Thursday, September 19, 2013

Polar Regions Unit - Wk 3 - Day 4 - Weddell Sea

Today we will be learning about James Weddell, the Weddell Sea and Weddell seals.  Check out our resources below.

James Weddell Resources 

Who was James Weddell?
James Weddell (1787 -1834) was an English explorer, naturalist, geographer, and sealer who sailed on three expeditions to the Antarctic

Weddell joined the Navy when he was nine and was a Master by the age of 28. He joined the merchant service four years later and was given command of a 160-ton sealing brig to take on an expedition to the South Shetland Islands.

Captain Weddell sailed on the brig "Jane." On these sealing/scientific expeditions, Weddell discovered the Weddell Sea (near the South Pole) and the Weddell SealLeptonychotes weddelli in 1823.

James Weddell´s second expedition, depicting the brig "Jane" and the cutter "Beaufroy".
Captain Weddell also set an 80-year record for the farthest southern latitude reached (74°15'S, set February 20, 1823). Weddell wrote of his adventures in the book, "A Voyage Towards the South Pole in the Years 1822-24" (published in 1825). 

Weddell died a young man. He was injured when a vessel of which he was master was shipwrecked in the Azores five years after his third voyage. Weakened by the experience, he died, relatively poor and with no family, at the age of 47.


Weddell Sea Resources

The Weddell Sea is part of the Southern Ocean and contains the Weddell Gyre.
At its widest the sea is around 2,000 km across, in area it is around 2.8 million km².

January and February 2013 brought some unusual ice behavior in the Weddell Sea, east of the Antarctic Peninsula, as sea ice pushed northward toward warmer latitudes. On February 5, 2013, the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) reported that the ice edge was roughly 200 to 300 kilometers (100 to 200 miles) north of what is normal for this time of year.

Ice lingered north of the Weddell Sea on February 22, 2013, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer(MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired this natural-color image.
Credit: Nasa

Weddell Sea Experience 

Weddell Seal Resources 

A Weddell seal, from James Weddell, A Voyage towards the South Pole,1825.

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