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fieldwork Archives - State of the Planet
Bob Newton, an oceanographer who leads the SSFRP, an intensive summer fieldwork program for high school students at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, just won Lamont’s 2016 Excellence in Mentoring Award. His students explain how he has changed their lives.
It turns out that studying lava flows at the bottom of the ocean uses many of the same methods as studying lava flows on other planets, writes Lamont’s Elise Rumpf.
“My experience at Lamont has been great and it’s something like no other. Here I was basically being trained to be like a scientist with exposure to lab work, fieldwork and presentation skills.”
One of the goals of this expedition is to investigate if water from the Southern Ocean with temperatures above the melting point of glaciers could reach the glaciers in East Antarctica, and if there are any obstacles on the seafloor of the shelf that impact the ability of such water to reach the glaciers and ice streams.
Several days ago we reached our main work areas along the margin of East Antarctica. Our expedition is relatively late in the season and the seas around Antarctica are starting to freeze.
We are less than a day away from our first study area on the continental shelf in front of the Dibble Glacier. As we approach Antarctica we are starting our science program with a 4500 meter deep CTD and multibeam acquisition.
We are now aboard the R/V Palmer and on our way to East Antarctica. Due to two storms in our direct way we are heading west first to go around the storms and we’ll then head south on their backside.
I grew up outside of Chicago and I wasn’t a Boy Scout, so sometimes I feel like I missed out on learning the type of practical—albeit rarely used—skills that would have garnered merit badges. Now that I’m nearing the conclusion of my fourth research expedition at sea, I think I have amassed a few badge-worthy tricks.
I’m writing from where L’Atalante is currently parked, 18S 170W, right in the middle of a giant, anomalously high sea surface chlorophyll patch. Such a high concentration of chlorophyll—a pigment that helps photosynthetic organisms harvest energy from sunlight, and the one that’s responsible for the green color of plants—can mean but one thing in the ocean: a phytoplankton bloom.