Resplendent …..

….. in the setting sun.

There is one thing that brings cheer to the heart of those that go to sea, and especially those that work in the deep “blue water” oceans …… and that is the sun –

either rising for those working the long night shifts

or setting for those working the long day shifts.

And there is nothing like seeing a wonderfully crafted, colour-coded, ready-to-go instrument sitting on deck either.

Test platform number 1 – with new deep seabed pressure measuring system attached is ready-to-go.

In the background of this image is what is known as a CTD carousel.

CTD stands for conductivity, temperature, depth – and those are the primary things the sensor packages strapped to the bottom of the frame measure, and that oceanographers want to measure to understand not only how water flows across the planet, but also what is in that water chemically, since from these measurements we can work out salinity.

There are also sensors to match how turbid, or opaque, the water is; how far above seabed the carousel is and a few other bits and bobs.

But the bulk of the system comprises 24 bottles – Nansen-Niskin bottles is their full name, named after the Norwegian Polar explorer Fridtjof Nansen who led the first crossing of Greenland on cross-country skis in 1888 amongst other polar expeditions, and later became a zoologist studying nervous systems of lower marine creatures, before becoming an oceanographer and contributing to the development of some of the types of equipment still in use today – including of course – the Nansen bottle, which was later updated by Shale Niskin.

These Nansen-Niskin bottles are a very clever way of sampling sea water at specific depths as the whole system is lowered down and up through the water column, making sure water is only collected at the depth specified and nowhere else.

But to us – nothing beats an ocean-bottom seismograph sitting on deck against a backdrop of the setting sun, waiting to be deployed.

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