August 13, 2007
Today we continued mapping along the same area with the multibeam and Topas Sonar, however, there was some discrepancies noted in the points being collected. It was apparent to our lead scientist, Angelo Camerlenghi, that we needed to recalibrate (readjust to retrieve accurate data) the sonar. In science, it is not only the accuracy of the data collected, but also the preciseness. In order to accomplish this with the sonar receivers located on the hull of the boat, they have to be in somewhat shallow water to adjust the beams. The water that we were in was around 300 m deep, so Angelo made a decision to move towards the southern tip of Svalbard and attempt the recalibration. It will be an approximately 7 hour voyage there and then we will continue mapping closer to that region. Meanwhile, we continue to map as we make the transit to the calibration area.
This afternoon Miquel Canals, assistant project leader, made a presentation for his work in the Gulf of Lions with deep water currents. It was very interesting because they have been conducting this work over 17 years trying to understand the movement of sediments flowing into the gulf and the currents that move from the surface and dive down to the bottom carrying nutrients. He stated that these currents only occur about every 10 years, but they have discovered that there are organisms along the bottom that can exist dormant until the next flow comes along. Miquel also made correlations to an increasing global temperature and how this would impact these currents. Because the waters must be cold and have some freshwater to cause them to dive downward, a temperature increase could restrict this movement and mixing of the nutrients. Just as we know how ecosystems are connected, this could lead to a domino effect of impacts on other organisms and systems. It is not just the physical oceanography impacts, but the biological as well. Another example of how many different types of scientists must work together to tackle problems and come up with conclusions!
The seas remain calm today fortunately! It is cloudy, although some sun came through this afternoon and I took some great photos of it on the water. It will now seem strange to me to return to having a nighttime at home!