New US Arctic vessel shipshape scientists report

first_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Email Seaman Sikuliaq reporting for duty, Captain. The low rumbling of the engine of the RV Sikuliaq was music to ocean scientists’ ears last week during a 23-day cruise to test how the newest addition to the U.S. oceanographic fleet handled icy seas. Starting from Dutch Harbor on the Aleutian island of Amaknak in Alaska, the ship ventured north into so-called ten-tenths sea ice—the name shiphands give to a sea ice coating that stretches to the horizon.The 80-meter-long Sikuliaq is not an icebreaker, but its hardened hull is rated to move through sea ice as thick as 0.8 m. And it “crunched” smoothly through ice it encountered during various trial procedures, reports chief scientist Carin Ashjian, a biological oceanographer from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Massachusetts. (The ship moved easily through 0.5 m-thick solid ice, but was stopped by stacked “rafting” ice that was 1.5 m thick. For images of the ship in action, see 1:53 in the video below.)center_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Other aspects of the $200 million ship’s facilities impressed the science crew aboard. Winches delivered sampling and sensory equipment smoothly in ice and water, and crews successfully exited the ship on foot to take samples from surrounding ice. Inside the nearly 3500-gross-ton vessel, large decks and spacious lab areas had scientists salivating. “She’s a great ship, and a great addition to the U.S. science fleet,” Ashjian says. The ship has about 24 berths for scientists, in addition to a crew of about 20, and has a range of about 30,000 kilometers.Previously, U.S. scientists have relied on the Coast Guard’s Healy icebreaker for access to the Arctic. Now, Sikuliaq will allow scientists to access icy areas during the fall and spring “shoulder seasons” that other existing vessels generally avoid. “She opens the southern parts of the Bering Sea during those times of year,” Ashjian says.WHOI oceanographer Sam Laney was particularly interested in the scientific possibilities that will allow. “Since people don’t get a lot of opportunities to come up here in the Bering Sea this early in the year, we don’t have a lot of data on what phytoplankton species are ‘early risers’, i.e., species that do especially well in early spring. These would be analogous to crocuses or daffodils on land: the plants that you see blooming earliest in the year,” he wrote in a blog post during the cruise.Laney tested some new sampling equipment during a foray with other scientists off the ship and onto the ice. A few graduate students took samples that might inform their dissertations, Ashjian says. But the real science will begin in July, when Sikuliaq finally begins research operations in icy seas during a fall cruise back to the edge of the sea ice.last_img read more