Oceanographer on a ferry

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Since my beginning as a Post-Doc at the University of Maine's EML, I had several opportunities to travel to the west coast... not just to brag about how much more quaint and authentic New-England is, but mostly to share and do my work...  Today I'm back west once again, staying in the Friday Harbor Labs of the University of Washington.  This time is my first participation to a more focused and high-level workshop with seasoned oceanographers under the theme "Global Ocean Ecosystems and Climate".

But before the hardcore science begins, it's time for a short follow-up on a previous blog entry from Andy, while he was traveling this area a year ago.  Andy took an air-borne picture of the northwest part of San Juan Island (Henry Island's shape is unmistakable), and the actual route taken by my own ferry.  Andy is an accomplished oceanographer (and incidentally my boss), so please praise with me his instinctive analysis, in which he correctly guessed that the difference in surface waters' reflectance was caused by oily algae products.

The first picture below shows the intricate smooth and rough surface water features he talked about from a ferry's deck point of view.


The second, though a little blurred, shows what's in the slicks: algae washed off from the shore!


Add these two blog entries and you get the idea behind modern oceanography. Just replace the iPhone shot from a plane by a few $M satellite sensor and a couple of unreliable Canon PowerShot pictures with a few $100K scientific sampling cruise. Now you know how oceanographic knowledge is acquired and validated.  Next step, integrate everything and fill the gaps with models... Hey, that's what we happen to do in the EML!


Stay tuned for daily updates on this workshop (that's my resolve, for now...).


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This page contains a single entry by Frederic Maps published on August 22, 2010 7:16 PM.

Atlantic white-sided dolphins was the previous entry in this blog.

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