ORCHESTRA

Blog: Homeward Bound – Last Leg of the ORCHESTRA Cruise

Carol Arrowsmith is a chief technician in the stable isotope facility at the BGS. She recently took part in an expedition to the Southern Ocean as part of  ORCHESTRA (Ocean Regulation of Climate by Heat and Carbon Sequestration and Transports), a NERC funded programme with partners at the British Antarctic Survey (lead), the National Oceanography CentrePlymouth Marine Laboratory, and many more including BGS. Here she updates us as she nears the end of her expedition on the RRS James Clark Ross… 16 May 2019.

Carol at Signy

We were at sea for around 8 weeks on the RRS James Clark Ross, undertaking the ANDREXII transect. We set off from the Punta Arenas, Chile, calling in at the Falklands before crossing the Drake Passage to the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula at 60oS, and then out along over 3000 miles to the Indian Ocean at 30oE. 

Along this route we collected samples at 96 separate locations (stations), resulting in >1800 water samples for oxygen and carbon isotope analysis with help from my buddy, Margot Debyser from Edinburgh University and Ash Smith, the BAS Laboratory Manager. The samples will arrive back in the UK for analysis at the BGS in the summer for isotope analysis and will tell us about how much carbon the ocean has absorbed and how much fresh water has been added from melting of the ice caps. We also collected around 350 for radiocarbon C14 analysis which will be sent to the Woods Hole Institute, USA where we’ll be able to shed light on the age of the water. These samples form part of the 5 year ORCHESTRA research programme to try to understand the structure of the Southern Ocean and, more importantly, what changes are taking place within the ocean due to human impact.

After we finished the last sampling in the Indian Ocean our ship steamed back to the South Orkney Islands and Signy. There were plenty of seals (fur, leopard and crabeater) dotted about the ice, most of them were used to seeing ships and didn’t bother to move when they saw us coming! In particular, we got to see the British Antarctic Survey base, which is now evacuated for winter, and moved some cargo around the holds in readiness for the journey home. We then sailed down to the ice sheet forming around the Antarctic Peninsula, where we held the end of cruise dinner: a BBQ on the ship’s deck while it was snowing! 

King penguins.

The ship docked at Mare Harbour on the Falkland Islands, where we spent the day demobilizing, taking inventories of samples, packing up the equipment, and generally clearing up. We also had a flying visit to Volunteer Point to see King and Gentoo Penguins. The RRS James Clark Ross then left the Falklands for the first of 2 trips to Rothera Station to pick up scientists, crew, contractors and equipment to take them home.
Overall, it’s been a successful research cruise but I am glad to be back on land! I would like to thank PSO Andrew Meijers at BAS for his leadership and management. Also many thanks to the dedicated crew on board, engineers, deck crew and stewards who all played their part.

Group picture.

A new science leader for ORCHESTRA

Emily Shuckburgh

Sadly, we have said goodbye to ORCHESTRA’s lead scientist, Emily Shuckburgh. Emily has taken on a new role at the University of Cambridge. Emily said: “It has been a pleasure to lead ORCHESTRA over the last couple of years and to see the programme develop and the results start to roll in. I would like to thank all involved for their help and support and I wish Andrew and the rest of the ORCHESTRA team every success going forward. Although I am moving to a new role at Cambridge, I am very keen to continue to develop collaborations both with ORCHESTRA and RoSES”.

Taking over the reins from Emily, as of 1 April, is Andrew Meijers, who has been working on ORCHESTRA as Work Package 2 Leader since the project started.

Andrew Meijers

Andrew said “I’m very excited to be stepping up as the new leader of ORCHESTRA.  I have both Emily and Mike to thank for their terrific efforts up to this point; both in getting ORCHESTRA off the ground and developing it into a mature and effective multi-centre collaboration.  This is the point when the results of our several field seasons and extensive model development are just coming together, and the imminent scientific results promise to be very exciting.  I look forward to working with everyone over the next few years, as well as looking to the future for UK research in the Southern Ocean”.

