After three days of sailing, we arrived in the Gulf of Bothnia on Saturday afternoon. This northernmost sea between Sweden and Finland freeze over in winter, and this is where we will conduct the sea trials.
Ice in the Bothnian Bay.
Sunset meeting on the bridge.
We are performing sea trials in ice with two offshore anchor handling tug supply (AHTS) vessels. Magne Viking, the vessel I am on, has ice class but is not an icebreaker. This means it can sail and break ice in light ice conditions, due to its reinforced hull. The other vessel, Tor Viking, is an actual icebreaking AHTS. So we send that one in front when we are sailing to break the ice.
Hey guys! I am writing to you from a ship again! The next three weeks I will spend offshore on vessel Magne Viking, an anchor handler with ice class. We are part of what is going to be sea trials in ice with two ships in the Bothnian Bay, north in the Baltic Sea. Joining us is the vessel Tor Viking, an anchor handling vessel that is also an icebreaker.
The reason for me being on the Arctic Ocean 2016 research cruise is primarily to gather data for my PhD research work. I have promised a post about my work, so let me tell you a bit about what I am doing.
I got to help the meteorology work package with launching a weather balloon!
Taking cores from the sediments on the seabed can help researchers understand the (distant) past, how the earth looked like back then and how it became the way it is today.
Luz María and Grace at work, sampling sediment cores.
Illustration of the time zones of the world, where the earth is seen from the top (source).
The last week or so we have been doing bathymetric mapping surveys of the seabed in an area more west, close to Canada. We transited from the pole further south, to around 82°N 142°W, for these surveys. Transiting 7° south may not sound like much, but it is approximately 780 km (I wrote about the conversion between degrees and distances here). I was surprised by the noticeable difference in light.
I want to talk a bit about time zones and longitudes, which are actually a bit tricky up North. When you travel east and west in the world, depending on which longitude (breddegrad) you are on, there are different time zones. This is because night and day occur at different times in different places on Earth, due to Earths rotation. I assume most people are familiar with this. The first figure below illustrate the time zones of the world on a map of polar stereographic projection (the North Pole is in the middle, and the equator on the outer edge. I have another post coming up on maps can be tricky business in the Arctic.) You can see that the closer you get to the Pole, the closer are the lines/longitudes and therefore the time zones. Since the longitudes define the time zones, and the longitudes come together at the poles, the time zones in reality change a lot with small distances up here.
Sailing in a straight line through the open sea is easy. Sailing in a straight line in meters-thick ice is not so straight forwards.
Screenshot from one of the mapping software we use on Oden, showing planned track vs sailed track. The red triangle indicate the position of the vessel (actually here we were very close to the North Pole!)
The LSSL following in our wake
Local time: 2016-08-30 21:19
Position: 82° 34.80’N 138° 19.34’W
Speed: 2.5 knots
Water depth: 3337 m
Wind speed: 11.3 m/s
Air temperature: -0.75°C
Feels like (wind chill): -7.96°C
Sea temperature: -1.5°C
Monday was day 22 out of 44, so now we are over half way in the expedition. Time flies!
The Louis S. St. Laurent following in the wake of Oden on Arctic Ocean 2016.
I wanted to do a brief post about the main reason behind the expedition Arctic Ocean 2016. My fellow shipmate Grace Shephard (geologist and post doc from the University of Oslo) have already written an excellent in-depth post about this.
The main purpose of the expedition Arctic Ocean 2016 is to collect data for supporting Canada’s claim for an extended continental shelf. So what does that mean? According to the United Nations’ Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), every country with a coastline has an economic zone of 200 nautical miles (nm) extending from their coast. This means that the country’s border goes 200 nm, about 360 km, out in the sea from the coast. However, the UN says, you can extend your border further out in the sea if your seabed extends out beyond these 200 nm. This can be for example a subsea mountain ridge or the continental shelf that is continuing outwards. Many countries have claimed extra territory like this, like for example Norway on the Norwegian continental shelf.
From the left; myself, La Daana Kanhai (Galway Mayo Institute of Technology), Åsa Lindgren (Swedish Polar Research Secretariat) and Katarina Gårdfeldt (Chalmers University of Technology)
Local time: 15:30 2016-08-15
Position: 89° 10.15’N 034° 36.77’W
Speed: 4.9 knots
Water depth: 4117 m
Wind speed: 9.6 m/s
Air temperature: -4.8°C
Feels like (wind chill): -12.35°C
Sea temperature: 0°C
Greetings from north of the 89th parallel! I can’t believe we are almost at the North Pole! But we are probably not stopping there for a few days, the last I head is that we are doing some more work for a couple of days before we stop. Actually, we may pass directly through the North Pole with the seismic lines before that, without stopping. So then I can say I have been to the North Pole twice, right? Continue reading