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SEA Currents Blog

SEA Currents: Robert C. Seamans

April 19, 2014

Argo floats

Hannah Wagner, B Watch, Hamilton College


Members of the RCS sign an Argo float before its deployment at the equator.

Current Position
2° 14.4’ N x 141° 07.5’ W

Course & Speed
345 deg PSC, 6.8 knots

Sail Plan
Motorsailing under mainstays’l and forestays’l at 1200 RPMs

Wind out of the South, force 3, squalls in the area

Among the birthday excitement (thanks a million to everyone aboard for the celebration!) and the Equator crossing, the students and staff of the Seamans also recently took part in the deployment of two Argo floats. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) coordinates this international program that is responsible for the deployment of over 7,000 floats to date. These specially built floats have two way satellite communication, an expandable bladder, and a hydraulic piston that adjusts the bladder to allow the float to move up and down in the water column. This equipment is designed to last for seven years before it runs out of battery power and sinks to the bottom where it is no longer able to collect samples.

Argo floats, launched from “ships of opportunity” like the RCS, take profiles of water column temperature, salinity and currents, as well as collecting information about oxygen or chlorophyll at different depths. Because of our cruise track through infrequently travelled waters, we were given two floats to deploy to help fill in gaps without as much data. We launched one at 1° South on the 17th, and one at the Equator on the 18th.

Aside from the fact that these floats will drift in the ocean collecting data for the next seven years, which is pretty amazing, one of the coolest parts of this opportunity is that the members of S252 and staff were able to sign them before deployment! After we had all signed in bright white writing, we lowered the metal tubes over the side and set them free. As I watched them sink out of sight, it made me think about the sheer size of the Pacific Ocean and how much we have yet to learn about it. Speaking of learning, everyone here is continuing to work diligently on navigation updates, engineering reports, and research projects as deadlines approach! Wish us luck!

Thanks to all for making my 21st birthday such a special one, I could feel the love all the way from home! Missing M&D, Ella, and all my friends; Happy belated birthday to Grace and happy Easter a day early!

Much love,

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,Oceans & Climate, • Topics: s252  science • (0) Comments
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