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Explore the Mysteries of the Ocean by Tracking a Powerful Current - Drifting in the Gulf Stream

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Date: August 4, 2009
Contact: Jody Anastasio, North District Interpreter, 508-487-1256

The impenetrable depths of the ocean remain largely mysterious to scientists, but the waters of the Gulf Stream can tell us a great deal about what lies beneath the surface. Find out where this ocean current comes from, where it is going, and what happens to it along the way in “Drifting in the Gulf Stream.”

On Sunday, August 16th, at 7:00 PM, join Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution oceanographer Phil Richardson to find out how observations about the Gulf Stream system provide a glimpse into the ocean’s depths. A warm, ocean current first charted by Benjamin Franklin, the Gulf Stream originates in the Gulf of Mexico and flows northward along the southeast coast of the United States before veering into the North Atlantic. Learn how scientists have developed a better understanding of the stream’s role in ocean circulation patterns by studying subsurface float and surface drifter measurements.

Phil Richardson is Scientist Emeritus at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Woods Hole, MA, a non-profit institution dedicated to advancing ocean research and education for environmental and social benefit. Richardson has worked as a physical oceanographer since 1974 to better understand ocean currents and their variability. His recent research includes an investigation into the flow of Indian Ocean water around Africa into the Atlantic in the form of giant Agulhas eddies.

Every Sunday in July and August, at 7:00 PM., join a special guest for an in-depth look at the history, culture and nature of Cape Cod in a one-hour program. Come each week to explore a range of topics, from reptiles and amphibians to ocean currents. The programs are sponsored by the Friends of the Cape Cod National Seashore. All presentations will be held the Province Lands Visitor Center and are free, accessible, and open to the public.

IF YOU GO:

The Province Lands Visitor Center is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Staff members are available to answer questions, assist with activity planning, and provide hiking and bicycling trail information in person, or by phone at (508) 487-1256. The visitor center features museum exhibits, orientation films, and a bookstore with interpretive items such as books, maps, games and puzzles. The 360-degree rooftop observation deck provides views of the surrounding dunes and sea. A listing of all of the National Seashore’s programs is available at the two seashore visitor centers, or on-line at www.nps.gov/caco.

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Did You Know?

Typha latifolia (common cattail)

Most of the cattails on Cape Cod are an exotic, invasive species. While Typha latifolia (common cattail) is native, Typha angustifolia (narrowleaf cattail) is a Eurasian plant that is believed to have been brought to North America by the early colonists.