Seawater Property Changes in the Southern Ocean


The PolarConnect event with Juan Botella and the research team on Thursday, 14 April 2011 is now archived. Access the archive here.

What Are They Doing?

An interdisciplinary team of scientists, supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), traveled from McMurdo Station, Antarctica to Punta Arenas, Chile aboard the U.S. research vessel Nathanial B. Palmer. While aboard, they collected data from the Bellingshausen, Amundsen, and Ross Seas and the Southern Pacific Ocean. Using many different types of oceanographic instruments they collected water samples at various depths to obtain data about the salinity, temperature, oxygen, CFCs, nutrients, ocean carbon, and other substances. Other scientists participating in the research cruise measured aerosols, solar radiation, and recovered and deployed moorings that were used to collect data during the remainder of the year.

Oceans play an important role in the global carbon cycle, as they absorb and store carbon dioxide (CO2) from our atmosphere. However, the amount and rate of carbon dioxide absorption depends on many things such as phytoplankton, temperature, salinity, water currents, and location. One of the main goals of this study was to observe the changing patterns of dissolved carbon dioxide (CO2) in the ocean. This helped give scientists the information they needed to improve their forecasting abilities for the oceans and global climate.

The US Global Ocean Carbon and Repeat Hydrography program began it's ship-based studies in 2003, and has since conducted similar work around the world with research cruises scheduled into 2014.

¿Qué están hacienda?

Un grupo interdisciplinario de científicos, apoyados por el NAtional Science Foundation (NSF) y la National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), viajarán de la Estación McMurdo, Antártida hasta Punta Arenas, Chile abordo del buque de investigación Nathaniel B. Palmer. Desde el buque colectarán datos de os mares Bellinghausen, Amundsen y Ross y el Pacífico del Sur. Utilizarán diferentes instrumentos oceanográficos para colectar muestras de agua a diferentes profundidades para obtener información sobre la salinidad, temperatura, oxígeno disuelto, compuestos clorofluorocarbonados (CFC), nutrientes, carbono oceánico, y otras substancias. Otros científicos en la expedición medirán aerosoles, radiación solar, y recuperarán boyas oceanográficas que se han utilizado para colectar datos en meses pasados.

Los océanos juegan un papel muy importante en el ciclo global del carbono, al absorber y almacenar dióxido de carbono (CO2) de nuestra atmósfera. Sin embargo, la cantidad de carbono y la rapidez con la que es absorbido por los océanos depende de muchas cosas, como el fitopláncton, temperatura del agua, salinidad, corrientes oceánicas, y localidad. Uno de las metas más importantes de este estudio es el observar los cambios en los patrones del dióxido de carbono en el océano. Esta información permitirá a los científicos mejorar la capacidad de predicción de sus modelos climáticos y oceánicos .

El programa US Global Ocean Carbon and Repeat Hydrography (Carbono Oceánico Global e Hydrografía repetida de los EU) empezó sus investigaciones desde buques científicos en el 2003, y desde entonces ha conducido trabajos similares en diferentes cruceros por el mundo entero. Estos trabajos están programados para continuar hasta el 2014.

Where Are They?

The team traveled to McMurdo Station, Antarctica where they boarded the research icebreaker Nathanial B. Palmer. They sailed via the Southern Ocean and Drake Passage to Punta Arenas, Chile.

The vessel is named after Nathaniel Palmer, the first American credited with sighting Antarctica. It can operate safely year-round in Antarctic waters, and is capable of supporting about four dozen scientists on expeditions that last for months. Learn more about life aboard the N.B. Palmer.

¿Dónde están?

El equipo científico viajará a la Estación McMurdo en la Antártida, donde abordarán el rompehielos de investigación Nathaniel B. Palmer. Navegarán por el Mar del Sur hasta el Pasaje de Drake, o Mar de Hoces, para terminar el viaje en Punta Arenas, Chile.

El navío lleva el nombre de Nathaniel Palmer, el primer Americano al que se le acredita el haber visto la Antártida. El buque puede operar durante todo el año en las aguas dela Antártida, y es capaz de llevar hasta cuatro docenas de científicos en expediciones que pueden durar varios meses. Aprende más sobre la vida abordo del N.B. Palmer.


