Remember this blog I wrote for a month or so in 2012? Well, I’m starting it back up. Why now? Probably because it’s called “Mike At Sea.” My name is Mike, and I’ll be at sea, so I think it makes sense. If you didn’t know about this upcoming trip, let me attempt to fill you in…
In September 2012, I started this blog for a research cruise I was a part of in the North Pacific Ocean. The mission was pretty simple:
- Replace a wave buoy at “Station Papa,” a measurement site located at 50° N, 145° W. When you get to pick a spot, out of the entire ocean, to put a buoy, it makes sense to use round numbers in latitude and longitude. Station Papa has become a popular location for ocean measurements for mostly historical reasons — U.S. Navy weatherships often occupied the site during World War II to improve weather forecasts for military operations in the Pacific Theater. Anyway, this particular buoy had been moored at Station Papa for two years, and its batteries were nearly depleted. We brought an identical buoy and did a simple swap, picking up the old one and dropping off the new one.
- Measure the waves in the vicinity of the ship. We have a few strategies for measuring waves, which mostly include throwing buoys from the ship and letting them drift with the waves. My Ph.D. thesis work has been on measuring waves with video cameras, the advantage being that nothing actually has to go into the water. This part of the mission basically involved checking the weather forecast for storms, and then heading straight for them (storms bring waves, waves are what we were looking for).
The ship returned in October 2012, we came back to Seattle, and I returned to the relatively less exciting life of a graduate student sitting at desk (with some excitement sprinkled in there). Here’s the point, two years have passed again. The replacement buoy Station Papa is on its last legs. There’s still so much we want to learn from these wave measurements. So, as Jack from Lost would say:
“WE HAVE TO GO BACK.”
On December 27, we’ll be heading back to Station Papa. The cruise is similar to the last one, with a few new twists. So I’ll do more writing in the coming days and weeks, reminding you of the ins-and-outs of what it is we are interested in and updating you on the progress of the ship. Until then, Merry Christmas!