Friday, July 24, 2015

Back for More Adventures in Acoustic (and Arctic!) Oceanography

This time we are heading waaaaay up North to the Arctic Ocean.  A lot of melting has been going on in the Arctic in recent years and scientists are interested in finding out how fast the ice is melting and how this melting affects the physical oceanography of the region, as well as the rest of the globe. On this expedition, we will be exploring how sound travels underwater and under ice and how acoustic data can help us learn about the changing Arctic.

R/V Sikuliaq
Able Sea Chick (ASC) Kathleen is back in Virginia, working with graduate students and getting ready to teach fall courses at George Mason University, and I (ASC Lora) am heading out to sea from Nome, Alaska on the R/V Sikuliaq. 

For those of you who have never been to Nome (not many people have!), it is a city in Alaska with a population of about 3800 people.  It is located at approximate latitude 64.5 degrees North and longitude165.4 degrees West, and is actually closer to Siberia than it is to the mainland United States.  Because it is so far north, and because it is summertime right now, it is light outside almost all day and all night.  The sun doesn’t even set until after midnight!  July is actually the warmest month in Nome, and the average high temperature is 58 degrees F (break out your swim suits!). Nome is a gold rush town (any fans of the reality series Bering Sea Gold out there?) and is also the end-point of the famous Iditarod dog sled race.  

ASC Lora in Nome!

Today, however, we are saying goodbye to Nome and starting our voyage north, though the Bering Strait (where we can see the US and Russia at the same time!), to the Beaufort Sea. 

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