2023-02-21: Introduction to the Ran Baltic Cruise on RV Skagerak!
Hi! My name is Li Ling and I’m a SMaRC doctoral student working with underwater navigation. During the coming two weeks (20th February to 6th March), I’ll be participating in the Ran Baltic Sea expedition on the University of Gothenburg’s research vessel [R/V Skagerak](https://www.gu.se/skagerak). The main objective of this expedition is to deploy [Ran – the autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) from the University of Gothenburg](https://www.gu.se/en/skagerak/auv-autonomous-underwater-vehicle) under compact sea ice in the Baltic sea and gathering upward looking multi-beam data and various oceanographic data under the sea ice.
Drone footage of R/V Skagerak next to a pack of sea ice taken today (Feb 21st) before the first Ran deployment of the cruise!
Image credit: Xiaohan Yuan
We currently have 10 participants onboard Skagerak:
– [Anna Wåhlin | University of Gothenburg](https://www.gu.se/en/about/find-staff/annawahlin): Professor in physical oceanography at the University of Gothenburg. Anna is the main responsible person for Ran and has brought Ran to Antarctica multiple times to collect both bathymetric and under-glacier data, this time she is interested in deploying Ran under sea ice. She is the principal investigator of the cruise and will be in charge of planning Ran missions.
– [Stina Rebecka Wahlgren | University of Gothenburg](https://www.gu.se/en/about/find-staff/stinawahlgren): PhD student of Anna working with ice-ocean boundary layer interactions. She is primarily interested in observing the current under sea ice, as well as testing out a new ADCP (acoustic doppler current profiler) for measuring the turbulence of water under sea ice.
– [Xiaohan YUAN | Tongji University, Shanghai | Department of Surveying and Geo-informatics](https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Xiaohan-Yuan-3): Visiting PhD student with Anna from Tongji University, working with analyzing the instability of Antarctic glacier using remote sensing products such as satellite images. She is also our drone expert! During this cruise, she will be flying the drone before Ran missions to gather image data and make sure that the deployment environment is safe.
– [Filip Stedt | University of Gothenburg](https://www.gu.se/en/about/find-staff/filipstedt): AUV technician from the University of Gothenburg. Together with Anders, Filip will be responsible for everything that has to do with Ran, from launch and recovery to mission planning and data quality control.
– [Anders Sjövall | Ocean Infinity](https://se.linkedin.com/in/anders-sj%C3%B6vall-214982ba): Survey engineer from Ocean Infinity. Together with Filip, Anders will be responsible for everything about Ran as well!
– [Leif Eriksson | Chalmers Research](https://research.chalmers.se/en/person/?cid=leif70): Professor in radar remote sensing at Chalmers University of Technology focusing on the development of methods to observe land and ocean with radar data. Leif’s main interest in this cruise is to gather under-sea ice multibeam data, compare it to satellite radar data of the same sea ice, and use it to further our understanding of sea ice dynamics and deformations.
– [Denis Demchev | Chalmers Research](https://research.chalmers.se/en/person/demchev): Researcher in radar remote sensing at Chalmers University of Technology. Together with Leif, Denis is interested in sea ice tracking using both under-ice multibeam data and satellite radar data.
– [Adam Ulfsbo | University of Gothenburg](https://www.gu.se/en/about/find-staff/adamulfsbo): Researcher in marine chemistry. Together with his master’s student Maja, Adam is going to take water samples from CTD, determining the marine carbonate system, including dissolved inorganic carbon, total alkalinity and seawater pH. One of the goals is to compare the above measurements to Ran’s onboard high-resolution pCO2 sensor.
– [Maja Billman | University of Gothenburg](https://se.linkedin.com/in/maja-billman-9a6a81215): Master’s student of Adam, also working with analyzing water samples from CTDs to determine marine carbonate system.
– [Li Ling | KTH](https://www.kth.se/profile/liling/): Me 🙂 I’m a PhD student at KTH working with underwater navigation using sonars, currently focusing on multibeam-based simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) using upward-looking multibeam data. On the cruise, I’ll be helping out with the post-processing of multibeam data.
Other than the above participants, [Øyvind Hegrenæs](https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Oyvind-Hegrenaes) and Stian Hopmark from Kongsberg Maritime, the company that manufactured Ran will also be joining us on the second week of the cruise!
As of now, on the second day of the cruise, we’ve been looking at the [SMHI ice charts](https://www.smhi.se/oceanografi/istjanst/produkter/arkiv/sstcolor/sstcolor_20230221.pdf) closely, transited into locations that will be suitable for a first Ran mission, did a CTD cast and a drone mission and deployed Ran on a 19h mission! One thing I’ve learned so far: the sea ice condition can change really rapidly in the Baltic Sea! Just compare the ice chart from [yesterday](https://www.smhi.se/oceanografi/istjanst/produkter/arkiv/sstcolor/sstcolor_20230220.pdf) and [today](https://www.smhi.se/oceanografi/istjanst/produkter/arkiv/sstcolor/sstcolor_20230221.pdf)!
We’ll be updating our journey here on the blog, and you would hopefully be hearing updates from different people throughout the two weeks 😀