On this page you will find a collection of reports of events relating to the people who worked at, or were associated with, the Wormley laboratory. Arranged in date order they are, in effect, a blog (albeit far from complete).
Phil Moran's funeral. (Posted 23/2/2019)
Phil Moran was a well-liked Chief Officer and Master of NERC research ships .
Rob Bonner writes, “I attended Phil Moran’s funeral in St Ives - very well attended with the church full. There were four ex-RVS staff (Ian McGill, Roger Chamberlain, Glen (Tiny) Pook, and Andy McLean). Roger gave an excellent eulogy, talking about Phil at sea and things he had learnt from him on the bridge whilst training to be a deck officer.
Phil was highly thought of in St Ives and had spent many years supporting operations of the lifeboat. When he had retired from that he became a children’s book author, writing six stories about “Soggy the Bear”. Other eulogies were given by the illustrator of the Soggy Bear stories and a member of the lifeboat team.
After the funeral attendees were invited to gather outside the Lifeboat Station for the cortège to pause, and for people pay their final respects, before a private family cremation at Camborne. Following the cortège’s departure, we were all invited to the ‘Union’ pub for his wake, which provided a good opportunity to catch up with the ex-RVS guys and swap tales of past cruises! Andy McLean is, in fact, still sailing on NERC vessels as Bosun.
Attached are a few photography courtesy of Tiny Pook and including group photo of the ship's company of RRS Discovery Cruise 73 (Tony Laughton - Principal Scientist, Geoff Howe - Master (his last cruise?), Phil Moran - Chief Officer)
Mark Carson's poems (Posted 31/12/2015)
Mark Carson who was part of the engineering team at Wormley from 1969 to 1978 has recently published a small book of poems "Hove-to is a state of mind".
The poems were partly inspired by his time at sea. The book is available from Wayleave publishers.
WOCE and its publications
The World Ocean Circulation Experiment was the most comprehensive global-scale ocean study ever undertaken. It aimed to quantify the role played by the oceans in the earth’s climate. The observational phase ran from 1990 to 1998 and from 1984 to 2002 the International Project Office was hosted by the UK, first at Wormley and finally in Southampton. The UK WOCE programme was established at the James Rennell Centre Southampton starting in 1990.
The decade of the 1990s and the WOCE arguably marked the start of modern-day marine science. It became possible to have round-the-clock monitoring of the oceans from satellites and in situ measurements and these were assimilated into global, eddy-resolving models.
In addition to a large number of journal articles WOCE produced several ground-breaking publications:
• Four atlases documenting the physical and chemical state of the oceans in the 1990s.
• A book “Ocean Circulation and Climate – Observing and modeling the global ocean” (sometimes referred to as “The WOCE book”).
• An online WOCE data set.
In 2014 a sequal to the WOCE book was published “Ocean Circulation and Climate – A 21st century perspective”. It describes the present state of knowledge of the oceans’ role in climate and the revolution that has taken place in in-situ ocean observations.
Earth's Climate Evolution
In 2010 Colin Summerhayes (former IOS Director) led a drafting group charged with producing a "Statement on Climate Change" for the Geological Society of London (GSL). His group updated the statement with an Addendum in autumn 2013, designed to come out at the same time as a statement from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change (IPCC).
The more he got into the GSL statement, the more he realised that there is a fascinating tale to tell that had not yet been really well told, despite several books on palaeoclimates having appeared in the past two decades.
Four years and one PhD's worth of research later, his book "Earth's Climate Evolution" is about to be published by WILEY/Blackwell.
One of Colin's main conclusions is that we live within a rather narrow window of natural climate variability, mostly governed over the past few thousand years by variations in the Earth's orbit, modified slightly by variations in the sun's output. While many scientists like to say that the Little Ice Age came to a natural end in about 1850, it is clear from the orbital data that we should still be in it. Furthermore, from the solar data, the rise in temperature since 1850 has little to do with solar variability. The main warming post-1950 certainly has to be due to something else, and the logical conclusion (using the 55 million-year-old Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum as an indirect analog) is that this modern warming and the associated ocean acidification must be mostly due to the recent rise of CO2. You can't argue with a rock, and the rocks tell the same story as the IPCC, giving us some extra confidence that the IPCC may well be right about our likely future.
THE 50th ANNIVERSARY
MID-OCEAN DYNAMICS EXPERIMENT
1973 marked a crucial stage in the development of the Wormley Institute. Organisationally it changed from NIO into IOS. On the date that this occurred RRS Discovery was working Southwest of Bermuda on a cruise led by John Swallow. She was part of a joint US/UK experiment using new technologies to reveal the "weather" inside the ocean. In 1960, Swallow and Jim Crease had had a glimpse of the fact that the ocean, like the atmosphere, was turbulent and energetic from floats that they tried to track for a year from the beautiful ketch "Aries" on loan to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
John Gould was on board Discovery and in this short document he gives a glimpse of the UK's role in this experiment and how MODE played a pivotal role in the development of modern-day oceanography.
Left. The MODE site, southwest of Bermuda. Centre. Discovery in Hamilton Bermuda and dwarfed by a cruise liner. Right The RV Aries used by Swallow in 1960.
DISCOVERY'S SURGICAL INSTRUMENTS
The much-travelled instruments have been added to the archives at the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton. They were part of the equipment that sailed aboard RRS Discovery from 1962 onwards, On early cruises, such as those of the International Indian Ocean Expedition, that were long and took the ship to remote areas, a professional; doctor was carried. The equipment enabled surgical procedures to be carried out. The ship was built with a sick bay and adjacent doctor’s cabin at the aft end of the accommodation. These were later converted to an extra science cabin and a laboratory.
The instruments were presented by Dr Peter Rowan who been Discovery’s doctor on the “infamous” Cruise 100 in 1979 and subsequently on Discovery Cruise 154 (a 4 month cruise: Gibraltar, Falkland Is. - Punta Arenas - Grytviken - Montevideo - led by Dr Peter Barker, Birmingham University). Dr Rowan rescued the instruments when Discovery was broken up. There is one virtually complete set and some older instruments.
The donation to the NOC was received by NOC librarian, Emma Guest and was also witnessed by Howard Roe who had sailed on Cruise 100 and by Peter Herring. Howard comments, “ The medical kits are amazing, hundreds of instruments in lift out trays all in individual spaces so that they did not rattle! “
The fact that the instrument set is virtually complete and in pristine condition is because, fortunately, few were ever used.
The presentation on September 19th 2023.
L to R. Peter Rowan, Howard Roe, Peter Herring.
Photographs by Emma Guest.