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WHOI Hosts Talk on ‘To The Denmark Strait’

December 5, 2013

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) will host a talk by author Dallas Murphy and videographer Ben Harden on Friday, December 13, about the new book To The Denmark Strait, which features a firsthand account of a modern oceanographic adventure. The free talk will begin at noon in Redfield Auditorium, located at 45 Water Street, Woods Hole, Ma.

Murphy and Harden, now a postdoctoral scholar at WHOI, accompanied WHOI physical oceanographer Robert Pickart and colleagues aboard the research vessel Knorr on an expedition to determine the origin of a previously unknown oceanic current near Iceland. Learning about this current, the North Icelandic Jet, helps researchers better understand the mechanisms that move oceans.

The Denmark Strait—a narrow body of water separating Iceland from Greenland—is one of the most important stretches of water in the ocean circulation system. During the 2011 expedition, instruments were deployed across the entire strait for the first time. Remaining in the water for a full year, the instruments gathered data that helps shed light on ocean circulation and its impact on climate.

“We’ve documented this expedition, to our knowledge, more extensively than any before it,” Murphy said. “The essays and images in To the Denmark Strait were written and shot during the course of the cruise.  We’ve tried to preserve that daily sense of excited immediacy as the best means vicariously of bringing the reader aboard.”

In addition to vivid narratives of Murphy’s daily at-sea journals and clear explanations of the cutting-edge oceanography that propels the expedition, To The Denmark Strait features photographs and videos of life aboard the ship.

“What makes the book special is that it blends together the science, life at sea, and the striking environment of the high-latitude Atlantic,” Pickart said. “It offers a unique inside look on the workings of a research cruise aboard one of WHOI’s vessels.”

The talk is part of the Peanut Butter Club series sponsored by the WHOI Information Office. Books will be available for purchase after the talk.

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is a private, non-profit organization on Cape Cod, Mass., dedicated to marine research, engineering, and higher education. Established in 1930 on a recommendation from the National Academy of Sciences, its primary mission is to understand the ocean and its interaction with the Earth as a whole, and to communicate a basic understanding of the ocean’s role in the changing global environment. For more information, please visit