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Dispatch 6: Tiny Bubbles

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September 11th Photos
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David Jones and Andrey Proshutinsky

September 11, 2017

Weather: Heavy fog, no wind, calm seas

Temperature: -1 ˚C

Relative humidity: 99%

Location: Beaufort Sea, 74˚ 29’ N; 135˚ 25’ W (see slide 1 for our location)


Late yesterday we set a course to the northwest heading for our next two stations CB40 then CB18. We did, however, spend some extra time at CB51. The first attempt at a rosette CTD cast had to be aborted because of communications issues. Since the two individuals who knew how to troubleshoot the equipment were asleep, Marshall Swartz (WHOI) stepped up and had things working after a couple of hours. While Marshall was busy working on repairs, several of us were dining in luxury at the Captain's Table Sunday Dinner. This is a traditional weekly event that brings together the ship's Captain, some of his Officers and invited guests from the ranks of the supernumeries (the science staff). It was my perception that the Captain's Dinner was such a big deal that they actually stopped the ship so the dinner could be served without the bouncing and jostling that goes along with sailing through the ice. Turns out we were hanging around at CB51 so that when the rosette was indeed repaired the station could be sampled.

Chemistry Timeout

So lets talk some more about carbon dioxide. In the previous discussion we established a plausible explanation for how carbon dioxide molecules could interact with water molecules thereby forming a solution where the carbon dioxide is the solute and water is the solvent (as it usually is). The next piece of this is the formation of the carbonate ion a very stable polyatomic ion composed of 3 oxygen atoms, 1 carbon atom, and having a charge of –2 symbolized: CO32-

The reaction for this goes like this: CO2 + H20 ––> H2CO3

It is the CO3 part of this that is the carbonate ion. So when you drink a carbonated beverage much of what you are drinking is carbonate ion in solution. Next time we'll get into what happens to the carbonate ion.

Crew Member Focus

Raelene Kerrivan is a Steward 1 aboard the Louis St. Laurent. She lives in St. Johns, Newfoundland one of the biggest cities in the province. She has a 25 year-old son who works in the construction industry in St. Johns. Rae, as she is affectionately known, has been in the Coast Guard for three years transferring after an 11 year stint in the National Defense Department of Canada. Her longest trip on the ship was the 7 week, 2016 joint Canadian / Norwegian trip across the North Pole. Most of her job duties as a Steward include meal serving, cabin cleaning, stocking supplies, and looking after the common areas. She takes on the role of "Hostess with the Mostest" on board running the canteen, and hosting weekly Saturday Night Bingo. Always bright and cheery, Rae clearly enjoys her job saying that the travel and occasional Polar Bear sightings are just a couple of the job perks.

Geo-engineering methods to improve Arctic Climate (warming 2)

This material is from archives of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI) and was recently provided by the AARI deputy director, Dr. Igor Ashik. Some of this information was also published in the magazine "Popular Mechanics" (No. 1, January 2016).

In 1966, the State Soviet Union Committee for Science and Technology considered a project of an engineer named Eugene Pastors; the description of which recently surfaced in the archives of the AARI. Starting from the concept of Borisov (see yesterday’s dispatch), the author proposed to ​​tow or push the ice cover from the Arctic to the south by powerful vessels/icebreakers. "... If you enter into the ice of the central Arctic about 20-25 powerful ships, ordering some of them to push ice toward Fram Strait into the Atlantic Ocean, and part toward Bering Strait into the Pacific Ocean ... then the ice cover will be removed from the Arctic in six months, "- wrote Pastors in his proposal. He argued that his project would be much cheaper than Borisov’s because ships pushing the sea ice toward the Atlantic Ocean via Fram Strait would work in a concert with natural forces (winds and ocean currents) under which the sea ice naturally moves to the Greenland Sea and North Atlantic (light blue arrows in Photo 8) and melts there.

The refined scientific concepts do not abolish the temptation to think big. Projects to "correct" the climate are still emerging in our time. Tomorrow, we will focus on one of the recent Arctic climate geo-engineering ideas showing how to cool down the Arctic climate which is fighting unprecedented warming during last two decades.

Last updated: October 7, 2019

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