Wow! We have just finished our first week and jeez time is passing quickly. It doesn’t feel like we have been here just over a week at all.
Our first week at the labs has been fantastic. Everyone here is really welcoming and they are genuinely interested in talking to us about what they do and what we get up to in Southampton. We usually work from 8.30 to 4.30 with a half hour lunch break. Most lunchtimes I have been playing volley ball with people from all around the institute which has been a great way to get to know everyone. After work the temperatures are still in the low twenties so we often end up sunbathing and reading on the decking outside the house or going for a swim. We usually head to the supermarkets in Sidney every other day to buy food for dinner. On Thursday we also had another look round the summer market before heading to the ‘Charles Dickens’ for a few pints. There are loads of micro breweries around here which make some fantastic beers, but most of them seem to be quite pale.
As I mentioned earlier, I have spent the week working on ADCP data using Matlab. An ADCP is an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler and as the name suggests is used to measure ocean currents among other things. It works by sending out a sound pulse which gets reflected off scatterers (e.g. plankton and zooplankton) within the water column which are presumed to be moving at the same speed as the water By using the time delay and Doppler shift of the reflected sound pulse the ADCP can compute the direction and magnitude of the current. It also uses sound speed to determine how far away the scatterer is and therefore can profile the entire water column. I was given the raw backscatter data from a three year ADCP time series in the Arctic and asked to correct for pitch/roll, spreading losses and sound attenuation before converting the raw data into decibels and plotting it into 3 monthly contour plots. The backscatter data is important as it is a very good indicator of plankton abundance, location and patterns of diurnal vertical migration.
The plans for this weekend are too head into Victoria, the local city, and stay there over night in a hostel. I shall give you all an update when I get back.