17 August: Where does the weather forecast start?
Some of us started this day very early. And for somebody the morning followed smoothly a sleepless night. The reason of this early awake was the landing near the Indiga meteorological station planned for 5:00 am. This station has been working since the 30s of the last century for making meteorological and nautical coastal observations.
Olga Balakina, Head of the Sea Hydrometeorology Department, Northern State Meteorological Service Administration, was among the early birds waken up at 4:30 am. The day promised to be eventful. The RV Professor Molchanov anchored but far from the shore due to a shallow area around the cost.
- It is good that the captain anchored the vessel as close to the shore as possible, 2.5 miles away. Initially, according to the map, we defined that the distance would be 3.8 miles.
One mile is 1.8 kilometers, so the way to the shore took us almost one hour. The weather was fine and even water splashes did not reach people sitting in the boat. Having arrived to the station the meteorological department got down to work.
- We land and make meteorological observation on the station territory with our portable meteorological devises. To determine atmospheric humidity we use psychrometer consisting of a wet-bulb and a dry-bulb thermometers. For wind speed measuring we have a manual anemometer, to measure air pressure - barometer, - told us Olga. – Having collected all data we summarize them with data received on the station and analyze the results.
Meteorologists take measurements in 5 different points at a distance of 50, 100, 150, 200, 250 meters from the station. So we can see the dependence of results upon the relief, in other words, we make the analysis of microclimate indicators.
What is the purpose of this process? First of all, it is included in the expedition educational program. For young meteorologists it is a good practice that will help them to understand what the hydrometeorological observation and data coding are. Moreover, the students help the crew to make on board observations. There is an agreement between hydrometeorological service and the fleet. According to this document all vessels should make hydrometeorological observations. This system exists not only in Russia but all over the world. Every 6 hours (GMT) all vessels going in the seas make observations and send data to the information collector. The RV Professor Molchanov is not an exception, so the meteorological department assumed this task. Besides meteorological observations this report includes information on water temperature, sea roughness and ice condition.
The results of all observations enlarge the database of the international center which affiliate is situated in Obninsk. These databases underlie different forecasting models. The forecast that we can see on TV is based on these measurements. So this is the contribution of our meteorologists working on board the RV Professor Molchanov.
While scientific departments were working the weather got worse. The members of the expedition compared the trip back to the vessel with a shower and a water park… Olga felt herself as a fish in aquarium into which a disobedient child put a mixer inside.
- Our return was impressive. We returned alive and well and it is the most important. But if we got wet with all our equipment it would not be a problem. We have an additional set.
Then we dried out, warmed up, ate and went to the lectures. In the evening we had active preparations for the final report session planned for tomorrow.