Level three of observations

The art students of NoSoAT interpreted my MICROTOPS measurements as Stephanie merged with the sun bed. Indeed I have merged with this wanky floating hammock today. With the gusty winds and a swell of three meters, taking MICROTOPS measurements in it all of a sudden became a challenge. Luckily there are two minute breaks in between the sequences to...

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Time to start packing

A last view on our cloud imagers from above before I have to start packing the equipment. It is sad to stop here, but we have come a long way sampling cloud scenes along the Atlantic transect. We got them all - from marine stratus to icy cirrus. I can't wait to get back to the office to process the roughly 500.000 images of about 200 Gb. But the...

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On top of the world

The open ocean seems endless. Even more so when you climb up to the platform where the birds meet our instruments. With this view, one can easily imagine why whale watchers love this spot. I still hope to see whales when we get closer to Cape Town. If not I just have to come back and join Polarstern on one of their summer expeditions to...

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When shadows disappear

We passed 23 degree South today and found the sun zenith. The shadows of many things disappeared, including the one of chocolate Santa who had to pose in the heat for a photo shooting. Shortly thereafter he got eaten by cruel scientists. His shadow will stay hidden forever, while our ones will get longer again as we travel further south.


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St. Nicolaus found his way across the ocean

Life on a research vessel is quite different from any other experience in this world. Being here for the Christmas season makes it even more special. St. Nicolaus found his way to us tonight, giving us a sweet start in the morning - very much to our surprise, as absolutely no-one of us has even bothered to think about cleaning our shoes last...

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Last but not least

The fifth and last student group of NoSoAT has started our module today. During my introduction to remote sensing techniques and the atmosphere, we wanted to jump straight into measuring with our sun photometers. But the lack of sunshine made us shift our plans. We had a longer chat about clouds and a special cuppa instead. A cup of hot tea in the...

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One week to go

When the sun sets today, we have seven days left until our arrival in Cape Town. The list of things to do hardly becomes shorter. An open day with posters, talks and guided tours has to be prepared for an official reception at Polarstern in South Africa. The students of NoSoAT are asked to analyse some of the collected data for these...

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A beautiful day in the trades

The weather quickly changes on the ocean so that our three hourly satellite images onboard sometimes mislead us. For instance, looking at the satellite images yesterday morning promised some sunshine later in the day, but then the open cloud cells closed, leaving the sky overcast for the entire day. Today's conditions are much better for taking...

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Aerosol transect

The longest leg of our journey has been passed - time to make a first review of what we got. The MICROTOPS measurements gave a transect of the aerosol optical depth (AOD). As we approached the Intertropical Convergence Zone from the North, AOD increased. The maximum in AOD is likely associated with a mixture of Saharan dust and anthropogenic...

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Dolphins and robots behind the first door

Chocolate could not beat the gifts we have found in our giant advents' calendar today. Stepping out on deck this morning gave us a view on roughly fifty dolphins jumping synchronously through the waves right at the front of the vessel. Later the crew opened hidden doors to the mechanic heart of Polarstern, equipped with gigantic machines of the...

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This is MPI-M´s ship blog. Employees repeatedly travel aboard different research vessels to perform aerosol measurements. Here, they will share their experiences and let you have a glimpse of life aboard.


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Dr. Annette Kirk
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