I was unable to upload the videos I was making through out the cruise because we did not have live internet and had bandwidth restrictions. I will go back and add the videos to the journal where they fit. I am creating this media entry so you can find all videos and do not have to go searching for them in the past entries. Hydrographic sampling I consider this the 'every day video'. It shows the steps taken in most of the 140 rosette casts of the cruise, that happened at night as much as during the day. Begins with the preparation of the rosette by 'caping it', which includes opening the...
The Journey I am at Dallas-Fort Worth airport three hours from seeing my family. It is already hard to believe I was here 78 days ago full of illusion and expectation for the trip to come. The experience, which fulfilled those expectations, is now over, but it will take me a lot of time to assimilate all that I lived. While waiting for our first plane in our long journey back to our normal lives at Punta Arenas' airport, Kevin asked me yesterday for one or two trip highlights. I said being in such remote area of the world with scientific experts, and free to explore the science around me...
Strait of Magellan
Our time aboard the Palmer has come to an end when we arrived in Punta Arenas, Chile, after an uneventful sailing across the Strait of Magallanes last Saturday. The water is no longer of a deep blue color, but a whitish green. We got to see plenty oil exploration platforms along the strait. Sailing on the Strait of Magellan on our way to Punta Arenas, Chile The deck filled with people expecting to see Punta Arenas, and it soon appeared far away. Seagulls welcomed us back to land as we approached our destination. We waited for a while for immigration to clear us and found ourselves...
Penguins on board the Palmer
Today we will reach Punta Arenas, Chile. Everybody is extremely excited to be back on land. I have mixed feelings, since I probably will not go to sea in any other expedition like this one, but it has also been a long time away from the family, so I am happy to start heading back home. I plan to follow the research being done with the data that we gathered, or at least part of it. I have learned a lot of new things about research in the Polar regions, oceanography and myself. It has been quite a journey. It is time to pack and begin digesting all what has happened I have been finding lately...
Dance troupe in the Palmer
The crossing ceremony finally arrived this morning, but I will not be able to tell you much about it because I could not participate on it. I suffer of chronic headaches, and yesterday's was particularly terrible. I was in no shape this morning for the ceremony. Too bad, since everybody says it was a lot of fun. For the ceremony, people who crossed the Antarctic Circumpolar Circle are walled 'polliwogs', and those who have crossed it are the 'red noses' I did participate last night on a talent show. All polliwogs had to participate. Even red noses had some acts. It was wonderful. The show...

Expedition Resources

Project Information

8 February 2011 to 25 April 2011
Location: Icebreaker N.B. Palmer in the Southern Ocean and Drake Passage
Project Funded Title: Cruise S4P/2011 for the US Global Ocean Carbon and Repeat Hydrography Program

Meet the Team

Juan Botella's picture
Monona Grove High School
Monona, WI
United States

Juan obtained a masters degree in oceanography through a joint program between the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before becoming a teacher. During his days as a graduate student, Juan enjoyed working in the field and being able to communicate the science with other people. He decided to become a teacher so he could help more people understand and enjoy science. Juan has the pleasure of teaching AP physics, climate and weather, and astronomy. When Juan is not teaching or enjoying time with his two kids and wife, he is cooking, playing soccer, taking pictures, cross country skiing, biking or jogging.

Juan obtuvo una maestría en Oceanografía en el programa conjunto entre el Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution y el Massachusetts Institute of Technology antes de convertirse en maestro de escuela. Durante sus días como estudiante de posgrado, Juan disfrutó el trabajo de campo y el comunicar la ciencia a otras personas. Decidió dedicarse a la enseñanza para poder ayudar a más gente entender y disfrutar de las ciencias. Juan tiene el placer de enseñar AP Física, Astronomía y Meteorología y Climatología. Cuando no se encuentra en el salón de clases, Juan disfruta su tiempo con su esposa y sus dos hijos, o cocinando, jugando fútbol, tomando fotografías, esquiando, en andando en bicicleta o corriendo.

Jim Swift's picture
Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego
La Jolla, CA
United States

James Swift is a Research Oceanographer and Academic Administrator at the [University of California San Diego Scripps Institution of Oceanography]( in La Jolla, California. His scientific interests include ocean circulation and ocean measurements, particularly of the Arctic Ocean and Nordic Seas. He has visited most of the worlds oceans, participated in 30 oceanographic expeditions, and has spent over two and a half years of his life at sea!

Dr. Swift is the Chief Scientist for the expedition aboard the N.B. Palmer. As a leader in polar and ocean sciences, he has served on many national committees and in many leadership roles. Among them, Dr. Swift is the coordinator for the [US Global Ocean Carbon and Repeat Hydrography program](, which is providing valuable data on the role of the oceans in global change. He also directs an international oceanographic data office called the CCHDO
which stands for [CLIVAR and Carbon Hydrographic Data Office]( which provides decades of data about the world's oceans to scientists and other users.

Dr. Swift is also an amateur musician, playing as second bassoonist in his community orchestra, the La Jolla Symphony. He is also married with two grown daughters and one granddaughter.


James Swift es un Investigador en Oceanografía y Administrador Académico en el Scripps Institution of Oceanography de la Universidad de California SanDiego en la Jolla, California. Sus intereses científicos incluyen la circulación y mediciones oceánicas, particularmente en el Océano Ártico y los Mares Nórdicos. Ha estado en casi todos los océanos al participar en mas de 30 expediciones cientificas. ¡Todo esto suma casi dos años y medio de su vida en el mar!

El Dr. Swift es el investigador principal de la expedición abordo del N.H. Palmer. Como lider de las ciencias oceánicas y polares ha participado en varios comités nacionales en diversos roles de liderazgo. Dentro de estos, el Dr. Swift es el coordinador del US Global Ocean Carbon and Repeat Hydrography (Carbono Oceánico Global e Hydrografía repetida de los EU), el cual está aportando información invaluable sobre el cambio en el papel que desempeñan los océanos a partir del cambio climático. También dirige un oficina internacional de datos oceanográficos llamada CCHDO (CLIVAR and Carbon Hydrographic Dat Office), la cual almacena décadas de datos sobre nuestros oceanos para que puedan ser usados por nuestros científicos.

El Dr. Swift es un músico amateur. Es el segundo bassoon en la orquesta de su comunidad, La Jolla Symphony. Está casado y tiene dos hijas mayores y una nieta.