The Research vessel Knorr carried scientists 7,394 nautical miles in a six week expedition from Cape Cod to the Arctic. They were to analyse a reddish-brown fog, a mix of dust, black carbon and chemical polltants which was first reported by pilots in the late 1950s. With little springtime rain to clear the air, it tends to float for weeks over parts of the Northern Pole.
At the start of the voyage, the scientists took air samples in Long Island Sound to analyse pollution from New York City. Knorr skirted the edge of the Arctic ice pack to let scientists take air samples. This gathering of current concentrations of pollutants is to provide baseline information to gauge future changes. The more polar ice melts, the more ships will use the open water as a shortcut to save on fuel costs and that means more pollution in the future.
Sailing off the northern tip of Norway and Russia, they also measured air quality near coastal smelters. They even sampled the exhaust from a fleet of Norwegian fishing boats.
The Knorr got far enough north to measure the Arctic haze where the highest concentrations of particulate sulfate were measured along the edge of the ice-pack.
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute operates three ships and it's the job of Liz Caporelli as ship scheduler to make sure the scientists have everything on board the right ship for their research, make sure the ship is in the right area of ocean and at the best time of year. When the ship leaves, she serves as an on shore liason.
She stated off at the University of Rhode Island in mechanical engineering and after taking a few classes in marine science decided she was more interested in the environment and fisheries.
To earn money for college she had summer jobs as a deckhand on commercial fishng vessels including lobster boats on Rhode Island. At the time, fishing was a dangerous occupation and women generally didn't fish.
From Rhode Island she went on to science-and environmental-focused jobs in Bermuda, California, Maine, cruises in the Arabian Sea and Antarctica then to Woods Hole.
She says, "I think that science is really important. I admire scientists; they work really hard, and sometimes for their whole life, to get to sea. So I want to make that happen."