7 February, 1998
Today, the clouds parted and we have had a sunny day! There is no place more beautiful than this when the fog lifts and the sun brightens the seas and icebergs all around. The humidity is so low that there is very little atmospheric interference and distances are hard to judge. What may look like it is a mile or two away is actually 20 miles!
My roommate happens to be one of the few graduate students on board (University of California Santa Barbara), but she is here as a volunteer and not working on her own research. She is working for Dr. Ray Smith, who did much of the founding research for bio-optics. DeDe has two activities that she does here on the ship that we discussed. The first one is to help deploy the PRR (Profiling Reflectance Radiometer). The PRR is the link between satellite imagery and physical testing of the water. The PRR "sees" what the satellite "sees" of the water's down-welling irradiance and up-welling radiance. (That means that things such as water layers and phytoplankton blooms can be detected because of the way they reflect and refract the light.) Then the water is directly sampled for chlorophyll and salinity as well as compared to the CTD data so that a true interpretation of the data from the satellite imagery can be made. As DeDe explains, "The ultimate goal is to be able to tell what's going on in the ocean without direct sampling. This way a more global picture can be formed instead of sampling just a little piece." She has reason to want to sample indirectly because the other thing she has to do is test the chlorophyll levels in the water column!
How would knowing the salinity help in determining the water layers? Answer tomorrow.
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