Swimming drones and new technology at NORCE

Swimming drones and cables that can measure everything from temperature to traffic intensity? Robots that can swim down and collect data from deployed instruments… and charge the batteries while it’s there? Souns like science fiction, but it is all happening at NORCE! Yesterday we visited Anne Hageberg and her colleagues at the marine technology department to learn about all the exciting stuff that they are developing. If things work out we will bring some of them on the next student cruise in March. That would indeed be cool!

Swimming drone I – the drone can be loaded with sensors and then programmed to swim where you want it to go… or controlled manually, if you prefer.

Swimming drone II – this demo-drone will hopefully soon be able to avoid crashing into things.

Passion for Ocean 2019

I wonder if the cashier reacted to my somewhat strange shopping list last Saturday morning: 1 kg of salt, three kilos of ice and a bottle of food coloring. Had he asked, I’d gladly have told him that I was on my way to “Passion for ocean”, a festival showing off everything that Bergen has to offer that’s related to the ocean; food, music, fishes, starfish, aquariums, organizations, activities, kayaks, boats – and off course research and science!

Nadine and I joined up with Ingunn Skelvan and students from GFI in the Bjerknes Centre tent to set up our demonstrations – it was quite a challenge in the strong wind!

 

Ingunn showed to anyone interested how blowing (CO2) into seawater lowers the pH (which causes the pH-indicator in the water to change color). When the pH in the ocean decreases it is more difficult for organisms in the water to build their shells.

What balloon will explode first when hold over an open flame? The one filled with water or the one filled with air?

Since the heat capacity of water is much higher than that of air, the water balloon will not get nearly as warm as the air balloon (and hence not explode). That’s also why the water in the lake doesn’t heat up as quickly as the air when the sun is out – and why the majority of the heat that the earth is accumulating due to our emissions of CO2 is stored in the ocean.

 

Nadine had a more difficult question for the visitors: If you put an ice cube in a glass of sea water and one in a glass of sea water – which one will melt first? Do you know? You can try at home – or visit  Mirjam’s blog to find  out!

Ladies of the ring – Art and science

Imagine yourself wandering around a lake on an early autumn morning, where the mist forms a silky layer over the calm water surface. You watch the fog and wonder how it can create such a mystic mood. A light breeze comes up and the fog starts dancing on the water surface. You like this dance and start blowing more air over the surface to create turbulence. The mist in front of you suddenly wakes up and performs a beautiful dance in the wind over the water.

As part of my PhD program, I – Nadine – recently participated in the summer school FDSE at École Polytechnique in Paris. During those very intense and instructive two weeks of fluid dynamics from atmospheric dynamics to oceanography, glaciology and renewable energy, we also had a short project on quite an unusual topic: Arts! Organized by LadHyX (LadHyX), we dived into the world of arts, where the interplay of water, mist and air inspired our creativity and the perception of reality. Within little time, we made this movie of the shadow of mist dancing over water.

 

Icebergs for children – and everyone else!

I stumbled over this masterpiece on twitter and I thought I’d share it with you: a book for children explaining the origin and fate of an Antarctic iceberg! Illustraed by amazing pieces of art, nicely told, scientifically correct and on top of all freely available at https://joidesresolution.org/activities/iceberg-of-antarctica-book/ !

The author/artist Marlo Gansworthy joined a Polarstern cruise to the iceberg alley a few years back – and now we can all enjoy the result! Download and be amazed together with your children (or on your own!) . You can read her blog from the expedition and find more of her art here!

 

Getting prepared for emergencies

Going on a scientific cruise is mostly exciting, interesting and fun, but it is also linked to risks.
I participated in a survival suit course that prepares us for emergencies on the ship during which we have to use floating suites and life rafts to survive in cold waters far away from help. During the training we learned how to handle the suits, swim in them, build formations to stay close together and how to enter a life raft that contains all survival equipment. It was a lot of fun and we are now well prepared for our next cruise!

Awesome outreach collaborations to continue: We won a Bjerknes Visiting Fellowship 2018!