We wish Emily the best of luck in her new venture and look forward to working with Andrew and continuing the great work on ORCHESTRA.

Research Fellow in Sea Ice Altimetry Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling

Research Fellow in Sea Ice Altimetry: Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling, University of Leeds, UK

Full time – Fixed term to March 2021 – £33,199 to £39,609 p.a. Applications should be submitted by 23.59 (UK time) on Sunday 31 March.

The UK Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling (CPOM) is hiring a research fellow in Sea Ice Altimetry, with a focus on investigating historical and ongoing changes in the Arctic and in Antarctica.

CPOM provides UK national capability in satellite observations and numerical models of the polar regions in partnership with the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and the National Oceanography Centre (NOC). We also work closely with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Commission on current and future satellite missions, providing scientific leadership for CryoSat-2 and Sentinel-3, as well as many other national and international partners.  The CPOM Directorate is based in the School of Earth and Environment at the University of Leeds, with staff distributed across the UK.

In this role, you will lead a programme of sea ice research, focusing on measuring and monitoring trends in its thickness and volume in both hemispheres. This will involve exploiting recent developments in satellite radar altimetry and using other Earth observation and climate data records.

You will also contribute to CPOM’s overall radar altimetry work programme, promoting the integration of sea ice altimetry with other research interests and themes, and working on methodological advances such as developing and evaluating estimates of snow loading.

Although based in Leeds, you will work with scientists across our partner universities, including CPOM’s sea ice modelling team at the University of Reading. In addition, you will liaise with our partners at ESA, BAS, NOC, the UK Met Office and other institutions as appropriate to contribute to CPOM’s scientific objectives.

As well as having (or being close to completing) a PhD in a relevant subject such as physics, mathematics, computer science or engineering, you will also have a strong publication track-record; experience of working with satellite radar altimetry and climate data; an enthusiasm for scientific research and problem-solving; excellent communication and interpersonal skills; and the ability to work as part of the wider CPOM team.

 

For more information, and to apply for this role, please visit the Leeds University jobs website.  Applications should be submitted by 23.59 (UK time) on Sunday 31 March.

 

 

 

 

 

From Chile to the Falklands and beyond (Pt 2)

From Chile to the Falklands and beyond: ORCHESTRA Part 2…by Carol Arrowsmith

4 March 2019

I left the UK last Saturday and flew to Punta Arenas in Chile. There we waited (with various, BAS, NOC and university colleagues) to board the RRS James Clark Ross; a few days later we departed for the Falkland Islands. On board our first task was to lash down all the equipment in the ship’s laboratories needed for our sampling and familiarise ourselves with the layout of the ship. We have been accompanied for most of the journey so far by a variety of birds and mammals, including magnificent black-browed albatross, that mostly just sit in the water surrounding the ship waiting for food (to upwell from beneath the ship).

Carol in front of the RRS James Clark Ross in Stanley.

After three days sailing we docked at Stanley, Falkland Islands. We were unexpectedly granted 3 hours shore leave so some of us disembarked (even after 3 days of an 8 week cruise it was great to be on land!)…The Falklands bright and breezy as its late summer here.  We walked to nearby Gypsy Cove, the most accessible wildlife site from the capital city. It is part of the Cape Pembroke peninsula which is a National Nature Reserve. The small bay with its white sandy beach is sheltered from prevailing winds and is home to good numbers of Magellanic penguins who breed here, nesting underground in burrows.

A Magellanic penguin.

Heading back to the ship, we were caught in a hailstorm and there was even some snow, all to be expected in a day in the Falklands! In Stanley we dropped off some crew and picked up a mass spectrometer and fresh supplies. We are now heading  for the Drake Passage and to the Antarctic Peninsula, some of the roughest oceans in the world! We expect to start sampling soon after…

Carol Arrowsmith is currently part taking in an expedition to the Southern Ocean as part of ORCHESTRA (Ocean Regulation of Climate by Heat and Carbon Sequestration and Transports), a NERC- funded programme with partners at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) (lead), the National Oceanography Centre, (NOC) Plymouth Marine Laboratory, and many more including BGS.  

