Marion Island JOBS – Applications OPEN

Job Title StationPeriodClosing Date Download Job Advert
Communications EngineerMarion IslandApril 2020 - May 202114 October 2019 Click here
Electrical Engineer/Technician Marion IslandApril 2020 - May 202114 October 2019 Click here
Diesel Mechanic Marion IslandApril 2020 - May 202114 October 2019 Click here
Medical Orderly Marion IslandApril 2020 - May 202114 October 2019 Click here
Field Assistant: Seabird Research x2Marion IslandApril 2020 - May 202114 October 2019 Click here
Environmental Control OfficerMarion IslandApril 2020 - May 202114 October 2019 Click here
Assistant Environmental Control OfficerMarion IslandApril 2020 - May 202114 October 2019 Click here
Senior Meteorological Technician Marion IslandApril 2020 - May 202114 October 2019 Click here
Assistant Meteorological Technician x2Marion IslandApril 2020 - May 202114 October 2019 Click here
Field Assistant: Plant Ecology Marion IslandApril 2020 - May 202125 October 2019Click here
Field Assistant: 2 x"Sealers" and 1x "Whaler"Marion IslandApril 2020 - May 202121 October 2019 Click here
Field Assistant: Plant Ecology (wind effects)Marion Island April 2020 - May 2021 25 October 2019 Click here
Field Assistant: Seabird Research x2 (MAPRU)Marion IslandApril 2020 - May 2021 31 October 2019Click here

SA Agulhas II departs on 2019 relief voyage to Gough Island

The S.A. Agulhas II departed from the Port of Cape Town at around 10pm, 02 September 2019 and will return on 07 October 2019. Click here to view the voyage schedule.

Who is onboard:

  • The 65th Gough Island overwintering team – this team will be joined by the Gough64 field assistants forming part of Gough65.
  • Scientists from South African Weather Service, University of Pretoria and Nelson Mandela University.
  • Advanced party of the Gough Island Restoration Team led by Andrew Callender (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds).
  • Team to deploy the new Gough Island emergency hut led by Dr Guy Preston.
  • Team of the Department of Public Works.
  • Logistics and coordinating team from the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF).
  • Passengers on their way to Tristan da Cunha.
  • Read more here.

Meet Gough65:

Team MemberPosition
Mr Errol Julies Communication/Electronics Engineer and Team Leader
Mr Thendo Sikhwari Senior Meteorological Technician and Deputy Team Leader
Ms Michelle Risi-Jones Field Assistant and Deputy Team Leader- Scientific
Mr Dylan SeatonMeteorological Technician
Ms Siyasanga MphehleMeteorological Technician
Mr Thabiso MaphumuloElectrician
Mr Bubele NongwejanaMedical Orderly
Mr Gilbert KgangDiesel Mechanic
Mr Christopher JonesField Assistant
Mr Alexis OsborneField Assistant

L-R: Bubele Nongwejana, Thabiso Maphumulo, Gilbert Kgang, Errol Julies, Thendo Sikhwari, Siyasanga Mphehle and Dylan Seaton.

Field assistants: Michelle Risi-Jones, Alexis Osborne and Christopher Jones. Photo Credit: Michelle Risi-Jones.

 

Meet the team leader and deputy team leader of Gough65

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 04 September 2019

 

Sound & Vibration research currently onboard the S.A. Agulhas II

It is the last week of the SCALExperiment Winter Cruise of 2019. Here’s what the engineers of Stellenbosch University are currently doing onboard the S.A. Agulhas II.

Observations of stern and bow slamming done from the SAAII bridge.

During the SCALE Voyyage to Antarctica, the Sound and Vibration Group has been conducting full scale measurements using accelerometers placed on the S.A. Agulhas II. Wave observations have been conducted to estimate the height and frequency of the waves encountered by the vessel. With this, slamming observations have been conducted. When the vessel is experiencing slamming the team is tasked to rate the slam according to the comfort experienced.

The team has conducted ship manoeuvers in open water while stationary and moving at various speeds. This was done to investigate under which wave states the vessel experiences slamming.

The team is also investigating human comfort onboard the vessel. Passengers fill in daily motion sickness and slamming surveys. In addition to this a head acoustic dummy, Mike, has been measuring the sound experienced in a passenger cabin.

Information received from: Prof Annie Bekker, Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering, Stellenbosch University,  05 August 2019

Photos: supplied by Sound and Vibration Group 

Why is the Maties TracEx-group currently on the SCALExperiment Winter Cruise of 2019?

Jean Loock and Johan Viljoen, Stellenbosch University doctoral candidates currently onboard the S.A. Agulhas II, gave some insight on why the TracEx -group is so interested in studying the Southern Ocean during winter and the particular interest in the seasonal sea-ice.

“Phytoplankton are microorganisms that help regulate global climate through carbon dioxide uptake as they photosynthesise. To do this they require nutrients but in the remote oceans food is scarce, resulting in fierce competition and poor growth of these plankton. However, within the seasonal sea-ice that grows during winter and extends northwards from Antarctica, a thriving little community of microorganisms exist.

