Time to wrap up

We reach the harbour of Bahia de Las Mias tomorrow morning. It is time for writing our cruise report and packing the instruments. We have come a long way from Cape Verde to Panama. During the transit, we have collected a great dataset of clouds and aerosols measurements. The data captures many cumulus clouds in the typical easterly winds. It will...

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How to fly to a cloud

Science is about having ideas and the courage for trying. It would be fantastic to fly into the shallow cumulus clouds for in-situ measurements without much effort and little perturbation of the environmental conditions with the instrument. While dreaming about it, I had the idea of using a quadcopter for in-situ measurements of the cloud and,...

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The robots in the basement

Living on board a ship is special in many ways. During a tour in the machine rooms in the basement of the Maria S. Merian, we have learned about the fantastic engineering work that enables our research on the ocean. We have seen robots with eyes and big noisy machines connected by wires and tubes. They produce things we take for granted on land,...

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Approaching Barbados

We received our approval for measuring in the national waters of Barbados just in time and set course towards the island last night. Our aim was measuring the clouds that later reach the Barbados cloud observatory. The Merian therefore approached the site with the direction of the wind twice, lasting 30 minutes each. The cloud imagers and the...

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Robots of the ocean

Anja Schneehorst from the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency brought six brand-new floats for the tropical Atlantic. The floats have about 20 kg such that we need the support of a crew member for deploying them. Once in the water, the floats are autonomously operating in the ocean. These robots measure the temperature and salinity in the...

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How to improve the weather forecast

The science technicians aboard launch weather balloons for the German Weather Service and today I have the opportunity of letting the balloon fly. Seeing the balloon disappear in the blue sky still has something magical for me, although the simple idea of attaching a little box with a temperature, humidity and pressure sensor on a balloon is not...

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The instrument doctor

The big cloud imager is still getting too hot in the afternoon. In the absences of the sun at night and the shade of the ship in the morning, the imager is ok. But as soon as the sun shines on it, the instrument gets a fever. To prevent the imager from a heat stroke, I already attached an extra cooling and got a little sun shield for the heat...

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Clean air

We expect clean air at sea, but we do not exactly know how clean the air really is in most remote ocean regions like the central Atlantic. That is why we daily measure the amount of aerosol in the atmosphere. For doing so, we brought three sun photometers and started inter-comparing the instruments by parallel measurements. The sun photometers...

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A flock of tropical sheep

We are in the tropics with light easterly trade winds for the second advent. Watching the launch of the weather ballon this morning indicates low-level winds with a speed and direction similar to the vessel. The sky has many small cumulus clouds at low altitudes. In German, we sometimes call these clouds “Schäfchenwolken” or “Schönwetterwolken”...

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Our Cloud Lab

All our cloud instruments on FS Maria S. Merian are reliably measuring. We have installed a ceilometer that measures the cloud base height with a light beam and cloud imagers that record photos of the sky in visible and infrared wavelengths. The ceilometer and the cloud-imager system have been in operation since my last expedition in November...

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