so we all have certain responsibility to reduce their emission. Using green technologies of our cars and house is one way by which each person can contribute to restriction and eventual elimination of greenhouse gas emission.

Look below to see what we found crawling out of a mooring instrument!

Breakfast: oatmeal, ham and cheese

Lunch: lentil soup, baked Cod Olympia, cauliflower with asparagus sauce, and salad

Tea Time: ham salad, honeydew

Dinner: pork kabobs, Korean rice, pickled carrots and red cabbage, and salad

UCTD crew members Anastasia Tarasenko and Simon Hummel saying hello while monitoring the UCTD. The pulley on the left helps keep the line away from the deck and makes it easier to recover the UCTD.

Look what crawled out of a mooring instrument! Scientist Jens Holemann is holding an octopus before releasing it back to the ocean. (Photo credit: Carina Engicht).

A piece of artwork in the lab.