Our team is looking to analyze the snow layer on the ice, the ice itself and the water below the ice in an attempt to understand how these nutrients are concentrating within the ice. It may be that during the summer melting phase, these nutrients are expelled from the ice and provide the food required for large scale blooms of phytoplankton and thereby improved carbon dioxide uptake. These curious cases are crucial to improving our understanding of the climate system in a changing environment”.

Follow the TracEx Group on Facebook and Twitter.

Preparing the Mini Geotraces CTD Rosette before the cruise:

On the day of the first launch, during the #SCALExperiment #WinterCruise2019 .

Team TracEx getting ready to deploy their new mini CTD rosette in ice conditions to collect water samples to study the trace metals in the water column below ice. Photo Credit: Johan Viljoen.

 

For more information on #SCALExperiment #WinterCruise2019  – click here.

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 01 August 2019

 

The Annual Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting

South Africa’s permanent presence on the Antarctic continent commenced shortly after the Norwegians announced the evacuation of their Antarctic base, which was established for the International Geophysics Year (IGY), in the Dronning Maud Land region (approximately 4000 km south of Cape Town). This base was taken over by South Africa in 1959, during the first South African National Antarctic Expedition (SANAE), under the leadership of J.J. ‘Hannes’ la Grange (also Senior Meteorologist of the team).

1st SANAE Overwintering Team, 1960

1st SANAE Overwintering Team of 1960 (L-R: André van der Merwe, Dick Bonnema, Hannes la Grange, Marten du Preez, Blackie de Swardt).

Antarctic Treaty counties: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, France, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States and USSR.

In the same year, South Africa, along with eleven other countries signed the Antarctic Treaty, hence SA is one of the founding members of the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS), and however South Africa never made a territorial claim in Antarctica, is seen as a “consultative party” within the Antarctic Treaty, due to its legitimate interest in Antarctica (Viall 1991).

The Antarctic Treaty can be described as “agreements and arrangements which regulate international relations and activities in Antarctica” (Viall 1991). The aim of the Antarctic Treaty was to ensure that Antarctica (the area south of 60° S latitude) would be used for no other than peaceful purposes. The Antarctic Treaty also stipulates that military activities, nuclear explosions and the disposal of radioactive waste are prohibited in Antarctica (The Antarctic Treaty, 1959). Read more here.

South Africa has certain obligations to the ATS regarding conservation on Antarctica and on its sub-Antarctic islands and form part of the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP) and Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).

The Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) kicked off in 1961 and was held biennially, however since 1994 it became evident that this meeting should be held annually. As stipulated by the Secretariat of the Antarctic Treaty, ‘the meeting is hosted by Consultative parties according to the alphabetical order of their English names’.

This year the meeting in held in Prague, France.  South Africa’s delegation consists of:

  1. Chief Director: Specialist Monitoring Systems (Mr L. Fikizolo) – HoD
  2. Director: Earth Systems Strategies (Mr M. Dopolo),
  3. Acting Director: Integrated Projects and International Coordination (Mr Y. Mngxe),
  4. State Law Advisor: Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Ms R. Brammer).

Furthermore South Africans, Richard Skinner (previously with the South African Department of Environmental Affairs and a long-time participant within the South African National Antarctic Programme) and Lize-Marié van der Watt (Doctor of Philosophy at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden) are currently also at this meeting as part of the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat support staff.

References:

The Antarctic Treat (1959) http://blogs.sun.ac.za/antarcticlegacy/wp-content/blogs.dir/189/files/2015/10/The-Antarctic-Treaty1.pdf

Viall JD (1991) South Africa: The Road to the Antarctic Treaty. South African Journal of Antarctic Research, Volume 21:125-128.

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 11 July 2019.

SEAmester IV – photos and more

SEAmester2019, SEAmester, SEAmester IV

On the 1st of July 2019, 41 students from various universities across South Africa have set sail from the Port of Cape Town, onboard the S.A. Aghulus II, as part of the annual SEAmester course run by Prof Isabelle Ansorge from the Department of Oceanography, University of Cape Town. Assisting her onboard is Tahlia Henry, programme coordinator; watch this interview with Tahlia just before departure.  Students who are in the marine field of study and who make it through the hundreds of applications get the fantastic opportunity to participate in this 11-day South African class afloat. The cruise travels up the coast to Port Elizabeth where the vessel turns into the deeper oceans in order to travel along the ASCA line. The line plots its course at certain intervals, where CTD (conductivity, temperature and depth) tests are done.

While students are onboard the days are filled with a selection of lectures and practicals, run by leaders in the field of marine science. The practicals give students some hands-on experience within their field of interest, for example students get to partake in CTD observations where the CTD is lowered to different depths at different points along the cruise to measure depth, salinity and temperature. These observations are done in order to gain a better understanding of the Aghulus current. The South African Weather Service also has a meteorological technician/forecaster onboard, demonstrating the release of a weather balloon, while informing students on the data gathered from the radiosonde (box attached to the balloon gather certain data) – view this video to  learn more about weather observations from the S.A. Agulhas II. Other practicals onboard include; dissections on marine mammals, parasitology studies, seafloor sediments studies, mammal observations and micro plastic sampling.

Surrounded by the blue ocean looking left, right, backwards and forwards reminds one of the vastness of the ocean.  Sunrises and sunsets are most definitely a highlight for students as they are able to watch the sun break through the horizon from the monkey deck.

The cruise has thus far experienced some great weather in the first few days, but we did end up face to face with a cold front. It was a slightly bumpy ride to say the least as the vessel had to navigate its way through 9m swells and 40 knot winds.

The vessel is expected to back in the Port of Cape Town by morning, 11 July 2019.

S.A. Ahulhas II moving through calm waters. Photo Credit: Alex Oelofse.

All photo supplied by the photographer onboard the vessel: Alex Oelofse.

Author: Alex Oelofse, Photographer onboard the vessel. Edited by: Anché Louw, 09 July 2019.

Departure: SA’s Class Afloat – SEAmester IV 2019

The 4th SEAmester cruise departed from the port of Cape Town on the 1st of July 2019.

This year’s class consists of 41 students in total, including postgraduate students from all over South Africa and a few international students.

During this 11 day cruise along the coast of South Africa, on the S.A. Agulhas II, students will learn all about marine science through theoretical classroom learning and applying this knowledge through ship-based and hands-on research. Find out more about SEAmester here.

We would like to wish all the students and lecturers onboard the vessel another successful programme.

VIDEO: Meet the programme coordinator, Tahlia Henry.

Note: SEAmester is a Department of Science and Technology/National Research Foundation funded SANAP (South African National Antarctic Programme) project.

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 03 July 2019

Mid-winter greetings from the three SANAP stations

Happy mid-winter from our Antarctic station (SANAE), sub-Antarctic station (Marion Island) and Gough Island.

Antarctica – where the 58th overwintering team will be celebrating mid-winter.

Antarctica, SANAE, SANAE58,midwinter

Marion Island – where the 76th overwintering team will be celebrating mid-winter.

Marion Island, Marion76, midwinter

Gough Island – where the 64th overwintering team will be celebrating mid-winter.

Gough Island, Gough64, midwinter

Mid-Winter greetings from DEA

Mid-Winter is celebrated right across Antarctica by all the nations & stations.  It is the 0ldest tradition in Antarctica and refers to the Winter Solstice (or hibernal solstice).  It occurs when one of the Earth’s poles has its maximum tilt away from the Sun. It happens twice yearly, once in each hemisphere (Northern and Southern). For that hemisphere, the winter solstice is the day with the shortest period of daylight and longest night of the year, when the Sun is at its lowest daily maximum elevation in the sky.

At the pole, there is continuous darkness or twilight around the winter solstice. Its opposite is the summer solstice.

The winter solstice occurs during the hemisphere’s winter. In the Southern Hemisphere, this is the June solstice (usually 20 or 21 June).   Although the winter solstice itself lasts only a moment, the term sometimes refers to the day on which it occurs. Other names are “midwinter”, the “extreme of winter” (Dongzhi), or the “shortest day”.

So, for Antarctic Expeditioners / Overwinterers the worst is over with regards to dark (lack of light and sunlight).

Happy Mid- Winter to all – share this email far and wide.

From all of us

Jasmine Arnold

Office Administrator to The Ship’s Operations Manager | Directorate: Southern Oceans & Antarctic Support | Office address: East Pier, Waterfront | Direct no: 021 405 9485 | Switchboard: 021 405 9400

Mid-winter Event Pretoria, South Africa – organised by Carol Jacobs :

Welcome home Marion75 and take-over personnel

The S.A. Agulhas II arrived in Cape Town yesterday, 15 May 2019, after being away for 34 days.

The vessel returned with the 75th Marion Island overwintering team, all take-over scientists (land-and ship based) and take-over personnel.

Marion75 departed last year on 06 April 2018 and they are now reunited with family and friends after approximately 13 months.

Click here to see who was on this team and more about the different scientific groups (land-and ship based).

Note that there are more institutions involved in take-over science on the island, not mentioned in this video such as the Biocomplexity Project (University of Johannesburg) and Observing Dawn in the Cosmos (University of KwaZulu Natal). These projects does not have personnel overwintering on the island.

Marion75 and take-over personnel, addressed by the Deputy Director-General Oceans and Coasts, Judy Beaumont:

 

Marion75, M75, Marion Island, Overwintering Team

L-R (front): Dakalo Gangashe (Base Engineer), Maliviwe Mnengisa (Medic/Team leader), Zinhle Shongwe (Assistant meteorologist), Stephan Keys (Birder), Dani Keys (Birder), Dineo Mogashoa (Winder/Botanist); (middle) Oyena Masiko (Birder), Vhulahani Manukha (Space Engineer), Mavis Lekhesa (Radio Technician), Michael Taunyane (Diesel Mechanic / Deputy Team Leader). Sechaba Nyaku (Senior Meteorologist). Michelle Thompson (Birder). Monica Leitner (Assistant ECO), Liezl Pretorius (Sealer/Deputy Science Team Leader), Elsa van Ginkel (Winder/Botanist), Bongekile Kuhlase (Botanist); (back) Abuyiselwe Nguna (Geomorphologist/Science Team Leader), Jabulani Thabede (Chef), James Burns (Assistant meteorologist), Charlotte Heijnis (Senior ECO), Sean Morar (Birder). Welly Qwabe (Sealer), Michael Voysey (Killer whaler/sealer), Marike Louw (Botanist).

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 16 May 2019.

Announcement: 4th International Forum on the sub-Antarctic

Date: 29 – 30 July 2020

“Come and discuss the challenges facing the sub-Antarctic in a changing world and share ideas for the future”.

Sessions include:

  • climate
  • conservation
  • biosecurity
  • geoscience
  • tourism
  • fishing
  • heritage
  • connectivity
  • management challenges.

Website: Click here.

Follow subant2020 on Twitter!

Happy Birthday to Marion75 Team member (Cook) – Jabulani Thabede

Marion Island, Sub-Antarctic, South African Islands

On behalf of ALSA and all involved in the South African National Antarctic Programme, we would like to wish Jabulani Thabede (Cook of  M75) a Happy Birthday today.

This is the first overwintering team with a full-time cook on the team.

Marion Island, Team, Overwintering Team, Birthdays

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 18 March 2019

Welcome home S.A. Agulhas II

Welcome to Cape Town SANAE57 team, take-over personnel, Weddell Sea Expedition crew, Department of Public Works personnel and Nolitha Construction (responsible for the refurbishments of the SANAE IV base), the Ultimate Helicopter Crew and the S.A. Agulhas II’s Captain and Crew.

The 57th South African National Antarctic Expedition (SANAE) team has returned to Cape Town, after 15 months away from home (see photo below). This team had to stay a bit longer at SANAE IV than usual, due to the longer take-over in order to accommodate the Weddell Sea Expedition, that was incorporated in the 2018/2019 Antarctica Cruise.

L-R (Back): Stephanus Schoeman (RADAR Engineer), John Skelete (Diesel Mechanic), Bo Orton (Electrician), Will Jelbert (Doctor), Forster Mashele (VLF Engineer), Sabelo Biyela (Diesel Mechanic); (front) Hloni Rakoteli (Communications Engineer), Lux Tanyana (Base Engineer), Elias Seabi (Meteorological Technician) and Cobus van der Merwe (Neutron Engineer).

This Weddell Sea Expedition was funded by the The Flotilla Foundation and the S.A. Agulhas II chartered a team of scientists into the Weddell Sea, for extensive scientific exploration on and around the LarsenC ice shelf and the A68 Iceberg. Click here to meet the South Africans that was part of this expedition.

The Weddell Sea Expedition also involved the search for Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship, the Endurance (click here for more information), but due to unfavourable weather conditions and the loss of the AUV (automated underwater vehicle) the search was ended where after the ship headed back to Penguin Bukta where overwintering members (S57) and take-over personnel of SANAE IV boarded the ship.

The welcoming ceremony was led by Mathibela Selepe (Department of Environmental Affairs, Chief Engineer: Telecommunications and Instrumentation) and welcoming speech delivered by Mbulelo Dopolo (Department of Environmental Affairs, Branch: Oceans and Coasts, Director: Earth Systems Strategies).

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 15 March 2019

New South Africa National Committee for SCAR

Steven Chown

Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) President, Prof Steven Chown from Monash University, with some representatives at the meeting of the South Africa National Committee for SCAR.

South Africa has been involved in Antarctic research since the geophysical year of 1957. The first 10 years of South Africa’s science and research in the Antarctic is highlighted in an article by  DG Kingwell, at that stage the secretary of the South African Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research (SASCAR).

The Antarctic Research of South Africa is  part of The International Science Council (ISC), South Africa.

South Africa is a national member of ISC through the National Research Foundation (NRF) and the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DST). The South African ISC -Secretariat serves the scientific community and the ISC scientific unions and affiliates to which South Africa adheres. The SA ISC Secretariat provides support and organisational services for the ISC National Board of SA, and to the SA ISC National Committees to advance South Africa’s position in international platforms. The total membership of these committees is in excess of 200 scientists.  Approximately 100 South Africans serve on ICS-related commissions and working groups. The ISC activities in South Africa are focused on the following principals:

  • Science-for-policy: Stimulate and support national and international scientific research and scholarship, and to communicate science that is relevant to national and international policy issues;
  • Policy-for-science: Promote developments that enable science to contribute more effectively to major issues in the national and international public domain;
  • Science-for-society: Stimulate science engagement with society;
  • Scientific freedom and responsibility: Support the free and responsible practice of science;
  • Adherence: Support committees through payment of ISC membership dues.

South Africa Science and Research is also part of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) where the committee members will represent South Africa at SCAR meetings.

The new National Committee has been announced  in a letter by Tracy Klarenbeek – Professional Officer, Knowledge Advancement and Support (KAS) and their first meeting took place at Stellenbosch University on 6 March 2019.

Dear SANAP Community,

It gives me great pleasure in sharing the names of the individuals selected to represent us all at SCAR. Of course, these individuals will rely heavily on inputs from the entire community, so I sincerely hope that you will be available to support them in their endeavours. Members of the community that are not an the steering committee are still strongly encouraged to participate in SCAR and SCAR-related activities. The DST and the NRF are planning a follow-up meeting with the whole community, hopefully by the middle of the year (academic and other schedules permitting), so as to give feedback on a number of initiatives ongoing that will possibly impact on us all, including plans for current and future SA participation in SCAR. We look forward to seeing you there.

The final list is below, the details of which will be communicated to SCAR in due course.  Professor Bettine van Vuuren was nominated as the Committee Chair, Tracy Klarenbeek as Vice-Chair and Dr Gilbert Siko representing the Department of Science and technology.

Life Sciences Standing Committee of SCAR

  • Thulani Makhalanyane (South African Representative)
  • Bettine van Vuuren
  • Anne Treasure

Physical Sciences Standing Committee of SCAR

  • Sandy Thomalla
  • Sarah Fawcett (South African Representative)
  • Stefan Lotz

Geosciences Standing Committee of SCAR

  • Christel Hansen
  • Werner Nel
  • Geoff Grantham (South African Representative)

Social Sciences and Humanities Standing Committee of SCAR

  • Anché Louw
  • Ria Olivier (South African Representative)
  • Charne Lavery

Please give this committee your support in their efforts to take South African science to the world via SCAR.

 

 

ETA of the S.A. Agulhas II – 15 March 2019

SA Agulhas II, Antarctica, ETA Cape Town

The S.A. Agulhas II is currently on her way home, after being in the Antarctica waters for 3 months. Onboard is the returning 57th SANAE (South African National Antarctic Expedition) overwintering team, 2018/2019 SANAE take-over personnel, Weddell Sea Expedition members and ship based scientists of different South African universities.

Expected time of arrival (ETA): 15 March 2019, around 08:30

MORE DETAIL:
The S.A. Agulhas II will arrive in Cape Town at 2am, tomorrow morning.

The vessel will then proceed to Landing Wall 1 for inward clearance and shifting in to east pier around 08:30.

SA Agulhas II, Antarctica, ETA Cape Town

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 14 March 2019

SANAE57 Team – meet the Comms Engineer (Video)

SANAE57, Overwintering Team, Antarctica, Team, Communications Engineer, SANAE IV

Following up on this article: SANAE57 Team -currently on their way home

Meet the Communications Engineer of the 57th South African National Antarctic Expedition Team – Hloni Rakoteli. This is not the first time Hloni heads home on the S.A Agulhas II from an overwintering expedition, his first expedition was on Gough Island as part of the 61st Gough Island Overwintering Team (Gough61 team photo). Get to know Hloni a bit better, before watching the video, by downloading the June Edition of the SANAE57 team newsletter.

Excerpt of SANAE57’s first team newsletter – December 2017 (Click here to view this newsletter)

VIDEO

 

This team is heading home on the S.A. Agulhas II, currently sailing through the roaring 40’s (now at 43°South). Track the S.A. Agulhas II by clicking on the icon below.

Track the S.A. Agulhas II here...

Track the S.A. Agulhas II

 

Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 12 March 2019

 

 

Current Cruise: Glider deployment, data collection and retrieval

SOCCO, Gliders, CSIR, UCT

The S.A. Agulhas II is now on its homeward journey having finished all logistical and scientific work at SANAE and in the Weddell Sea (track the ship here). The work is not yet over for all aboard, however. Scientists from the University of Cape Town (UCT), the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the South African Weather Service (SAWS) continue to collect oceanographic and meteorological data. UCT and CSIR are both sampling seawater as the ship sails, measuring chlorophyll, nutrients, ammonium and phytoplankton community composition, to name a few.

Over and above this, CSIR—more particularly, CSIR SOCCO—and Martin Mohrmann of the University of Gothenburg and ROAM-MIZ deployed oceanographic instruments on the voyage south to Antarctica (see photos below). CSIR SOCCO, or the Southern Ocean Carbon & Climate Observatory, is a South African research programme focused on the Southern Ocean. ROAM-MIZ, according to their website, “is a multi-institutional initiative to observe the full seasonal cycle of the upper ocean in the marginal ice zone near the Greenwich Meridian”. CSIR SOCCO deployed two wave gliders, a Seaglider and a Slocum glider. ROAM-MIZ deployed two Seagliders and a Sailbuoy, christened SB Kringla. These instruments continuously record oceanographic data while they move through the water. The wave gliders and the Sailbuoy remain at the surface, harnessing wave and wind power, respectively, to propel them through the water. The Seagliders and Slocum glider alter their buoyancy to dive and sample sea water during their journeys to the deeps (deep parts of the ocean) and back to the surface. All these vehicles transmit their data to satellites at regular intervals or when they surface after a dive.

Deployment of Gliders

With the S.A. Agulhas II now making for home, the time has come to recover these instruments in order that they can be serviced and used again in future deployments. The wave gliders, in a true feat of engineering, are being piloted home to Cape Town. This is due to reducing sunlight available for the solar panels of the southernmost glider as the receding summer light wanes at these high latitudes. This will entail a journey of 1200 km and 2500 km for the respective wave gliders (click here for the update on the position of the gliders). Two Seagliders, the Slocum glider and the Sailbuoy will be recovered on the voyage home. The third Seaglider is to be recovered by another vessel, the Norwegian RV Kronprins Haakon, sailing from Punta Arenas in Chile.

On the 1st of March, the Sailbuoy and a ROAM-MIZ Seaglider were both safely recovered in fair weather at 60°S 0°E. The speed and success of the recovery were entirely down to the skill of the S.A. Agulhas II’s crew and the prevailing calm weather. Next, the Slocum glider will be recovered at 54°S 0°E and then CSIR SOCCO’s remaining buoyancy glider at 43°S 8°E. The S.A. Agulhas II is now making for 54°S 0°E after having sailed to South Thule and South Georgia for SAWS deployments and commitments.

Retrieval of Gliders

For more information on CSIR’s SOCCO programme, click here and for further information on ROAM-MIZ, click here.

Cover Photo: ROAM-MIZ’s two buoyancy gliders making satellite contact in preparation for deployment.

 

Written by: Hermann Luyt, Oceanography, University of Cape Town

Edited by: Anché Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 07 March 2019

Photo Credit (all): Hermann Luyt

SANAP Project News: SOCCO (follow-up)

SOCCO, SANAP, Southern Ocean

SOSCEX-Storm II Experiment Wave Gliders heading to Cape Town from the Antarctic waters

Following up on the story of the our Liquid Robotics Wavegliders returning home to Cape Town from the Southern Ocean (click here) we have now completed the first half of the journey. Waveglider WG052 will arrive at its intermediate waypoint 43°S 9°E on Saturday 2nd March.  It has completed the first 1200km of its journey in 17 days at an average of 70km per day during which it sailed through 3 storms and crossed both the Polar and Sub-Antarctic fronts (see photo below).

SOCCO, Gliders, Wavegliders

On Sunday 3rd March WG052 will meet up with its twin WG027 that has been making its own CO2 and physics measurements at our long term observation station SAZ-1 since early December 2018. They will return together in the second 1200km stretch of sub-polar and sub-tropical waters but separated by about 50 – 100km to test some ideas about the correlations length scales for pCO2.  Both units continue to provide almost real time observations of ocean physics and CO2.  You will see from the attached pic (earth.nullschool.net), which is derived from almost real time satellite observations-based surface ocean circulation product OSCAR of the mesoscale features around the south of Africa, that we are aiming to use one of these “jets” to propel both gliders towards Cape Town across the turbulent cauldron west of the Agulhas current retroflection.  It shows very nicely how the ocean is not made up of large homogeneous currents but a series of high speed jets and eddies.  We are exploring how the interaction of storms with these features influence the seasonal variability and ultimately the climate sensitivity of the air – sea fluxes of CO2 in the Southern Ocean.

 

– Dr. Pedro M. Scheel Monteiro & SOCCO & SA-RobOTIC team, 01 March 2019 (posted 06 March 2019)

SANAP Project News: SOCCO

SOCCO, SANAP, Southern Ocean

SOCCO: Southern Ocean Carbon & Climate Observatory

SOCCO, SANAP, Southern OceanSOCCO. Glider, Southern Ocean

SANAP Project name: How storm characteristics in the Southern Ocean influence inter annual variability of CO2 fluxes

This summer SOCCO conducted the second SOSCEX-Storm glider-based experiment in the Southern Ocean as part of its 3 year science plan. We deployed two carbon wave gliders equipped with our SA-RobOTIC designed and built and pCO2 sensors, which have behaved flawlessly under the most dire conditions that the Southern Ocean could throw at them, which included weekly storms of 80-140km/h winds, waves of 10+m, snow storms and sea temperatures of -1 to 2°C.  During this 2 month period they have taken over 3000 pCO2, pH, temperature and salinity observations. It was a rigorous test for the pCO2 sensors, which have a design feature that is specifically made to cope with Southern Ocean storms. It can be submerged by a wave which will mean that it taken a bit of water through the air intake but when the detectors pick this up it uses it pressurized gas to expel the moisture and continues to provide high quality data.  This deployment was a significant achievement for our SA-RobOTIC engineering and an indication of how our expertise to operate in these conditions has matured and become globally recognized.  This deployment was important for two reasons, it allowed us to start to examine the role of storms in driving the carbon – climate feedback in the Southern Ocean and it is a preparation phase for the SCALE experiment that starts in July 2019.  The hypothesis, which is core to our NRF-SANAP and DST funding, that we are exploring is that climate-linked changes in storm characteristics will play an important role in the century scale carbon – climate feedbacks. Ocean robots and high precision sensors make this science possible.

We have however encountered a problem with the glider deployed at 54°S which is, that while it generated enough power during the peak of summer with nearly 24 hours of daylight, this is no longer the case in February with the sun setting for increasingly long periods – night is arriving in Antarctica.  Wave gliders use solar panels to power the sensors.  The second glider was deployed at 43°S where there is still plenty of sunlight.  In a normal year the gliders would have been picked up by the S.A. Agulhas II coming back from SANAE at about this time but this year the ship is coming back nearly 5 weeks later because it is chartered by a British team to find the Endurance, Shackleton’s ship.  As a matter of interest we are collaborating with some of our aeronautical engineering colleagues at CHPC (Centre for High Performance Computing) to develop an underwater power generator to enable us to make winter (no sunlight) deployments in July 2019.

For this reason we have made the decision to pilot both wave gliders home to Cape Town without the ship.  This will be a journey of 2500km for WG-052 and 1200km for WG-027.  We think this has the added advantage of reducing the risk of damage during retrieval by the ship, which has happened a few times due to the normally difficult conditions on retrieval.  So, wave glider 052 has now left its long term observation position at 54°S on the prime meridian and is heading home towards wave glider 027 which is at 43°S.  It is travelling at a speed of about 100km per day.  The sensors are all working and we will take advantage of this opportunity to conduct an experiment that needs 2 gliders while they are on the way home.  We expect them home in a month, mid-March and we will pick them up in Granger Bay in front of our SA-RobOTIC centre.

SOCCO, Southern Ocean, Gliders

Route of the WG052 and 027 gliders (2019)

The wave gliders were paired with a buoyancy glider each that are making observations down the water column to 1000m 4 – 5 times a day.  This pairing of wave gliders and buoyancy gliders is a SOCCO innovation under the SOSCEX series of experiments since 2013/14.  The two buoyancy gliders will remain on station waiting for ship retrieval in mid-March.

 

– Dr. Pedro M. Scheel Monteiro & SOCCO & SA-RobOTIC team, 18 February 2019

 

SOCCO on Social Media

http://socco.org.za/news/riding-the-waves-home/

DEA Employee Graduates with another BTech

Every year students within the South African National Antarctic Programme graduates (click here), but this year it is not only students within the programme who graduated with a new degree.

Errol Julies, Engineering Technician at the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) with a BTech (baccalaureus technologiae) Electrical Engineering background, graduated last week with a BTech in Project Management. Congratulations Errol!

Errol Julies graduated with another B.Tech degree at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

 

Errol’s main duty within the South African National Antarctic Programme is ensuring a stable communication network to the various South African Antarctic and sub-Antarctic research stations (Marion Island, Gough Island and SANAE IV). This is a great responsibility.

 

Errol wants to further his education as he feels that: “the fact that SANAP produces world-class researchers and scientific articles, we need to path the way and create a solid foundation for future scientists”. He also mentions that: “the only way to ensure rock solid foundations is, for those involved in the management of the programme, to always be knowledgeable of new development”.

ALSA also received a special message from Gough Island to Errol:

G64 just want to say congratulations to Errol and a special thank you for coordinating that our parcels from home made it onto the ship that visits Gough Island – message came via Michelle Risi (RSPB Birder, G64).

 

Anche Louw, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 17 December 2018

Marion Island November newsletter now available

M75, Marion Island, Newsletters

Greetings to the friends, families and followers of the M75 team!

M75, Marion Island, Newsletters

November has swept by in a whirlwind of activity! The elephant seal breeding season has come to an end with a record number of new born pups but there has been no time to rest for the sealers as the fur seal population begins to boom. The birders have been busy non-stop with penguins, albatross and petrels all incubating eggs or raising chicks. The botanists have been traversing the landscape in search of the often elusive vegetation and there are even a few flowers brightening up the landscape as you’ll soon read.

Back at base, things are running smoothly and we are all getting into the festive spirit as Christmas approaches. Colourful decorations and even a couple of Christmas trees have considerably livened up some of our more frequented living areas. The weather, although windy as ever, has definitely been warmer on average and more sunny which has provided great opportunities to be out in the field for work or play.

We have tried to capture some of the highlights in this month’s edition of the Wanderer (November 2018) and hope you all enjoy reading the stories and checking out the photos of this amazing place and it’s amazing inhabitants!

Kind regards,
the Wanderer Editing team

Click here to view all the Marion Island newsletters available on the Antarctic Legacy of South Africa Archive.

Author: James Burns, 75th Marion Island Overwintering Team (Meteorological Observer), 10 December 2018

Environmental Affairs to launch first South African Antarctica Season Week

29 November 2018

The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) in partnership with the Transnet National Port Authority (TNPA), will be launching the first ever South African Antarctica Season Week on 03 December 2018 at the Cruise Terminal in the Port of Cape Town.

Antarctica Week will take place from 03 to 07 December 2018, and the activities will include exhibitions to the guests, schools and the public; science discussions; heritage presentations; stakeholder engagements; etc.

The DEA has identified TNPA, Port of Cape Town as the location of a new Antarctic Centre, which will be built to enhance the country’s role as an Antarctic Gateway. The centre will support the promotion of the Antarctic continent and its various economic opportunities for South Africa.

The centre, which fits within the department’s Antarctic Strategy, will be announced at the launch which will also mark the departure of the SA Agulhas II for its annual Antarctic relief voyage and the start of the annual Norwegian-South Africa seminar and exhibition, ending 7 December 2018.

Members of the media are invited to attend as follows:

Date: Monday, 3 December 2018
Venue: Cruise Terminal, Port of Cape Town
Time: 10:00-12:00

  • To facilitate ease of passage at the Port, kindly RSVP with your ID number to Gaopalelwe Moroane (gmoroane@environment.gov.za) by end of business, 30 November 2018.
  • For RSVPs and scheduling of interviews please contact Gaopalelwe Moroane on 0825121094 / GMoroane@environment.gov.za / 063 6979001

For media queries please contact:

Zolile Nqayi
Cell: 082 898 6483
E-mail: znqayi@environment.gov.za

Dr Gansen Pillay statement at 5th SANAP Symposium

FIFTH SANAP SYMPOSIUM : OPENING REMARKS (13 August 2018)

Gansen Pillay PhD

 

DCEO: Research and Innovation Support and Advancement (RISA)

 

Distinguished Participants

It is a pleasure and privilege to provide some Opening Remarks on behalf of the National Research Foundation (NRF) of SA on the occasion of the 5th SANAP Symposium jointly hosted by CPUT and SANSA.  This afternoon, I would like to focus on four dimensions.

