Unlocking the mysteries of the Agulhas Current and its effects on global climate
Oceanography has a new face, and its female. Traditionally, scientists and crew on research vessels have been dominated by men, but that has been changing.
An exciting new short film "Women in Oceanography" takes the audience onto the deck of the R/V Knorr as Chief Scientist Lisa Beal leads a team of scientists on an expedition to the Agulhas Current in the Indian Ocean. The film, shot and directed by Valery Lyman and edited by Lorian James, highlights many of the women who make up the highly-skilled team of scientists, technicians, and crew needed to conduct research on the high seas.
The Agulhas Current is the Indian Ocean's version of the Gulf Stream. Originating in the tropics, both currents sprint along the coast transporting warm, salty water toward the poles. Though it is equally important to world-ocean circulation and to climate, far less attention, research and technology have been applied to the Agulhas Current.
The scientific party aboard the ship includes female researchers from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science and the University of Cape Town, along with an all-female shipboard technician group from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. In the film, mooring technician Benita Maritz explains, "The field is open for women," while Third Mate Jennifer Hickey appeals to women saying "Go get your hands dirty, learn how to do things, learn everything anybody's willing to teach you about how to get things done." After all, as Lisa Beal asks, "Why should men have all the fun?"
Beal's Agulhas Current Time-series project, funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation, is the vanguard of a new effort to understand this current and its role in our global climate. More information about the project, which included three cruises off South Africa, can be found in the expedition's journals, written by Dallas Murphy, at http://act.rsmas.miami.edu/
About the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School The University of Miami is the largest private research institution in the southeastern United States. The University's mission is to provide quality education, attract and retain outstanding students, support the faculty and their research, and build an endowment for University initiatives. Founded in the 1940's, the Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science has grown into one of the world's premier marine and atmospheric research institutions. Offering dynamic interdisciplinary academics, the Rosenstiel School is dedicated to helping communities to better understand the planet, participating in the establishment of environmental policies, and aiding in the improvement of society and quality of life. For more information, please visit www.rsmas.miami.edu.