The Pacific Ocean may have entered a new warm phase - and the consequences could be dramatic - Washington Post
I hear that the Archean Earth
Spewed lava and was hot,
(While much later, “Snowball Earth,”
Apparently was not),
Some have said that life sprung out of
Photosynthesis seems likely
Based on carbon records, too.
Crust was forming, oceans warming,
Stromatolites came later,
(We have to wait a long, long time
for T-Rexes, Fish, and Gators)
The Prot’rozoic was really wild,
Stromatolites went crazy,
Our atmosphere gained oxygen,
The rest is a bit hazy.
and Banded-Iron formed;
Glacial stuff beneath cap carbs
Say Earth cooled and warmed.
Half a billion years ago
Is when it gets exciting …
Suddenly, life took a leap!
All living, breeding, fighting.
Brachs and Crinoids, Bryozoans,
Weirdo shells galore,
Nautiloids (like giant dunce caps)
Roamed the ocean floor.
Then disaster strikes them down,
(This happens four more times)
And we soon approach some names
That are difficult to rhyme.
Gondwana drifts to the South Pole,
and glaciers spread like malls,
The world was likely colder,
and sea level took a fall.
So ends the years of trilobites
(and the Ordovician)
But soon we get new forms of life,
And we can all go fishin’!
Finally the land joins in,
And starts to grow green stuff,
(are you still enjoying this,
or have you had enough?)
More death, more life, more death again,
While giant mountains grow,
(we think this lowered CO2,
but no one really knows).
The Carboniferous was lush,
(that’s where our coal is from!)
Amazing bugs and dinosaurs,
(though some say they were dumb).
Gymnosperms and vertebrates,
Then the grimmest death so far,
Then Triassic life recovered,
with reptiles big as cars.
We leave aragonitic seas behind
And move towards today,
Though continents were not in place,
(that great Tethys seaway).
About 100 million years ago
Deep sea carbonates abound,
So now the ocean’s buffered well,
(and planktics can be found!)
And THEN Earth has a real bad day,
An asteroid hits hard,
Fire-balls and darkened skies,
Life is burned and charred.
(Holy cow, this is quite long,
let’s finish it already!) …
was anything but steady.
It started hot, they also say
that CO2 was high;
Wimpy mammals take the lead,
(I hear that bats could fly).
Himalayas cause a ruckus,
We start to get some glaciers,
And cold, deep water flows.
From the Greenhouse to the Icehouse
Now we’re really getting chilly,
Then humans come along (that’s us)
and everything gets silly!
So there you have it, Earth through time,
History deep and long,
I surely skipped a lot of stuff,
And may have got some wrong.
I hope if you’re still reading
that your brain is not too vexed,
Now it’s time to face the future,
…. I wonder what is next!
See the geologic record.
This poem was first published on the author’s website on May 22, 2009.
This is one in a series of posts by Katherine Allen, a researcher in geochemistry and paleoclimate at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers University.
Several days ago we reached our main work areas along the margin of East Antarctica. Our expedition is relatively late in the season and the seas around Antarctica are starting to freeze. While the abundance of sea ice makes it more difficult to get to all of our research areas, the different shapes and forms of newly forming sea ice are a great visual experience. We also have a group of Australian scientists aboard the Palmer who are studying sea ice and sea ice formation using an unmanned aerial system or drone, so they are especially pleased by our icy experience.
Follow @FrankatSea for additional updates and images from the Southern Ocean.
We are less than a day away from our first study area on the continental shelf in front of the Dibble Glacier. As we approach Antarctica we are starting our science program with a 4500 meter deep CTD and multibeam acquisition. The CTD is used to determine the conductivity, temperature and depth of the ocean, while the multibeam maps large swaths of the seafloor from the ship.
The main goal of our project is to investigate the continental shelf in front of different glaciers along East Antarctica. We want to find out what the water depths and the water properties are in front of these glaciers and ice streams. Deep troughs and connections between the glaciers and the open ocean could allow “warmer” ocean waters to reach the ice front and result potentially in melting of the ice. We are especially interested to compare the situation in front of different glaciers along East Antarctica to better understand the differences between them. Many of these areas are poorly charted, if at all. So we are all excited to discover what is there!
Follow @FrankatSea for additional updates and images from the Southern Ocean.
Day 3 sunset
Day 4 sunset
There is a bizarre foggy mist across the entire surface of the ocean.
This was a huge cargo vessel off in the distance. I know it isn't a sunrise or sunset but its a sweet pic.
Day 6 sunrise with a storm front in the distance.
Panorama of Day 6 sunrise.
Porthole sunset with my refection.
First bit of sunset color directly off the bow of the Endeavor.
about 20mins later....
A look at all the instrumentation on the bridge of the R/V Endeavor.
The full moon as it shines over the ocean water! Creepy!
The OBS retrieval at night! One of the crew members installed a light at the end of the hook to aid in the equipment capturing process.
This picture was take from the bridge of the Endeavor. It is the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship at ~0300 during an OBS retrieval. This picture is ~2 miles away from the Quantum of the Sea cruise ship and is as close as the Endeavor can legally pass another large ocean vessel under maritime law. The bright celestial object overhead is Jupiter.
