The fascinating color of the sea

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Oct 042011

Here’s a little question to my Oceansearch partners: How can we measure what causes the sea to look like it does?

I have always been fascinated by the ever changing color of the sea. Just on this trip we have gone from the steely gray of the Batic, over the dilluted coffe look-alike of the Kiel Canal, to the green and murky North Sea. And just now, in the middle of the English Channel, we get this:

It was like a border crossing between the North Sea and the Atlantic. Sharp as a razors edge, in the middle of the water!

Of course I instantly thought about all our climate measuring equipment when I saw it. But I can’t easily make the equipment do two instantaneous measurements this close to each other. It is just sitting in the bilge and takes a sample every hour… In a situation like this it would be nice to have a “Take Sample Now” button. Plus I guess that it’s not only temperature/salinity/ph that changes between these two bodies of water, but also the particle content which I can’t measure at the moment (maybe it is not even interesting to the climate researchers?!).

Oh, and there was not a cloud in the sky at this particular moment, so the water color change is not an effect caused by a cloud. You get that effect to sometimes. And the depth was constant at about 31 meters as we went “across the border”.

Sep 202011

…but some of our expected crew failed to show up, so we’re pretty shorthanded for the coming two months. If you have time on your hands and like to join, you are welcome to do so (without fees). The schedule is here.

You should also notice the new position update widget to the left, which will always be on the home page!

Jul 162011

Yesterday we went from Sandvik on Öland to Visby:

The weather was fair, with quite varying winds from 10 to 25 knots. During the later part of the journey (the red part of the track above) we had what I would call “ocean like” wind/wave conditions for the first time since I started sailing the Journeyman. So for the first time I got an indication of what average reaching cruising speeds would be like. We averaged 10.65 knots over 37Nm, which would be equivalent to a 24h range of 255Nm. The trip was very comfortable with moderate heel (half full ballast tank) and a basically completely dry cockpit despite 1.5m waves. The speed is slightly less than I would have hoped for, but still satisfying. The steering is beautifully smooth, with no broaching problems even during the few 30+ knot gusts.

The climate monitoring equipment also performed quite well and gave us some nice observations:

The sharp drop in temperature which occurs somewhere midway between the north point of  Öland and Visby coincides with an increased salinity level, indicating an upwelling from deeper waters. This is usually a biologically productive environment, which might explain why we saw quite a few of the Common Murres (“Sillgrissla”) from Stora Karlsö hanging around.

The final and highest spike in Carbohydrates unfortunately coincides with us passing the large Gotland ferry as we entered Visby port…

Meta photo of climate measuring

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May 182011

Photos of people taking photos are always fun! In this case it is significant: What you see is well know meteorologist  and climate researcher Martin Hedberg from the Swedish Weather and Climate Center taking a snap of the just installed weather sensor on the top of Journeyman’s targa arch. One of his projects includes using online measurements from the Journeyman to fine tune weather forecast models for open ocean environments.