In his next post, Gavin Tilstone from the Plymouth Marine Laboratory details his next leg of the journey through the Atlantic as part of the AMT4 OceanSatFlux project, supported by ESA.
After a couple of weeks of storms, the ocean has become like glass with a slow undulating ripple. The ship cuts through the oily slick effortlessly, creating a flutter of flying fish as they glide and bounce like skimmer stones on the smooth surface. At the pre-dawn sampling station, they are attracted to the rosette and CTD as the deck lights lure zooplankton to the surface.
We are steaming from the great desert of the North Atlantic Gyre towards the Equator –passing close to Cape Verde. A lone swallow ambles on the bow keeping up with its temporary floating roost. Each day, there is evidence of old gold and orange-coloured dust covering the Bow. With the ship facing head to wind, layers of dust turn the ship’s steel green super structure into a Bedouin mosaic. The white filters in our atmospheric particle sampler have become like a doormat of sand.
The dust originates from the African Sahara, the extent of which we can be seen in the satellite imagery ...