This photo shows the Endeavor docked at port just before we embarked on this high seas adventure. The first evening we went to a chinese restaurant called 7 moons. By the time we arrived back at the shipyard the gate had been pulled shut and appeared to be locked and was topped with plenty of barbed wire. After some deep thought our highly intelligent group realized that it was pulled closed and all we had to do was roll it open haha. There is a geophysicists joke embedded in that experience.
This is the WHOI crew carefully bringing the OBS back onto the ship. Hard hats and life preservers are required when on deck during retrieval operations. The OBS in this photo is hanging down beneath the orange apparatus.
As the Endeavor aligns itself with the OBS in the ocean currents at night the WHOI crew get in position to capture the Ocean Bottom Seismometer.
After a successful OBS capture the WHOI crew quickly disassembles the OBS and prepares it to be stacked with the other equipment that is strongly secured to the surface of the deck.
This shows the spotlight at night. It is used to help orient the ship alongside the OBS in the pitch black darkness of the night at sea. We have also thankfully had the full moon over the last few days to assist us in finding the OBS once it pops up to the surface.
This lovely burry image is the spot light as it tracks the OBS. The spotlight is extremely useful once the OBS is within several ship lengths of distance.
The OBS is starting to get closer now....
Full moon over a perfect OBS recovery.
Hammock in the middle of the night!
You can really get a good feel for spotting the OBS at night in this picture. It is obviously a ship length or two off the starboard bow.
Dr. Maureen Long and one of the crew members race each other to safety!
Graduate Student intern Colton Lynner is almost unrecognizable once the survival suit is fully on. Only the last troublesome step up zipping up to go before full emersion can take place.
Graduate Student intern Terry Cheiffetz struggles with the final zipper step as well.
Dr. Maggie Benoit looks like she wants to really know how to put on the survival gear in case of emergency or... she can't believe she has to participate in these fun shenanigans.
The final product appears to be both fashionable and comfortable. We would interview the model in this photo but he declined to comment....hopefully next years model will have a mouth hole haha!
Using the restroom at sea can be challenging at times...... especially when the seas unexpectedly turn on you while you are trying to take a shower. It is basically an unexplainable balancing act.
This lovely area is where we gather for three amazing meals a day and get an opportunity to socialize with some of the various crew members aboard the ship.
Maggie has about a million movies to choose from. They are an ancient technology called VHS used a long, long time ago....
The science deck is the room where all the magic happens. Everything from running the burn sequences on the OBS's to recalculating the surfacing locations due to variable ocean currents occurs here. The amount of technology on the Endeavor is impressive.
This 20 second video clip show just how dangerous life at sea can be! As the Endeavor rolls from one side to the next there is little to no warning as waves crash up and over onto the deck. Thankfully I was able to escape up the stairs to a somewhat dryer deck where the mist from the cresting waves and the wind were the only things able to assault my senses. The dangers out in the open on the ship at night are only multiplied by these variables.
Since the ship travels at ~10 kts between each OBS waypoint which can produce transit times as long as 12 hours and the weather isn't alway dreary the interns have a fair share of free time on the ship to explore around and lounge about.
Checking to see if the internet wants to semi-work. I think Sampath knows he is in this picture.
Dr. Maureen Long creating a short cut to the relocated OBS equipment.
(Terry- I found two hammocks up on top of the ship perfect for some afternoon chill time haha. It also serves as a perfect vantage point when trying to find the OBS's when they reach the surface because the wave height and reflection of the sun off the water make it difficult to spot at times.)
From left to right: Sampath Rathnavaka, Sumant Jha, Gillean Arnoux, Colton Lynner and Terry Cheiffetz.
After days of rough seas we all managed to gather up on the deck to take a group photo. The five of us are proud to be on the Research Vessel Endeavor and to finally have our sea legs. The Endeavor works around the clock out at sea and we worked in pairs on the following shift schedule, 0800-1600. 1600-2400, and 2400-0800. Each group had a PI in charge of their shift. The WHOI team was primarily in control of the extraction of the OBS in the rough seas due to the danger on deck and the sensitivity of the equipment.
The WHOI crew capturing an OBS in rough seas just prior to sunset.
A short video of an OBS retrieval on the R/V Endeavor*WARNING* This video video contains a lot of ups, downs and what have you's. Viewing is not recommended for the land based geoscientist!
This is a short video showing the Endeavor orienting itself alongside the OBS before the WHOI crew pulls it out of the water. It is clearly visible that both waves and weather play a major role when trying to retrieve the equipment from the ocean.
A high resolution photo of the OBS on the starboard side of the endeavorSampath Rathnavaka (left) and Terry Cheiffetz (right)Graduate student interns are excited to locate the OBS on the surface after waiting over an hour as the instrument made its transit through the water column.
It is only a matter of time before your feet get soaking wet out on the deck. The ocean only likes to do this though if you are wearing tennis shoes instead of waterproof boots!
Its a mechanical sea turtle!