Irminger Current time series is making music

by Stelios Kritsotalakis

The Irminger Current (IC), a branch of the North Atlantic Current (NAC), carries warm and saline waters poleward in the subpolar gyre and as such contributes to the upper limb of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). The Irminger Current (IC) has not been extensively studied in the past. Little is known about the velocity structure, the transport and the variability of this current. My work was based on the first year-round data from a full-depth mooring array in the eastern Irminger Sea (west side of Reykjanes Ridge). This data was recovered in July 2015 during the second leg of OSNAP 9 East cruise (64PE400) under chief scientist Laura de Steur. I was lucky to participate in this cruise and gain my first sea-going experience on board of the research vessel Pelagia (NIOZ). Results from this study are materialized in my master thesis and will contribute to a paper to appear in 2017 in collaboration with my supervisor Laura de Steur and research scientist Femke de Jong.


Figure 1: Map showing the location of the four moorings in the Irminger Sea.

Sometimes science is a lot more art than science and sometimes music communicates science better than a figure. During my research study, I shared a flat with Nika Pasuri who is an upcoming electronic music composer from Georgia. We soon realized that we were both analyzing time series for different purposes. For example, I was analyzing the spectra of time series to discover their dominant periodicities while he was using spectral output to create sounds. And so, the idea of making music out of the mooring data was born which in turn gave birth to two songs, “RAFOS Floats” and “Loneliness of Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler”. These songs where made out of the time series of the volume transport of the Irminger current. You can enjoy them and share our excitement about this project in the following link:

Stelios Kritsotalakis, Master student in Climate Physics, Utrecht University

Nika Pasuri, Master student in Music Composition, Amsterdam Conservatorium


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