NASA - NASA Voyage Set to Explore Link Between Sea Saltiness and Climate
A NASA-sponsored expedition is set to sail to the North Atlantic's saltiest spot...SPURS scientists aboard the research vessel Knorr leave Sept. 6 from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, Mass., and head toward a spot known as the Atlantic surface salinity maximum, located halfway between the Bahamas and the western coast of North Africa. The expedition also is supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Science Foundation.16: R/V KNORR, an Introduction : Denmark Strait
The researchers will spend about three weeks on site deploying instruments and taking salinity, temperature and other measurements, before sailing to the Azores to complete the voyage on Oct. 9.
They will return with new data to aid in understanding one of the most worrisome effects of climate change -- the acceleration of Earth's water cycle. As global temperatures go up, evaporation increases, altering the frequency, strength, and distribution of rainfall around the planet, with far-reaching implications for life on Earth.
"What if the drought in the U.S. Midwest became permanent? To understand whether that could happen we must understand the water cycle and how it will change as the climate continues to warm," said Raymond Schmitt, a physical oceanographer at Woods Hole and principal investigator for SPURS. "Getting that right is going to involve understanding the ocean, because the ocean is the source of most of the water."
Length: 279 feet (85m)
Gross weight: 2,518 tons
Range: 12,000 nautical miles
Fuel capacity: 160,500 gallons
Propulsion: two diesel-electric stern thrusters, 1,500 SHP each