The Japan Marine Science and Technology Center (JAMSTEC) is going to take a research cruise along the World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE), Hydrographic Program (WHP) lines in the southern hemisphere with oceanographic research vessel MIRAI from August 2003 to February 2004, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of its establishment.
During this cruise, we are going to conduct an unprecedented large-scale survey that includes measuring and analyzing water temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, nutrients, carbon dioxide, carbon isotopes, and so on from the sea surface to the bottom at about 500 stations.
This survey is expected to contribute much valuable data that will enable us to promote the study of future climate change, to explore the water temperature and density changes in the Antarctic overturn system, and to estimate the amount of carbon dioxide transported by the Antarctic Ocean. Those data are also essential to creating a high-fidelity climate model with the Earth Simulator. We will publish those significant data within two years after we finish data quality control.
The research cruise was introduced at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in 2002 as a part of the Japanese scientific activities in the southern hemisphere. Young scientists and technologists from eight countries in Africa and South America will participate in this voyage.
We named the research cruise "BEAGLE 2003" (Blue EArth Global Expedition 2003) after the prominent and significant southern hemisphere voyage of the BEAGLE (1832-36) made by British naturalist Sir Charles Darwin, who established the theory of evolution in the 19th century.
(Antarctic Overturn System)
The Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW), the Antarctic Intermediate Water (AAIW) and the Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW) originate around the Antarctic Continent and the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, and compose the basic thermohaline circulation. It is called the "Antarctic Overturn System." This water circulation system is related to heat transport between basins and accumulation of carbon dioxide. According to a survey by the World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE) in the early 1990s, the temperature between sea surface and intermediate water in the Antarctic area has been increasing for 50 years, while the Overturn System has been decreasing. Those changes should be closely related to global warming. It is therefore important to accurately and systematically observe the changes in the hydrographic structure and the Antarctic Overturn System, along the WHP lines in the Pacific, the Atlantic and the Indian oceans.