We are excited and grateful for a great opportunity for continued collaboration that has recently presented itself: Elin won a Bjerknes Visiting Fellowship 2018 for me (Mirjam) to visit Elin and the rest of her team in Bergen for a month in 2018!

We have several goals for that visit, but the main one is to develop more hands-on experiments (which we lovingly call “kitchen oceanography”), which parents, teachers, and other educators can use to get children excited about oceanography (and obviously for the grown-ups to play with, too :-)). Between Elin and me, we do already have a lot of experiments which we use regularly and recommend (for Elin’s, check out this site, and mine are here). But we would love to bring them in a different format so that they are easy to find and use, and are well integrated with the ekte data project. And then, obviously, we want to let everybody in Bergen (and all of our faithful readers) know where to find the experiments, and how to use them in science communication.

So plenty of stuff to stay tuned for! We’ll absolutely keep you posted on our progress on here!

Scrolling back memory lane: Reminiscing of rotation

Hei, remember we were in Grenoble and did exciting experiments on the 13-m-dimeter pool on a merry-go-round only last autumn? Feels like a long time ago already. But here are two ways for you to scroll back memory lane:

  1. Check out the new way we’ve created to access to Elin & her team’s previous adventures on our “previous adventures” page. Did you know we have posts in English, Norwegian and Swedish, addressing audiences from primary school kids, over high school pupils, to teachers, our fellow oceanographers and friends and family? Quite impressive how much Elin has written over the years, and fascinating to read, too! And also check out her ongoing adventures like the student cruise to Bjørnafjorden!

2. Read the award-winning* poem below which I just found somewhere in my files. Yes, we did feel not quiiiite well when we were working on the platform at high rotation rates, but we still loved the whole experience, every minute of it! 🙂

*Yes, this poem really won an award in a competition run by @IAmSciComm on Twitter back in October. And here is the awesome bag and sea horse card we won 🙂

We discovered a new galaxy! Or at least a very pretty vortex

When we move our wall back and forth, we create very strong wing tip vortices that persist for quite a long time.

Above, you see the vortex, lit by a laser sheet close to the surface. You can see the whole column rotating as one, that bright smudge below the swirl is the lower part of the column. There are so many of our neutrally buoyant particles in there that the column looks bright even though it isn’t directly lit by the laser.

And in the picture above, you see those bright smudges on the left of the picture? That’s particles that the vortex hoovered up and then dumped in its path, pretty much like a hurricane would.

And that’s what it looks like as a gif:

Visit of VIPs for the opening of the “Fête de la Science”

“Fête de la Science” is a national event that promotes French science to the general public and gives access to research institutes and laboratories, including hands-on experiments, activities for the whole family and screening of movies. LÉGI is an important contributor for the region Isère and welcomed many important French people at the opening of the event on Thursday.

Here you can see the big crowd squeezed onto the surrounding platforms gazing at the rotating Coriolis tank, while Samuel and the director of the laboratory explained what kind of experiments they conduct in the lab. Unfortunately the tank was not filled with water yet, but the topography for our experiments that will start next week was mounted in the tank.

The laboratory with the Coriolis platform was filled with people glazing at the rotating platform during the opening of the “Fête de la Science”.

Among the visitors there were also journalists that interviewed Céline afterwards. It was screened on the local TV channel France3 and is available online: http://france3-regions.francetvinfo.fr/auvergne-rhone-alpes/emissions/jt-1920-alpes.

A short translation of what the journalists says in the beginning and what Céline explains about the background of the experiment:

Journalist: It looks like a big merry-go-round. Its name is Coriolis. With 13-m diameter, it’s the largest platform of its kind in the world. People come from all around the world to use it. Here, Swedish scientists are preparing their experiments that they will perform with a lot of instrumentation and nearly 1m of water height. They are studying the melting of Antarctic glaciers.

Céline: « Once the glaciers have melted, and have produced a relatively fresh water, what does this freshwater do ? To which depth does it sink, where does it go to, how does it mix with the rest of the water column, and which consequences does that have on the whole global ocean circulation ? »