Adventures of an Icebreaker: Working in darkness

Monday, November 21, 2022

A CTD retrieval out of the icy Arctic Ocean. HEALY has been supporting oceanographic research conducted by various Arctic research specialists in the high latitudes over the past several months. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Deborah Heldt Cordone, Auxiliary Public Affairs Specialist 1.

The icebreaker Healy is back home in Puget Sound after their latest deployment to the Arctic.

When operating in the Arctic on USCGC Healy (WAGB 20), science evolutions were conducted on an almost daily basis in varying conditions, including in the marginal ice zone, pack ice, open water, snow, sleet, day, night, and twilight.

Over the deployment’s final week of scientific operations, crew members and the science team conducted operations in darkness, which stood in contrast to the midnight sun that had been observed in July and the constant twilight previously experienced during the transit toward the North Pole. 

Sediment, water, and biological samples are obtained by deploying science equipment such as the CTD (conductivity, temperature, and depth) rosette, multinet, bongo nets, van veen grab, and multicore. 

These samples are then analyzed immediately in Healy’s laboratories or stored onboard for later transport to a laboratory ashore. 


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