Sunday, 15 June 2014

And finally ....

The cruise finished on schedule on the 3rd June and the next scientific cruise is now underway on the RRS James Cook.  Overall 96% of the data that we had hoped for was recovered from the RAPID array of moorings.  A figure with which we were very pleased.  We are very grateful to everyone on board: officers, crew, technicians and scientists who all worked together to achieve this result.

Before we left the ship we were able to make our first preliminary estimate of the 26°N AMOC time series from October 2012 to March 2014.   There was much excitement amongst the scientists on board as Ben completed the calculation and showed us the preliminary results.     All of the data now needs to checked carefully and we need to incorporate the data from our colleagues in Miami.  After this is done the complete calculation of the new times series will be made public on our website, probably by the end of September.

However, we can now announce the winner of our competition to estimate the value of our preliminary calculation for the period from 1st October 2012 to 30th September 2013 (Please note the final value will be different once  we incorporate data from our colleagues in Miami).      The entries are summarised in the figure below.    Estimates ranged from 15.1 Sv to 19.4 Sv with an average of 17.2 Sv.  So most of you thought that it would be a little less than the long term average (17.5 Sv).

Distribution of entires (red) compared with the annual averages from
the eight years starting from April 2004.  The distribution of annual averages
has been normalised to enable the comparison.
 - Third place was Stuart Cunningham 17.0 Sv

 - Joint second were Sarah Hughes and the Master of the RRS James Cook Peter Sarjeant with 16.7 Sv

 - But one person estimated the exact value of 16.5 Sv.   Well done Bablu Sinha!

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Recreation at Sea

Playing cricket on the back deck of the RRS James Cook.  Darren, Eleanor, Nick, and Lola (and a few more outfielders).  Photo by Ben Moat.

This post is a bit overdue, since we're now all back on land.  However, it fits well with the "life at sea" portion of the blog.  [ pics to be added shortly! ]

When we are at sea for 6 weeks, we typically work longer hours than on land.  For certain types of cruises (e.g. hydrographic sections), the science work is going on 24-hours a day.  Since this cruise was a moorings cruise, we would have more intense working days, followed by passage days where data processing and analysis continued in the lab, but less time was spent on deck or making measurements.  We are permitted to work no longer than 12 hour days, 7 days a week.

Paul, Dave, Chris, Steve and Martin, on the  bow.

6 weeks is a rather long time to be spent with the 22 crew, 7 scientists and 7 technicians.  Fortunately, British ships are reasonably well-equipped for recreation.  The RRS James Cook has a bar, a lounge, a video room and a library, all on the level above the main lab.   On the lower accommodation level, there is also a gym with treadmill, rowing machine, reclining bike, weights and a sauna.  The bow is a comfortable spot for a bit of sun or to watch the sunset or stars.  And a popular area for tea is outside the coffee shop, on the starboard side, just aft of the main lab, where a few extra chairs have been placed.

David, Neela and Lola playing dominos.

The bar is stocked with the daily allotment of wine and beer.  Folks are allowed to purchase a certain number of units per day, when off-duty.  There are also a variety of games to be played: dominos, scrabble, Trivial Pursuit and a popular sea farers card game: cribbage.  One night during the cruise we had a pub quiz, organised by Carl.  Another night was the RPC "request the pleasure of the company", where David Smeed as chief scientist, paid for the beers and invited everyone along.

The Twister board, made out of an old sheet.  The "dice" didn't work very well, so we ended up with a different solution.  Photo by Lola.

On Lola's birthday, we made a Twister board out of an old sheet.  The spinner was a piece of cardboard, with a beer bottle in the middle.  For some more active entertainment, Nick made a cricket bat, and Lola and I spent a while making some balls out of rags and duct tape (gaffer tape).  20 balls made for about an hour and a bit of fun on the ship.  So while there is lots to be done, there are also plenty of options for evening entertainment, or spots of free time between the more intensive moorings days.

The gym on the Cook.  Photo by Lola.