Virtual Field Trip: Back to the Surface with Schmidt Ocean Institute & NASA
February 1, 2017, 2pm Eastern
For this cruise Schmidt Ocean Institute joins forces with NASA aboard the R/V Falkor to examine surface-level particle interaction between the air and sea, particularly the composition and distribution of particles in the ocean. Ocean particles include a generic mix of materials from terrestrial dust to fecal pellets to marine debris and microplastics all mixed together with phytoplankton. How these mixtures of matter are composed and distributed influences ocean ecosystem dynamics and the ocean's role in processes like carbon and nutrient cycling. If scientists can better describe and quantify ocean particles then they can generate better predictions about a range of processes including climate change, eutrophication, and ocean acidification - all issues explored in EarthEcho Expeditions.
Central to this cruise aboard the Falkor is the ability to validate remote-sensing data, like that from satellite imagery, with direct sampling of ocean particles through real time measurement of particle size and composition in seawater. Ground-truthing the information that satellites can provide will improve accuracy in remote sensing estimates of marine particle size distributions which has implications for climatologists, oceanographers, and other scientists throughout the world who are modeling or investigating global processes.
The virtual field trip will give students an opportunity to learn more about how NASA connects the tools of space with the tools for ocean exploration as well as how ocean particles, phytoplankton in particular, provide essential information about climate change. EarthEcho International will facilitate an interactive discussion between scientists aboard the Falkor and classrooms with 2-3 classrooms featured on-camera.