Water Sampling in the Tropics and in Antartica

Water sampling in the Tropics
Photo by Martin Visbeck

Being on a research vessel is not always easy. Working on deck can be either too hot, too cold, or even too dangerous. One part of the daily work on the Research Vessel (R/V) Meteor is to collect water samples from the Niskin bottles attached to the Rosette at different depths along the water column.

During the cruise M159, the R/V Meteor only navigates in tropical latitudes, with warm air temperatures and with sea surface temperature above 25° C, but reaching around 1° C in the deeper channels. So collecting water samples in this kind of environment is an easy task, because once you get wet collecting water, the warm weather will also make you enjoy the refreshing water of Niskin bottles.

However, once you are on board of a research vessel travelling to Antarctica, collecting water samples may not be as fun as in tropical waters. The air temperature around the Antarctica continent fluctuates between -5 and 5° C. Therefore, getting wet with the Niskin bottle water during water sampling may not be so good. When the surrounding environment is already very cold, the strong winds makes the air temperature fells even lower. Therefore, the last thing you want there is be wet, on the deck, with 0° C temperature, and strong winds.

Water sampling in Antartica
Photo by André Lopes

Written by André Lopes Brum, FURG/GEOMAR 2019

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