Thursday, August 1, 2013

Dana Fields's Internship, Summer 2013 - Part 5

I can’t believe that summer break is almost over, that my internship is over… and that I’m due back in the classroom in a week and a half. It’s been very busy and time has flown by much too quickly.

So what did we accomplish?

From the CTD-Divers attached to mooring cable 1 (see Part 3) we obtained data for temperature, pressure, and salinity at five different points above the ocean floor. We found that the pressure plots were strongly influenced by the tides. We applied a filter to the data to remove the tidal signal (Figure 1) so that we could see how much of the pressure variation was due to other phenomena. Examination of the temperature plots (Figure 2) showed us the predicted seasonal and diurnal variations at all depths but also provided insight into some phenomena while raising questions about others. The conductivity plots (Figure 3), which provide salinity data, were a bit disappointing. Biofouling of the sensors prevented them from providing much information past the first month of deployment.
Figure 1
Figure 2

Figure 3
We were also able to obtain data from a NOAA buoy (Figure 4) anchored near our mooring site that allowed us to plot similar graphs (Figure 5) for wind speed and direction; air pressure and temperature; and sea surface temperature for comparison.
Figure 4

Figure 5
It was fascinating to be able to line up all these graphs to look for correlations between them. Someone else will undoubtedly perform formal correlation and spectral analysis of the data, but I enjoyed just lining the graphs up to see what we could figure out via “eyeball analysis.” We were able to observe how Tropical Storm Debbie and Hurricane Isaac affected both air and water measurements. The graphs raised questions about how advection (currents) can change and affect water temperature at different depths before, during, and after storm events. It’s also possible to use the data to validate (or not!) the models currently being used for the Gulf of Mexico.

For me, the really interesting part is knowing that this data will be assimilated along with data from other sources, and used by other Deep-C researchers. Dr. Nico Wienders and Dr. Allan Clark are already talking about how this data will be used and reported at the upcoming Deep-C All-Hands Meeting this fall. It’s a fine feeling for me to leave knowing I was a part of the overall effort.

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Dana Fields (shown here with her mentor, Dr. Nico Wienders, at Florida State University)

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