Ice Navigation RV Mirai Arctic Deployment 2013 #14

One of the benefits of RV Mirai’s size is the capacity to complete observations across a wide variety of disciplines and provide real time assessment of the observations and samples taken combining the research into one big picture from numerous smaller ones. Research onboard runs from the sampling and studying the basic chemistry building blocks and chemical make up of the water column and atmosphere to the presence and distribution of animal and plant species. Each day at 1400 the lead researchers meet to discuss latest observations and finds and to discuss refined areas of focus or shifts in theories and ideas.

Ice Navigation RV Mirai Arctic Deployment 2013 #13

For this 42 day cruise, 17 September is mid trip point. That said, the Mirai’s Arctic deployments tend to be six weeks from Dutch Harbor to Dutch Harbor with 2 week voyages between Japan and Dutch Harbor on either side, so the duration onboard is not the same for all. Midtrip is different depending on your rotation.

Ice Navigation RV Mirai Arctic Deployment 2013 #12

According to the vessel owners Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), RV Mirai is “the world’s largest oceanographic vessel that can conduct large area and long duration observations”.  At 10,727t displacement and 130m in length, she is certainly at the top of her food chain.  The Mirai was originally built as the nuclear powered demonstration ship Mutsu, however she was soon retired from that service.  In 1997 she was converted to the conventionally powered queen of the Japanese research fleet she is today.  Mirai is not fully DP rated, though with joy stick control of twin rudders, twin CCP propellors on a diesel electric hybrid propulsion motor system. two bow thrusters and a stern thruster she can maintain station in severe conditions. 

Ice Navigation RV Mirai Arctic Deployment 2013 #11

RV Mirai is now well south of the ice edge and has taken up station at 72º45’N 168º15’W for approximately two weeks of concentration observations below and above the surface.  One of the research points of focus on this Fixed Point observation series is Senior Met Officer Jun Inoue’s study of Arctic cyclones.  During the two week period between 11 and 24 September shore side weather stations and RV Mirai have set up increased radiosonde data collection from the usual 3 per day to 8 per day to gather data for Jun’s study.  The study hopes to gain further insight into the development of Arctic cyclones that can develop extremely rapidly and without the normally understood drivers such as ocean currents.


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