Physical Geography Name _______________________________________ Lost At Sea* – 15 pts. *serc.carleton.edu – Modified from an activity that was modified from an exercise designed by oceanography faculty at the University of Arizona Background: Suppose, in the not too distant future, after graduation, you and two of your classmates decide to embark on a sailing voyage. Being novices at long distance sailing, you and your friends decide to tackle something that appears relatively simple. You decide that a round-trip voyage across the Atlantic Ocean, starting in North America, is just the thing. You only have a couple of weeks, so the most direct routes possible will be of utmost importance. This will involve identifying your location, winds, and currents at various waypoints during the voyage. You decide to prepare by digging out your old textbooks and notes, a map of ocean currents, a diagram of the global winds, and a globe or world map to help you out [Hint: You need these for this activity]. You decide to leave from and return to North Carolina, where your sailboat is being built. The Voyage Begins: 1. The first step is to plan your route there, so that the prevailing surface ocean currents and winds provide the most help. What ocean currents and major winds are these? Draw them and label them on the map on the last page of this handout. List and briefly describe them in the space below. (1 pt.) 2. Getting across to England was a breeze – you can’t believe how easy the trip was, and how quickly it all went by. Now you are ready to head back. Briefly describe the ocean currents and major wind system you will use. Draw and label them on the map. (1 pt.) 3. Depending on how you plan your route, you know that the trip home could take more or less time. Why? (1 pt.) It is 12:00 noon when you set sail again. Just entering the warmer climates to the south disaster strikes. Off the Canary Islands, your boat capsizes in a storm. Before she sinks, you have just enough time to grab the emergency kit and jump into the inflatable lifeboat. Whew! But…now what??? You have been blown completely off course! You have no idea of where the west-flowing current is. Because you have no sail, try as you might, you can’t even make the boat change directions to try to get back on course. So, you’re adrift in the Atlantic Ocean, not exactly as you’d planned, trying to make the best of things. 1 4. In what latitudinal geographic zone are you? What type of storm were you most likely caught in? Explain. [Hint: EAS 121 and GEG 111- look at your Topic 1 notes; EAS 100 – Use google!] (1 pt.) A few days later…you’ve been drifting rapidly, and you still do not know exactly where you are. You need to figure this out so that you can plan your food and water supplies, and so that you can know if you are likely to see land anytime soon. You’ll have to rely on those trusty navigational skills (and in this case the Internet!). 5. The Sun is directly overhead and the date on your explorer’s watch says that it’s June 21. (1.5 pt.) 1) What’s your approximate latitude? ___________________ 2) What do we call this part of the world? _________________ 3) Why is June 21 significant? _________________________________________________________ Determining Your Longitude Because one day is 24 hours long you can easily use time to calculate longitude. Recall that there are different time zones across Earth and that it gets later as you travel east around the globe. One hour of time difference corresponds to 15° of longitude (360°/24 hours = 15°/hour). Suppose an observer sets their watch to 12:00 noon in Greenwich, England (00) and then travels a great distance all the while the Sun stays directly overhead. After 4 hours of travel, they stop for the day and the observer notices that the sun is still in the same position overhead. The observer then knows they are at longitude 60° W (4 hours ×15°/hour = 60°). 6. Now determine your longitude. Your watch is still on London time, but you notice that when the Sun is directly overhead at your current position, your watch reads 1:30 p.m. You realize you can calculate your longitude. What is it? Show your work. [Hint: Your watch was set at 12:00 when you left London]. (1 pt.) 7. From your map, you can see that you are north of a group of islands at about 15ºN, 25ºW. If you miss these islands, your map of Atlantic Ocean currents suggests you might have a long trip ahead. What’s the name of the island group? (1 pt.) With a stiff breeze from the NE, you drift for another 2 weeks, but then the wind dies back. You start to experience frequent rain showers that help you capture fresh water. You seem to be moving west, although there’s no strong wind. Oh @#%&!!, did you miss your islands? Yes you did! 8. What ocean current is taking you west, and what’s the name given to the region (or wind system) you have encountered? (1 pt.) 2 9. Your map shows several islands further south. What are your chances of reaching them, given what you know about winds and currents? Explain. (1.5 pt.) 10. You recall a real-life story of a similar situation. One man spent 76 days adrift at sea before drifting ashore. He survived. You’ve been at sea 21 days and you guess you are 4000 km from land and traveling 1 m/sec. How much longer will you be drifting? Be sure to show your work. (1 pt.) Eventually you make it safely back to land in the Caribbean where you take a well-deserved break. While recuperating on the beach, you remember reading an article in National Geographic about an English explorer named Lord Hugh Willoughby. Trying to find the most direct and cost efficient route to China to capitalize on the spice trade, he decided to try to find a northeast passage out of England. The trip was a disaster. Three ships set out in 1553. They got separated in a storm and only 1 ship made it to St. Petersburg, Russia. The other two ships found safe haven on a deserted beach off the coast of Russia. Several months later, Russian fishermen found the two enormous English galleons, sitting silently along the shore. There was no movement anywhere. Boarding the ships revealed a mystery that took several hundred years to solve. It appeared as if the crews from both ships were all on one ship. The stores were full of food and drink, the holds were full of supplies. The windows and doors were tightly sealed against the bitter cold. The cook was in the galley apparently preparing a meal using sea coal as his fuel source. Yet, the sailors looked as if they had died instantly. Literally in life positions, sitting at a writing desk, playing cards, drinking a cup of tea or asleep in their bunk – there was no sign of foul play anywhere. In 1985 the mystery was finally solved. 11. What route and currents did Willoughby’s ships take to Russia? Describe them below and draw them in on your map. [Hint: find a map that shows more ocean currents than the one in our slides]. (1 pt.) 12. What is sea coal? (simply answering “mineral coal” is not correct) (1 pt.) 13. What do you think caused the deaths of the sailors on the ships? All the information you need is included in the narrative above. Explain your thoughts below. (1 pt.) 3 (1 pt.) 4
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