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A turn in the left direction

By Diana Udel

A turn in the left direction

By Diana Udel
Provided by Andrew Margolin, Ph.D. student in the Department of Ocean Sciences

At the beginning of the cruise, our Chief Scientist, Prof. Dave Kadko, made it known that the sea ice in the Beaufort Sea/Canadian Basin had shifted, becoming thicker, which could affect our northward cruise track. One option given was to stick to the original route that goes northward through the Canadian Basin, returning south on the more western route (a counterclockwise track, following the map from About the Cruise). The alternative option was to do this portion of the cruise backwards (a clockwise track instead), which as it turns out, is what we’ll be doing.

During the science meeting on our first day aboard the Healy, the Coast Guard made it clear that if we went northward on the more eastern route, we may have to turn around before reaching the Pole since breaking through so much thick ice would consume too much fuel and time. On that same day (the 9th), Dave stated that the final decision on the northward route would be made when we arrived at station 7 (blue shelf station just north of 70°N, found on map in And so it begins), which we passed yesterday (the 17th).

Prior to arriving at station 7, the seas picked up and were a little too rough for us to sample the intermediate Chukchi shelf station, so we steamed past it in a north-northwestern direction. If we would have stopped to sample at station 7, sampling would have taken longer (harder to prepare, deploy and recover instruments when it’s rough out), and sampling would have been limited. Our hope now is that we can sample at that location in October if there is still time.

We are currently about three hours from the new station 7, which will be the first of thirty-eight Repeat Hydrography stations (or CLIVAR stations on map in And so it begins). The current latitude is 72° 55.476’ N, meaning that we’re north of the Arctic Circle, and in the Northern Domain of the Polar Bear.

Next post will be on our schedules at sea! I have some exciting photos to share, so stay tuned!

–Andrew Margolin

Andrew Margolin is pursuing his Ph.D. at the University of Miami‘s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science in Marine and Atmospheric Chemistry in the Department of Ocean Sciences (OCE) as a National Science Foundation (NSFGraduate Research Fellow.