Field Campaign Work

In 2018 I had the opportunity to take part in the Propagation of Intraseasonal Tropical Oscillations (PISTON) field campaign funded by the Office of Naval Research. The goal of the project was to collect detailed ocean and atmosphere observations over an extended period to better understand the boreal summer intraseasonal oscillation (BSISO). The field campaign was origionally supposed to take place in the South China Sea; however, politics got in the way and the research domain had to moved to the area just north of Palau. Instead of sampling intraseasonal oscillilations, we spent most of the time sampling near tropical cyclone environments. This worked out better for my interests in tropical cyclones, although we had to deal with significantly larger waves on the ship.

During my leg of the project, I helped launch radiosondes and operated the radar. The radar, called Sea-Pol, is the first dual-polarimetric radar to be mounted on a ship and collect observations in the Western Pacific. The radar setup was unique in that it was mounted on the O2 deck in front of the bridge, so no observations could be collected behind the ship. Below is a picture of Sea-Pol with one of the prettiest thunderstorms I saw on my cruise.

A shelf cloud seen from the R/V Thomas G. Thompson during PISTON.

The time I spent on the R/V Thomas G. Thompson was incredible because I got to interact with oceanographers, engineers, and the ship crew. It was also a unique experience because I got to collect the data that went into my PhD projects. Although I still have a number of questions, I analyzed the data we collected on Super Typhoon Kong-rey. If you ever get a chance to engage in field work, take it.