METEOR! This is TARA.

Latitude: 45°18′ N
Longitude: 013°06′ W
Time: 09:00 GMT
by Ivo Grigorov, from the EURO-BASIN Project Office

Stéphane Pesant, Chief Scientist on the last TARA Oceans Expedition, and collaborator on the EURO-BASIN "Deep Convection" Cruise
© Vincent Hilaire, TARA Oceans

This morning, on its way to the sampling location north of the Faroe Islands, FS METEOR passed just 200 nautical miles east of TARA`s position. The 36 meter, two-mast sailing vessel is on its last oceanographic mission of the TARA OCEANS expedition, and performing one the last experiments on that mission.

The Chief Scientist, Stéphane Pesant contacted FS METEOR via email to inform the scientific party of his plans. Although the two vessels will sample different parts of the North Atlantic, the objective is the same: arrive before the spring phytoplankton bloom and observe the transition from winter to spring.

What both missions are hoping to witness is “Deep Convection” of surface water. The TARA team has “labelled” a parcel of the ocean with a free-floating buoy, and is monitoring it for several days. Conditions are calm at the moment, but the hopes are that a weather depression will stir the surface ocean and stir surface waters to depth of 250 meters or more. The key question both expeditions will try to answer is what happens to the phytoplankton metabolism when surface waters plunge to depths when there is no light, but there are more nutrients.

Stéphane Pesant and the TARA crew are not waiting for the weather depression. They are already simulating “deep convection” conditions in the wet labs of the TARA, by using CTD Rosette water samples and incubating them in the dark.

The scientific party on FS METEOR are hoping to witness “deep convection” further north in just a few days.

Sea Surface Temperature
for the last 7 days
©NEODAAS/PML/NERC
Taking a breather between hectic sampling aboard the TARA
©V.Hilaire, TARA Oceans
CTR Rosette deployment on the TARA sailing vessel
©V. Hilaire, TARA Oceans

Additional resources:
Lesson Plans:
Why is Oceanography important? (K3-5) by National Geographic link
The Ocean: our Global Connector (K6-8) by National Geographic link

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