Bye bye Agulhas rings – welcome Vema channel – Rio, we are coming!

Only three more days to go

by Marco Giorgetta, Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Germany

15th of March 2016 on Meteor at 27°S / 33°W

Now it is already two days since we visited the last Agulhas ring. Due to the large number of these rings they are just numbered, except the one named “Mareike eddy”, and in Sabrina’s numbering we have visited from east to west no. 99, 96, 109, 126, 117, 23, 65. Some of them are cyclonic, others anticyclonic some are young and others, which have already passed the mid-Atlantic ridge, are pretty old.  Though we are still sailing in their realm (is there anything else in the area of our cruise?) since leaving #65, we are steaming at 12 knots westward for already two days, just stopping for the daily 08:30 (ship time) multi-net measurements.

But today we should arrive at the Vema channel that connects the Argentine basin with the Brazil basin, and owing to its depth is one of a few passages for the very cold Antarctic bottom water to find its way northward to the subtropical Atlantic. This will also be the only place where the CTD – rosette (measuring conductivity, temperature, pressure and a few other variables, and bringing back water samples from different depths) will be lowered for the full depth to the ground at about 4500 m depth. At all previous stations the CTD profiling was limited to 2000 m to save time, as the winch speed is limited to 1 m/s. So a single CTD profile down to 4500 m depth and back up to the surface lasts about 9000 s or 2 h 30 m at least.

The weather is changing as well as we are leaving the high pressure influence. The shallow puffy small cumulus clouds in the blue sky (left photo: sky above the ceilometer on the 13th of March) have disappeared and instead we see much larger and deeper clouds (right photo in the morning of the 14th), often with thin cirrus clouds high in the sky. And the sea surface temperature has increased to almost 27 °C. This would be perfect to go swimming during the long station at Vema channel – but this is a research cruise, not a pleasure cruise. So we are just imaging ourselves swimming around the ship in the deep blue warm waters of this area.

Beyond Vema channel Rio is waiting. Only 3 more days until our arrival! This is very short for all students who need to get their posters finished and printed before arrival, and many of us have started to think about what to do in Rio between arrival and departure: Copacabana, Ipanema, Samba … Actually during the deck party last weekend, Livia gave us a Samba lecture, which was great fun (though some of the boys were a bit shy). Further we had the memorable performance of “500 Miles – The Proclaimers”. Here just the essentials:

And when I wake up, YEAH (5 voices specialized on this challenging part of the lyrics), I know I’m gonna be, I’m gonna be the man to drop the CTD,
… TSG …
… XBT …
… ADCP …
And we will sail 500 miles … and 500 more … to sail 5000 miles to Rio’s door.
[Ladies] Da-dada-da! …
[Men] Ba-dum diddi dum …
And when we’re working, YEAH, … and when no money comes in …
We’ll sail back out into the ocean blue.
+ Javier’s jam solo
+ Livia’s mad beat solo.

So life is still great on Meteor, and Rio is waiting for us.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *