Now We’re Cruising

Published: 28 September 2012

Editor’s note: As part of the preparations for the upcoming Marine ARM GPCI Investigations of Clouds (MAGIC) field campaign, principal investigator Ernie Lewis shares his news of the deployment installation.

I was in Los Angeles again last week to see the successful installation of the MAGIC instruments aboard the Horizon Spirit! It was great to watch. Everything went like clockwork. The installation went so smoothly you would think that Mike Ritsche, Nicki Hickmon, and the techs had done this hundreds of times before and this was just one more time. The good luck we had this last week more than makes up for the previous attempt two weeks before.

An ARM Mobile Facility container is loaded onto the 'Horizon Spirit' for the MAGIC deployment.
The Spirit arrived in Los Angeles Thursday morning (September 20) and I arrived at the ship early Friday, but discovered Mike and Nicki had already been there for some time (those guys never sleep!). The contractors that had been hired also started early, welding supports around the deck for the instruments, reinforcing the deck, etc. After lunch, ARM’s three containers were loaded on the ship. It is impressive to watch a crane nearly 300 feet tall pick up the containers and gingerly place them on the deck within inches of where we want them. The techs—Tom, Mark, and Brett—immediately began pulling railings out and installing them on the roofs of the vans, and then mounting other instruments on these. They really know what they are doing. By dusk, it looked as if we had moved on to stay. Friday after lunch, two of the radars and many of the other modules were loaded, and by evening Kevin, ARM radar guru, saw a cloud on the radar screen. We’re up and running!

This graph from the ISAR, Infrared SST Autonomous Radiometer, shows sea surface temperature in degree Celsius along with the position of the ship.
By Tuesday, the Spirit was nearly to Hawaii again, as can be seen by the graph showing sea surface temperature (SST) in degree Celsius along with the position of the ship. This graph was based on measurements taken by one of the instruments on MAGIC called the ISAR, the Infrared SST Autonomous Radiometer and was prepared by Mike Reynolds (thanks Mike!), who was the first MAGIC rider. Now on the ship to Hawaii are Mike Ritsche, who is in charge of the deployment; Rich and Tim, who are working on the motion detection system, the stable table for one of the radars, and on other instruments; Kevin, radar guru; and Tom. In Hawaii, Tom will switch with Pat (another tech), Kevin will deboard, and Gunnar Senum from BNL will get on to observe the clouds.

I fly to Los Angeles next Wednesday (October 3) to board the Spirit and ride it to Honolulu and back. Needless to say, I’m quite looking forward to this. Nearly all the instruments should be set up and taking measurements by then, and the techs Pat and Mark will be doing their routine maintenance and upkeep. I can get some work done (free of pesky email) while I observe and log the clouds.