National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce

Station Papa Cruise Inspires "Life at Sea" Article

Station Papa Snowman

Patrick Berk (left) and Nathan Anderson (right) create a snow mascot for the 2024 Papa cruise.  Joined by Matias Gradilla and Elizabeth McGeorge, the team endured cold weather and brisk winds (Photo Credit: Elizabeth McGeorge).

June 10, 2024

On April 8th, 2024, four scientists from PMEL and CICOES/UW flew to Kodiak, AK to board the NOAA ship OSCAR DYSON on a trip to Station Papa (50°N 145°W) for the annual Ocean Climate Stations (OCS) mooring turnaround.  The OCS mooring provides critical oceanographic and meteorological observations useful to modelers, satellite validation and marine heatwave researchers, the National Weather Service, and other users in the science community.

Despite encountering a mix of wintry precipitation in port, positive attitudes kept the team functioning while building and testing the buoy on a frigid (20°F) deck.  Crew members assisted with various logistics, including operating the forklift and cranes.  At one point, an impromptu snow mascot even joined the scene!

Unfortunately, suboptimal forecasts continued to deteriorate on the outbound voyage, and the ship was ultimately forced to turn back before operations were complete. However, the team will return for another cruise in the summer, when regional climatology favors better weather and calmer seas. In the meantime, the existing buoy continues to sample on station as preparations are made for a replacement.

Notably, the 2024 cruise provided a serendipitous opportunity for OCS to share our science. Sydney Mantell, a Knauss Marine Policy Fellow at the Ocean and Atmospheric Research’s Office of Communications, contacted OCS with the vision of crafting a story about seagoing work. From there, the narrative took shape through collaborative sessions on either end of the cruise. Sydney’s article provides a unique lens into a research scientist’s life at sea, including the logistics, preparations, and perseverance required for the job. We extend a big thank you to her for taking on the writing, social media coordination, and engaging storytelling that brings our experiences at sea to life!

Sydney’s article is available at

Additional articles Sydney has authored can be viewed at this link.

By: Nathan Anderson