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Onboard the R/V Merian: MSM73 ‑ Investigating Physical Processes across the North Atlantic

Posted by Ricardo Arruda Monteiro da Silva on May 18, 2018 in News
R/V Maria S. Merian docked in Cadiz, Spain
R/V Maria S. Merian docked in Cadiz, Spain

CERC PhD candidate, Ricardo Arruda Monteiro da Silva, participated in a cruise onboard R/V Maria S. Merian (MSM-73) crossing the subpolar North Atlantic Ocean. The cruise started in Cadiz, Spain, on April 6th and ended in St. Johns on April 28th , 2017.

Since the North Atlantic presents important regions of deep water mass formation, the ocean has an important role within the climate system. Global warming is expected to affect heat and freshwater budgets in the North Atlantic ocean, thus affecting deep water formation and the spatial patterns of the basin scale circulation.

The goal of the cruise was to investigate physical processes and service moorings in already existing time-series. For this, CTD stations covering the entire water column were made with measurements of temperature, salinity, oxygen, current velocity, anthropogenic tracers, and noble gas isotopes.

Time series data from deep sea moorings and pressure-sensor-equipped inverted echo-sounders (PIES) were collected and re-deployed, which extends the ship-board measurements, these long terms measurements are installed along 47/48 N.

During the cruise Ricardo was responsible for underway data, CTD watch, and sampling (oxygen, pCO2, salinity). Unfortunately, there were problems with the heating module of the infrared sensor in the pCO2 analyser during this cruise. After a week of trying to find a way around this problem, replacing burnt cables and cleaning the system, a final burnt component in one of the boards was the end of all hopes for the underway system working properly during this leg. Although unfortunate, these types of situations are bound to happen when working at sea, and it is a huge life lesson and learning exercise with the system itself.    

Scientists onboard the MSM73 Survey

(Photo by Dagmar Kieke)