ORCHESTRA is in the third year of a five year collection programme around the World’s oceans. I will be collecting samples from the RRS James Clark Ross. I will be tweeting @CarolArrowsmith and @ORCHESTRAPROJ and on Facebook (Orchestra project) along the way, as well as updating the BGS Geoblogy. Carol Arrowsmith is a chief technician in the stable isotope facility at the BGS.

Blog: Investigating the Southern Ocean

Investigating the Southern Ocean: Part 1 – Carol Arrowsmith

Carol organising her equipment at BAS prior to departure
In a few days I will be embarking on my leg of the major NERC project called ORCHESTRA (Ocean Regulation of Climate through Heat and Carbon Sequestration and Transport) to collect seawater samples for isotope analysis. My leg is called ANDREX II – Antarctic Deep Water Rates of Export (ANDREX), and is the second time this part of the ocean has been sampled. I will be boarding the RRS James Clark Ross in Punta Arenas and following a stop off in the Falklands will start sampling from the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula along the 60°S parallel and across the Southern Ocean to 30°E, before returning to the Falklands in mid April.

Why are we collecting seawater samples from the World’s oceans?

Since the industrial revolution, the global ocean has absorbed around 30% of anthropogenic (human-produced) CO2 emissions. In addition, 93% of the total extra heat in the Earth system since the onset of global warming has been absorbed by the global ocean. Improving climate prediction requires us to learn more about how the global ocean works, and how it interacts with the atmosphere to control the split of heat and carbon between them, especially given the extra heat and carbon we are currently producing.

The Southern Ocean is key

A key region in this context is the Southern Ocean, the vast sea that encircles Antarctica. The Southern Ocean occupies around 20% of the total ocean area, but absorbs about three-quarters of the heat that is taken into the ocean, and approximately half of the CO2. This is because of its unique pattern of ocean circulation: it is the main region where deep waters rise to the surface, allowing new water masses to form and sink back into the ocean interior. This exposure of “old” waters to the atmosphere, and the production of new waters at the surface, is fundamental to the exchanges of heat and carbon with the atmosphere.
The track of the ANDREXII cruise

Despite knowing the key role that the Southern Ocean plays in global climate, there are many important unknowns. These include how exactly heat and carbon are taken up by the oceans and how fast this occurs (especially important because of the Anthropocene period we are living in), and how much heat and carbon is currently stored in the oceans. These questions are being addressed using various chemical and physical measurements of the ocean, including the stable isotope composition of the seawater (which we are responsible for at the BGS). Oxygen isotopes will tell us about how much freshwater to seawater there is at particular locations (which will help us understand melting of the Antarctic ice mass and therefore heat) and carbon isotopes will tell us where the carbon is formed and how the ocean uses the carbon.

The ANDREX leg in particular seeks to assess the role of the Weddell gyre in driving the southern closure of the meridional overturning circulation, in ventilating the deep global ocean, and in sequestering carbon and nutrients in the global ocean abyss.

Progress

ORCHESTRA is a five-year collection programme around the World’s oceans. I will be collecting samples from the RRS James Clark Ross. I will be tweeting @CarolArrowsmith and @ORCHESTRAPROJ and Facebooking (Orchestra project) along the way, as well as updating the BGS Geoblogy. Carol Arrowsmith is a chief technician in the stable isotope facility at the BGS.

ORCHESTRA (Ocean Regulation of Climate by Heat and Carbon Sequestration and Transports) is a programme funded by NERC and includes partners at the British Antarctic Survey (lead), the National Oceanography Centre, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, and many more including BGS.