Zodiac, Blizzard, Iceberg

It’s 7 a.m. and I’m just sitting down to write about yesterday. I can scarcely remember the emergency glider recovery that Dr. Josh Kohut and Eli Hunter put into motion at 2:30 a.m. yesterday morning. Then the clouds descended and the wind picked up, and the chief mate closed the decks, keeping us all inside for safety.

A brief calm spell took hold in the afternoon as the sky brightened and petrels and albatrosses gathered around our ship. People gathered at the bow, cameras raised, admiring an iceberg in the near distance.

Back in the Dry Lab, Dr. Kohut realized that Bruce Huber’s mooring was uncomfortably close to the massive berg. After narrowly getting Bruce’s instruments back during an all-nighter on Jan. 25, it seemed only fitting to pull another one tonight. As the wind regained its strength, the marine technicians readied their grapples, boathooks, coils of line, and winch cables for a soggy recovery. Read on through the slideshow to see the sights from our day:

Over the last 30 hours we’ve seen some stark reversals in the weather—the wind has gone from stiff to slack and back to blasting with barely a pause. But you don’t have to take my word for it: instruments on the ship keep track of wind speed continuously.

In fact, as we were marveling over the way the weather kept changing its mind, some of the scientists couldn’t contain their curiosity any longer and decided to graph the data:

Can you read this graph? It’s actually tracks our day pretty well. Wind speed is graphed on the vertical axis and time is on the horizontal axis. So as the day went on you can see that there was a really windy period followed by a weird, short calm spell. After that the wind built again.

Can you follow along with the events I described in the slide show and match them to the periods of wind and calm shown in this graph?

Many thanks to Eli Hunter for plotting the wind speeds.

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About Hugh Powell

Hugh is a staff writer at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and is on special assignment with the Rutgers University Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences. He has previously written for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

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