Volcano tour on Terceira

This is neither “oceanography” nor “teaching”, but so much “adventure” that these pictures still deserve their spot on “Adventures in oceanography and teaching”. I did a tour into two (non-active ;-)) volcanoes and it was AMAZING!

Ask me anything! on October 18th #OceanAMA

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Hi! I am Mirjam. We are investigating ocean currents in a 13-m-diameter swimming pool that sits on a merry-go-round. Ask me anything!

I will be hosting an “Ask Me Anything” event!

I am a member of Elin Darelius’ team of scientists. We are investigating ocean currents near Antarctica — by doing scientific experiments in a 13-m-diameter rotating water tank in Grenoble, France. Ask me how experiments in water tanks can tell us something about ocean currents; how we usually observe ocean currents from ships; what it is like to work with an international team in a foreign country; how you become an ocean scientist; anything else you want to know! Looking forward to hearing from you! :-)

To ask me anything, you can either leave comments below or head over to my page on OceanAMA and ask questions there. I will be answering them from Grenoble on October 18th!

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Of a pool that sits on a merry-go-round and how we use it to investigate ocean circulation in Antarctica

You know I like tank experiments, but what I am lucky enough to witness right now is NOTHING compared to even my wildest dreams. Remember all the rotating experiments we did with this rotating table back in Bergen?

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Those were awesome, no question about that. But the rotating tank I am at now? 13 meters diameter.

Yes, you read that correctly. 13 METERS DIAMETER!

I’m lucky enough to be involved in Elin Darelius & team’s research project on topographically steered currents in Antarctica, and I will be blogging on her blog about it:

Follow the blog, or like us on Facebook!

In any case, don’t miss the opportunity to see what is going on in a tank this size:

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Yes, they are both INSIDE the tank. Elin (on the left) is sitting on the tank’s floor, Nadine (on the right) is climbing on the topography representing Antarctica. For more details, head over to the blog!

Discovering Google Earth Engine

Remember we did an expedition learning course in Kiel bight a while ago? I wish I had known about Google Earth Engine then already. Even without signing up (which I will do as soon as time permits) you have access to their timelapse: a global composite of satellite images, which results in a cloud-free 32-year video of the Earth’s surface. And the best feature: It’s zoomable! So you can look at your favourite beach (or any region of the world you are most interested in — disappearing rain forests? Growing cities? Shrinking glaciers? (Careful — there is some weird aliasing of the seasonal signal in there)).

For me, it’s obviously coast lines. And especially the beaches of Kiel bight: You see sand moving around and the beach shape changing to what we see today. What a great motivational intro for any course on coastal dynamics!

So super excited about finding this tool that I had to share immediately :-)

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Absolutely fascinating to watch: The German Maritime Search and Rescue Service’s tug driving up on one of their larger vessels. Good thing I volunteered to watch all our equipment at the Port of Maasholm when we were driving back from the teacher training at Lotseninsel and everybody else was on a later boat… ;-)

I only realized too late what was going on, so I didn’t get a movie, but the small boat sped up and just drove up the stern of the other boat. So cool!

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Teacher training at Lotseninsel

As I mentioned yesterday, I recently contributed to a teacher training on Lotseninsel, a tiny island on the Baltic Sea coast. The training was run by the Ozean:Labor of the Kieler Forschungswerkstatt, and we spent Friday to Sunday there. I’m going to show you some impressions of that weekend here.

At first, it did not look promising:

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We had to pack A LOT of equipment on a small boat in pouring rain to bring everything over to the island.

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After unpacking all that stuff, we went to test some instrumentation in the pouring rain. This is our cute ROV:

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In the evening, when all the teachers had arrived, we started with the workshops and continued until late in the night. Below you see two groups of teachers working on 3×3 m stretches of the beach, collecting plastic to map the pollution of the beach.

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The next day, the group was split up in two parallel groups. One doing stuff like this:

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The other group, in which I was involved, doing stuff like this:

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Obviously we had to do the melting ice cube experiment in a workshop on ocean physics!

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But Johanna and Dennis did tons of other cool stuff, too, like for example this demonstration of salt inflow events into the Baltic Sea:

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And again, the second time that same workshop was run in the afternoon for the second group of teachers. Amazing how quickly the weather changed!

 

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But of course our group also did some field work: Water sampling and then analysing nutrients, salinity, oxygen concentration…

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The next day, I got to see my first fish dissection. I know why I studied physics…

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I am not showing you the gory pics here because that’s not what we do on this blog ;-)

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Also really cool: Those are baleens, those filters that whales use! Never touched them before.

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But we also got some time to enjoy the weather and play with our equipment: Those are Jeannine, Dennis and Johanna, who I had the pleasure to work with. It was great fun!

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Even though the amazing weather only lasted for a short while, this is them arriving back on the main land with the last of three tours to shuttle everything back…

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But I had a great weekend! And if you haven’t yet, go back and look at the lighthouse on Lotseninsel. I could spend years there, taking pictures from different angles and in different weathers… So pretty :-)