Brief Cruise Summary

The R/V Meteor left Ushuaia on the morning of January 23, 1990. The next morning, sampling started southwest of Cape Horn and continued south-ward at 30-nm station spacing. Basic equipment included a Neil Brown Mark IIIB CTD (AWI, calibrated at SIO Oceanographic Data Facility) and a 24 12-liter General Oceanic rosette system. Large-volume stations were placed between the fronts in order to characterize the four principle hydrographic zones of the passage (Sievers and Nowlin 1984). Apart from pCO2, which became operative only toward the end of the section, all measurements were carried out successfully. Measurements of salinity, oxygen, and nutrients (nitrate, nitrite, silicate, and phosphate) were made in the standard fashion. The weather was advantageous for all of the Drake Passage section work.

After 3 days of station work, the winch computer system malfunctioned. The ship crew managed to provide makeshift operation for the CTD/Rosette winch, and the trawl winch operation for large-volume sampling was similarly resumed 2 days later. It was decided to continue the section and then return to Ushuaia for repairs. The section was concluded after sampling near the South Shetland Arc shelf off Smith Island. During the section, 13 standard and 4 large-volume stations were occupied. However, the large-volume samples in the Polar Frontal Zone were collected on the way back to Ushuaia (i.e. not simultaneously with the corresponding main CTD/Rosette work). In total, at least 4 days were lost as a result of the winch malfunction.

After the vessel left Ushuaia (February 3, 1990) the second time, station work resumed on February 6, 1990, with a short section north and east of the South Orkney Islands (Stations 122-131).

On February 12, 1990, after rounding Southern Thule of the South Sandwich Islands, sampling began on WOCE section A-12 (stations 132-179), and continued up to the African shelf until the morning of March 8, 1990, when R/V Meteor entered Cape Town.

A historic comment: From January 21 to March 10, 1926, the original Meteor (I) also explored a transect from Ushuaia to Cape Town, which was leg 5 of its famous South Atlantic survey. The scientific topic, i.e. hydrography, was quite similar. A total of 34 stations were sampled (6 across Drake Passage), 3 properties were measured (temperature, salinity, and oxygen), and 26 depths typically were sampled (in 3 casts) (Roether et al. 1990).


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