Firstly, I would like to focus on this Symposium and its importance.  Secondly, I would like to explore the strategic positioning of SANAP and its related research areas in the context of a global research agenda.  Thirdly, we will share with you the latest information relating to the funding of SANAP by the NRF.  And finally, I would like to focus on training the next generation of researchers, viz., our postgraduate students.

Our sincere congratulations to the Conference Organisers for conceptualizing the content and themes for this Symposium.  Hermanus as a venue could not have been more ideal venue given the themes of this meeting.  This Symposium signifies a meeting of the oceans and space, each looking at the other through different lenses, yet focusing on the common good of responsiveness, relevance and sustainability.

We take the opportunity of congratulating Prof Isabelle Ansorge and her joint authors for the timely article in the South African Journal of Science (SAJS) titled “SEAmester – SA’s first class afloat”. It intersects the Global Change Grand Challenge and draws on Operation Phakisa.  As you may be aware, one of NRF’s National Research Facilities (NFs), viz., the SA institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB) is a partner in this initiative.  This goes a long way towards accelerating NRF’s objective of not just providing NFs but National Research Infrastructure Platforms (NRIPs).

We would also like to commend SANAP on its new SANAP portal and website (www.sanap.ac.za), the Antarctic Legacy Platform (http://blogs.sun.ac.za/antarcticlegacy/).  It is current and informative and its presence on Facebook and other social media platforms is very encouraging.

The public lecture on ‘South Africa’s legacy within the Antarctic region’ being presented this evening is timely and critical to the public understanding of science.

This symposium provides delegates the opportunity to present their research within the Southern Ocean, Antarctic and sub-Antarctic regions.

Interwoven into the fabric of the Symposium is a rich tapestry of complementary themes on (i) A window into geospace; (ii) Southern Oceans in the coupled ocean; (iii) Carbon-climate links and geotraces; (iv) Ecosystem functioning and the response to global change; (v) Biodiscovery and biotechnology; (vi) Earth and living systems; (vii) Paleosciences and human history; and (viii) Innovation, technology and engineering.  A research canvas of this nature offers enormous possibilities.

Given the aforementioned, I would like to move to the second dimension of my Opening Remarks, viz., the strategic positioning of SANAP research in the global research agenda.  One of the hallmarks of any successful organization or company like Apple is the ability to respond to change.  Those who adapt to change, survive.  Those who do not, perish.  A systems thinking approach is essential.

When one looks at the various themes of this Symposium its main focus is on interactions and the ability to respond to change.  So what exactly happens in the Southern Oceans and Space?  Is there a constant quest for dynamic equilibrium and sustainability?  Is there a symphony at play that is being orchestrated and conducted by global climate change?  What are SA’s geographic and competitive advantages?  In responding to how we position SANAP, we have to accept that we cannot be everything to everyone.  So what is it that we do that is unique or what is it that we do exceptionally well?  More importantly, what should we stop doing?

In positioning our research there are some aspects that we must factor.  These include, inter alia, how do we plan for impact?  How do we manage impact?  What is the potential for translational research?  What are the alignments to national priorities, the draft White Paper on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), the NDP, Agenda 2063, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the World in 2050, the Belmont Forum, Future Earth, etc.  Would Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics come into play? What about quantum computing?  Machine learning?  How would you be dealing with Big Data?  Do you have the capacity to deal with Big Data?  I leave you with these questions as you contemplate the future of your research during this Symposium.

Thirdly, over the next three years, the NRF has made the following investments in SANAP:

  • 29 grant holders:
    • 23 rated: 3A-rated, 6 B-rated, 2 P-rated, importantly 4 Y-rated
    • 16 female; 13 male
    • Currently, only 4 grant holders are Black which is an are that requires attention and intervention
  • There is growing evidence of young talent, especially black and female, moving up through the ranks. Many of SANAP’s early career researchers were students supported though this programme.  But it is not enough.  Much more needs to be done to bring in smart young students from previously disadvantaged backgrounds and institutions.

Finally, I would like to focus on the numerous postgraduate students who are here today.  One of the most important aspects at the beginning of your research is its conceptualisation.  Read widely, and know the entire backdrop/canvas of your research.  Identify the gaps in knowledge and develop smart research questions/hypotheses.  Use the latest methodologies in your field to explore these research questions.  The information/data that you produce must be engaged with against the backdrop of existing knowledge.  What is the new knowledge that you have produced?  Production of new knowledge is the hallmark of a PhD degree and is immortalised through your scholarly publications or translational research.  Remember, it is often easier to choose a wife, husband or life partner than to choose a supervisor.  So choose smartly and wisely.  Good luck with your studies!

Despite the constrained fiscal environment, the NRF would continue to fund excellent, transformative research that enables SA to meaningfully contribute to the SDGs.

In conclusion, I would like to wish you every success in your research and thank you in advance for your contributions to society.

May you have a whale of a time in Hermanus!!

 

END

 

Posted by: Ria Olivier (Antarctic Legacy of South Africa), 21 August 2018