Snowy end to Leg I

Latitude: 61°48′ N
Longitude: 005°54′ W
Air temperature: 6.7°C
Wind: 14 knots, south-west
by Michael St John, Seniour Scientist onboard FS METEOR

FS METEOR under snow near Faroe Islands.© C.Lindemann, DTU Aqua

Greetings from Meteor docked in Thorshavn, Faroe Islands. Here we are just finishing off our first circuit around the triangle. The weather gods have been relatively friendly, we have missed but a few hours due to rough seas which is rather surprising. To give you an idea, last night we had snow on the deck leading some to test their snowball skills, but again, no big seas.

The night before we took a wave over the back deck that twisted the big metal frame of the MOCNESS. The power of water is truly amazing! It seems every time we get close to the side of the boat, Neptune has a greeting for us. This is now an expected by all on board. I guess he does not want to give up his secrets without a comment or two. Anyway, we can hope for more friendly weather for the next leg, but as we all know this can be a stormy time of the year. Continue reading


Laser counting in bouncy seas

Latitutde: 60°18′ N
Longitude: 001°00′ E
Water temperature: 7.6
Sea state: waveheight 1.5 meters
by Sunnje Basedow, aboard FS Meteor

Over the last 48 hours we have crossed the Faroe-Shetland Channel, and are relatively sheltered by the Shetland Islands to the west of us.

Waves crashing over the side is a regular event while sampling the North Atlantic.

Continue reading

MOCNESS ‘monster’ released over the stern

Latitude: 62°48′ N
Longitude: 002°30′ W
by Anneke Denda, onboard FS METEOR


Zooplankton drift passively with the currents, and although most are less than 2 cm in size, their grazing on marine algae transfers significant amounts of carbon away from the surface, and contact with the atmosphere.

MOCNESS samples

What lives at what depth? MOCNESS zooplankton samples, down with depth (left to right)
©Anneke Denda

On this cruise we are aiming to pinpoint at what depth zooplankton concentrate, while waiting for the spring bloom to occur.

Our tool of choice is a Double-MOCNESS (Multiple Opening and Closing Net and Environmental Sensing System): a net system with 2 x 9 nets of 333 μm mesh size and a net mouth opening of 1m2.

Continue reading

From Clouds to Ocean Floor

Latitude: 61°24′ N
Longitude: 011°06′ W
Time: 19:00 GMT
by Chris Lindemann, aboard the FS METEOR

Today we paid a visit to the meteorological station on board, operated by the German Weather Service (Deutscher Wetter Dienst, DWD). DWD releases helium-filled weather balloons to measure atmospheric temperature, humidity and pressure high above our heads.

Continue reading

On location

Latitutde: 61°30′ N
Longitude: 011°00′ W
Time: 0600 GMT
Water temp.: 8.6 degree C
by Ivo Grigorov, EURO-BASIN Project Office

The sun sets over TARA`s mission, as FS METEOR settles in the sampling area for the next 4 weeks.©Vincent Hilaire, TARA Oceans

As, the TARA Sailing Vessel has wrapped up its TARA Oceans two-and-half-year mission, and ‘Abyss’ film director and National Geographic Explorer, James Cameron, has become only the third man to reach the deepest part of the ocean, diving to the Mariana Trench, FS METEOR settles in the ‘Deep Convection’ sampling area south-west of the Faroe Islands.

Seniour scientist aboard, Michael St John, says: ‘We have arrived in pre-spring bloom conditions, still have deep convection and we have diapausing Calanus as desired! This is really exciting. The team works is well connected. The best cruise I have be on so far!’ (FS METEOR`s current position).
Continue reading

The Atlantic stirs up

TARA position: N 44°00′, W 016°42
FS METEOR position:
N 53°30′, W 012°42′

Time: 02:00 GMT
by Ivo Grigorov, EURO-BASIN Project Office

Tara in 40 knot winds

40 knot winds hit TARA`s position, 300 n.miles west of Galicia, Spain, as FS METEOR steams north towards Deep Convection sampling station.

As FS METEOR leaves the position of the TARA320 nautical miles west of Galicia, Spain, and head north towards the sampling area, TARA hits 40-50 knots winds. The low atmospheric depression was not only expected, but wished for.

TARA is currently wrapping up her last station of the 2.5 yrs TARA OCEANS Expedition before entering the port of Lorient, France, on 31 March.
Continue reading

A “dry” run

Latitude: 49°24′ N
Longitude: 013°30′ W
Time: 18:00 GMT
Weather: warm Sea state: calm
Station: Test Station
by Chris Lindemann, DTU-Aqua

At 18:00 we arrived at Test Station. Because we had to unravel the 4 000 meter long winch wire on the after-deck, we needed to choose a very deep station. Due to the good weather conditions, we could test some other gear too. First we verified that the Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) is well balanced and can maintain a stable flight when submerged. Continue reading


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.
Continue reading

All hands on deck

Latitude: 42°11` N
Longitude: 011°44` W
Time: 15:00 GMT
by Chris Lindemann

Linda Holste from University of Hamburg engrossed by the multiple closing zooplankton nets.
© Chris Lindemann (DTU-Aqua)

2ndday on the Atlantic: Today the sun greets us on another day of preparations. With little wind and hardly any waves, it almost feels like a summer cruise, although we are heading north towards a chosen location to test the gear.

Before the final preparations of all the equipment, we meet in small teams to determine everyone`s needs for samples and laboratory space. Making sure everyone gets the samples volumes they need, with the right equipment and at the time of day, or night, is like fitting together a complex jigsaw.
Continue reading

Setting sail for rough weather

Latitude: 38° 44` North
Longitude: 009° 9` West (Lisbon Harbour)

by Mike St John, Seniour Scientist aboard FS METEOR

After two days of loading FS METEOR, the scientific crew stayed on board for the first night. A good breakfast this morning at 7:30 started a day of setting up and reorganising the different laboratories. Almost everything is in place now. Continue reading