11 September, 1997

We're continuing to make our way south and reached our lowest latitude, about 68 degree's north, as the sun was setting. Since there is no ice, we can travel at 17 knots and hardly feel the motion through the calm water. Last month at this time I was on the RV Able-J doing a project in the Gulf of Maine. Except for the colder air, the ocean appears very similar, at least above the surface. I compared data of water temperatures below the surface from each cruise and found they were drastically different. Here, the water temperature gets warmer as depth increases while in the lower latitudes it gets colder. Since cold water is more dense than warm, the surface water here is constantly sinking while in the Gulf of Maine it is floating on top of the bottom water. This made me wonder if there is a greater transport of gases and parcticulate matter into the water in the Arctic. We have a group that does water chemistry at every station, my project for tomorrow will be to look at their data and see if it gives me a clue.

Temperature profiles of polar vs. temperate waters

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