Welcome to Leg 2 of GO-SHIP P6

22 August 2017 22° 33' S, 148° 57' W, winds 15-20 kn

Welcome to the R/V Nathaniel B. Palmer and the 4th re-occupation of the Pacific hydrographic line called P06, a designation dating from the international World Ocean Circulation Experiment (or WOCE) that took place in the 1990's and produced the first global dataset suitable for ocean circulation studies. A fair amount of my early experience at sea was with the French and German WOCE programs in the South Atlantic Ocean. Now, we are re-occupying these sections globally under the GO-SHIP program to learn about the changes in ocean circulation, chemistry, and biology, and better understand the role of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide on the ocean ecosystem. A secondary goal is to improve sampling, either with new technologies, analysis techniques, new measurements, or with higher resolution than was done by earlier expeditions.

The Palmer left Papeete, Tahiti on 20 August 2017, just a few days ago, with some regrets for the beautiful island, food trucks and marketplace and friendly people. It is a territory of France and so the common language spoken is French, producing an interesting combination of cultures. Our destination is 32 degrees 30 minutes S at which point we will join the line begun by colleagues who left Sydney Australia on the 3rd July, near 149 degrees W. Our plan is to complete the section from that point east to the continental shelf of South America and nearly to the coast of Chile, thus closing one of the longest transoceanic lines in the GO-SHIP program.

We have a diverse scientific group carrying out the sampling and analyses on this Leg. Chemists are analysing the carbon system parameters, biologists are sampling for indicators of ecosystem health,  and scientists from NASA are measuring the optical properties of the upper ocean to calibrate satellite remote sensing observations. Our co-Chief Scientist Dr. Lena Schulze is particularly interested in the currents in the Chile Basin and Chile Trench, which we encounter on the latter part of the cruise.

If you have followed the blog from Leg 1 you know that some people got off in Tahiti, both science party and crew, but some are soldiering on through the entire section. Over the course of our Leg you will meet via the blog many of the people involved and discover some of the interesting scientific questions that are being investigated. We have scientists and technicians from Florida, California, New Jersey, Hawaii, Colorado, Texas, and I am very glad to have two young scientists from Chile as well joining us for the cruise.

Fair Winds,

Kevin Speer

Chief Scientist Leg 2 P06


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