News from the Southern Ocean

A drop in the ocean

Scientists in the Southern Ocean have set up a blog – A Drop in the Ocean that details their research into ocean mixing. Dr Katy Sheen, a NOC oceanographer is posting daily reports about life and work onboard the RRS James Clark Ross

Back in 2009 a chemical tracer dye was released into the South Pacific Ocean. Oceanographers have been monitoring how this tracer has been spread, mixed and transported by the strong currents that circulate Antarctica. This will be the last expedition of the DIMES project, an international series of research expeditions that follow the extent of movement through the water column and across the ocean.

These measurements provide insights into Southern Ocean physics which will help scientists to decipher how quickly the ocean is able to absorb heat and carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. It is a crucial step in understanding what regulates our Earth’s climate.

Katy Sheen will also be making a short documentary about the trip, aimed at encouraging more school students into pursuing a career in science. In June she plans to visit several schools across the UK to showcase the film and talk about her experiences.

RRS James Clark Ross