Water Sampling and More

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Hi again!

Last time I mentioned that we collect water samples at multiple depths at a couple of spots when we do fieldwork.  How exactly do you get water from 7 specific depths simultaneously?  We use these nifty things called Niskin bottles!  Essentially, they're tubes with tops and bottoms that are open until a pole on the side is hit- then the top and bottom simultaneously close.  We attach these bottles to a cable, so they are spaced apart at certain intervals.  We then lower them all down, so each bottle is at a depth we want to sample.  We then put a weight at the top of the cable and let it go, to slide down the cable.  It hits the pole on the top Niskin bottle, shutting that bottle and releasing another weight which slides down to the second bottle, shutting that bottle and releasing another weight which slides down to the third bottle, and so on...  We then haul them all up (thankfully they're on a winch- it would be way too heavy to do by hand), take them off the cable and TA-DAH!  We have water samples from particular depths!  Didn't I say they were nifty?  

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Attaching a Niskin bottle to the cable.  Hitting the white bar on the right  releases the top and bottom to close the bottle.  


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The parking lot at Palmer- the 2nd boat from the right, Bruiser, is our trusty zodiac for fieldwork.

The L.M. Gould will be arriving again at Palmer tomorrow.  This time when it arrives we'll be beginning a month long research cruise.  There's 2 parts to the research going on here- what's happening at Palmer Station and the annual research cruise.  At Palmer, the different lab groups sample the area right around Palmer intensively for the entire spring to fall season.  However, everything we do is limited to be within a couple miles of Palmer (due to safety reasons).  In January, there's a research cruise that samples a 600 km x 200 km grid along the Antarctic Peninsula.  This allows us to study the changes occurring on a larger scale.  The types of sampling and experiments on the ship will be very similar to what occurs at Palmer Station, just on a larger scale.  As it's my first oceanographic cruise, it should be pretty interesting!  

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This page contains a single entry by Pam Moriarty published on January 1, 2012 11:40 PM.

Life on the Ice was the previous entry in this blog.

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