And We're Off: Arctic Ocean Diaries No. 1

| Mon Oct. 8, 2012 6:51 PM EDT

USCGC Healy in port at Dutch Harbor, Unalaska.

Last Friday the US Coast Guard icebreaker Healy sailed from the gorgeous shelter of Dutch Harbor, Unalaska, in the Aleutian Islands, bound north for the Arctic Ocean.

Healy is a research vessel carrying 38 science crew on this cruise. I'm working with Jeremy Mathis, a chemical oceanographer, and his lab, from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He's collaborating with Bob Pickart from WHOI (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution), a physical oceanographer. They're jointly investigating how a changing climate might be affecting the chemistry of ocean and atmosphere in the Arctic. I'll write more about that later.

But for now we're just hunkering down while Healy makes the 1,000-mile long transit from Dutch Harbor through the Bering and Chukchi Seas to the first research stations in the Beaufort Sea. We should arrive after three days, depending on weather. You can check out the view from Healy's Bridge from this webcam, which updates hourly.

So far the Bering Sea is being really kind to us. Fingers crossed.

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