SWINGS cruise

French GEOTRACES GS02 cruise

In the remote Southern Ocean considered as a nutrient “hub” between the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, the sources, sinks and processes controlling vital nutrient distribution and thus the biological carbon pump remain a black-box to date. In this context, SWINGS is a multidisciplinary 4-year project dedicated to elucidate trace element sources, transformations and sinks along a section crossing key areas of the Southern Ocean. Major French contribution to the international GEOTRACES programme SWINGS involves 80 scientists (19 international laboratories, 6 countries). The major piece of this ambitious project is the oceanographic cruise “SWINGS” (South Indian Ocean GEOTRACES Section) to which 48 researchers will participate.

The French GEOTRACES SWINGS GS02 cruise will start from La Réunion island (France) on January 13th, 2021 and end at the same place on March 8th, 2021.  During 52 days, many stations will be sampled with various pieces of equipment on board the Marion Dufresne II research vessel in order to elucidate trace element sources, transformations and sinks in key areas of the Indian sector of the Southern Ocean contributing to the global effort of the GEOTRACES programme.

Diary

4 March 2021: The scientific command post and the cruise chief scientists

Very little mention has been made to the scientific command post so far and yet it is one of the ship’s neuralgic centers, especially for the scientists (and Martin). It is from the command post that the controls for lowering, raising and closing the rosettes start, it is from the command post that the strategic […]

3 March 2021: Nostalgia and grace

Last night we crossed the 40th parallel, this time the gateway to the famous eponymous roars. In the wake, a few white-chinned petrels, a sooty one and our faithful Serge, this great albatross who has been following us for a long time… it doesn’t matter to us whether it’s him or a cousin, his name […]

23 February 2021: Night of auroras

This night, the sea is quite quiet. In transit in the southernmost sector of the ocean section, we head towards station 57 (56°24 S – 78°23 E). I (Catherine) fill the logbook, in a soft night routine. Around 2 am, Manu arrives at the PC. “Did you see how clear the night is? It’s an […]

20 FEBRUARY 2021 : What on Earth is going on under our feet?

After more than a month at sea, the Marion Dufresne has travelled 10159 km and navigated on changing sea floor, ranging from 100 m to 5 km deep. Under our feet are organisms of various sizes: from microscopic to the largest whales in the world! At the “centre” of this complex food chain are the […]

17-18 February 2021: HEARD the magnificent

When a meander of the jet stream couples with a southern depression in formation on the polar front, where the most intense thermal contrasts occur, it generates an explosive hurricane-force storm. Weather forecast for February 17th, Sara’s birthday: a barometer at 967 mbar, winds gusting over 90 knots and waves of 10 or even 12 […]

15 February 2021: the KERFIX station

One of the stations of the SWINGS cruise bears the funny name of KERFIX (50°42 S-68°30 E). It is not a base of the indomitable Gauls, even if it was the favourite joke of our international colleagues between 1991 and 1995, duration of the time series ” KERguelen point FIX “. Indeed, this station was […]

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