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Exploring the Gulf of Mexico with Dr. Sheli: Ready to Go


We are at the dock aboard the RV Pelican at Cocoderie, Louisiana.  We are hurrying to take off since there is bad weather approaching and we want to get to sea and try to do some work before we have to run for cover of the coast.

Science: Observing the weather.  

It looks good but the forecasts are predicting 8-12 ft seas off the coast. YIKES!!! Here is what I’m seeing outside.  Remember what Beaufort says and see if you can tell me what # we are on the scale.

Weather is different at sea but not unlike being in many South Dakota locations.  There is nothing to hide behind when it’s windy.  Even more difficult at sea is staying in one place.  The ocean is moving under your boat and the air is moving around you….both pushing you…..sometimes in opposite directions.

So it is important to understand weather at sea.  First is how do you gauge the wind by looking at what is happening around you.  Francis Beaufort codified how we describe wind at sea.  The Beaufort Scale is named after him.  I’ve included several different takes on the Beaufort Scale.   You can even use one of them to figure out the wind right outside the school.

Each day I will send photos of the sea state, the flags and the weather for you and your kids.  You guys can judge where the weather sits on the Beaufort and compare it to what is happening right outside your door.


Engineering: How do we survey when its too deep for us?

Humans rarely go below 250ft underwater the pressure and the affects of gases dissolving in our blood is too great.  We go deeper either by using submarines or vehicles we can control from the surface.  Before we can leave all of the equipment must talk to one another for the ROV to successfully carry out all the tasks and lots of special apparatus must be constructed to insure we can retrieve science experiments and deploy experiments.

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