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Journals 2003/2004

Sarah Quan
Narragansett High School, Narragansett, RI

"Study of the exchange of waters between the Northeast Atlantic and the Norwegian Sea"
R/V Johan Hjort, Nordic Seas
July 10 - 30, 2003 m

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July 18, 2003
Latitude: 62 42.554 N
Longitude: 14 14.644 W

0:25 Today's weather was perfectly clear so I thought it would be a good night to stay up and watch for "the green flash" which is a quick flash of green light that flashes the instant when the sun drops below the horizon. Apparently it is easiest to see it at sea. You need a large flat horizon and clear conditions. So I waited and waited and waited. Sunset at this latitude lasts for hours and isn't below the horizon until after midnight. Unfortunately the smallest cloud started to drop out of the sky at a rate just faster than the sun was falling. Now all of a sudden we are socked in fog. It is a confusing feeling to have the sun out for so long. At 23:00 it feels more like 19:00.

Air Temperature: 13
Water Temperature: 13

Low lying clouds but no rain. It looks like it may burn off. We are getting ready to deploy the fourth sound source. We crossed the Iceland Faeroe Front from the north sometime early this morning. The water temperature is significantly warmer. You may have noticed that the air temperature and the surface water temperature are usually very close. That is because water has such a high specific heat making it a tremendous heat sink. Water can absorb large amounts of heat without a significant change in temperature. Coastal areas (e.g. Norway) experience warmer winters due to heat collected and stored over the summer that is given off slowly in the winter. In the summer it is the reverse, they experience cooler temperatures because water is slow to warm up. Because the water is cool it keeps coastal areas cool in the summer. Norway has a relatively mild climate based on its latitude, which is equal to that of the much harsher Baffin Island in Canada. That mild climate is a result of the tempering effect of the warm waters of the Gulf Stream flowing towards Norway's shores.

To get an idea of the amount of heat that the Gulf Stream brings to Norway, the average power plant puts out about 1 GW (109 watts) of power per year. The Gulf Stream transfers 150 TW (1.5 x 1014 watts) in that same timeframe. This system is analogous to a hot water heating system in a home works. They are both closed, constant volume loops where hot water passes through a field where there is a temperature difference. The hot water gives off its heat to the cooler fluid warming the room or in our case, Norway.

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