News Article | February 22, 2017
Yamzho Yumco (Sacred Swan) Lake is one of the three largest sacred lakes in Tibet. It is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and is highly crenellated with many bays and inlets. The lake is home to the Samding monastery which is headed by a female reincarnation, Samding Dorje Phagmo. The image covers an area of 49.8km by 60km. Aster images map and monitor the changing surface of our planet, such as glacial advances and retreats; potentially active volcanoes; crop stress; cloud morphology and physical properties; wetlands evaluation; thermal pollution monitoring; coral reef degradation; surface temperature mapping of soils and geology; and measuring surface heat balance. This distinctive checkerboard pattern lies alongside the Priest river in northern Idaho. The photograph was taken just before sunset, so some mountainsides glow while others are covered in long shadows because of the low sun angle. The squares appear to be the result of forest management. The land here is now managed for wildlife and for timber harvesting. The white patches reflect areas with younger, smaller trees, where winter snow cover shows up brightly to the astronauts. Dark green-brown squares are parcels of denser, intact forest. The checkerboard is used as a method of maintaining the sustainability of forested tracts while still enabling a harvest of trees. The Priest river, winding through the scene, is bordered on both sides by a forest buffer that can serve as a natural filtration system to protect water quality. For nearly a century, the river was used to transport logs. Its function changed in 1968 when the river’s main stem was added to a list of “wild and scenic rivers” in order to preserve its “outstanding natural, cultural, and recreational values in a free-flowing condition for the enjoyment of present and future generations”. According to weather forecasts, Denmark was in line to be hit with strong winds, sub-zero temperatures, and precipitation from 4-7 January. Heavy flooding was expected in parts of the west coast, while Jutland and Bornholm were in line for sleet and snow. In this image, a layer of white lies over northern Jutland in the north-west, and additional streaks of snow can be seen as far south as Germany. A bank of cloud, likely part of the storm system, hangs over the blue waters of Skagerrak – a strait that lies between the south-east coast of Norway, the south-west coast of Sweden, and Denmark’s Jutland peninsula. How do you deliver supplies to one of the most remote research stations on Earth? Put the equipment and food on skis and pull them by tractor across the ice and snow in a long caravan. The convoy of supplies can be seen on the 1,000km trek from Dumont d’Urville on the Antarctic coast to Concordia research station. The traverse across Antarctica takes 10 days, climbing more than 3,000 metres to reach Concordia’s plateau. Pulled by heavy-duty tractors, the caravans carry up to 300 tonnes of fuel, food and heavy equipment in 300 metre-long convoys organised by France’s IPEV polar institute. Once at Concordia, three days are spent unpacking and preparing for the return trip to the coast, which generally takes two days less because it is downhill most of the way. Concordia sits on a plateau 3,200 metres above sea level. Temperatures can drop to –80C in winter when the sun does not rise above the horizon, forcing the crew to live in isolation without sunlight for four months of the year. For ESA, the isolation and extreme weather offer interesting parallels with spaceflight. Each year an ESA-sponsored medical doctor joins the crew of the Italian–French station to monitor and run experiments. Snow-covered St Petersburg on the Neva bay may appear to be in black and white, but it is in fact in true colour – the snow and lack of vegetation during winter lend very little colour to the scene. One of the most prominent features is the large area of ice and snow covering the water. Looking closer to the lower-central part of the image, we can see where icebreakers have created a straight route to and from St Petersburg’s port. The boats leaving the port continue west following a channel through the St Petersburg dam south of Kotlin Island and into the Gulf of Finland. There are five other breaks along the northern stretch of the dam without ice because the flowing water prevented freezing. The 25km-long dam complex protects the city from storm surges and also acts as a bridge from the mainland to Kotlin Island. On the right, the Neva flows through the centre of St Petersburg – Russia’s second largest city. Sometimes dubbed the Venice of the North for its numerous canals and more than 400 bridges, the city dates back to 1703 and was built by Tsar Peter the Great. Today, St Petersburg is a Unesco world heritage site. Milky, grey smog shrouds many of the valleys and lowlands of eastern China. The brightest, whiter areas (left, top, and bottom edges) are likely clouds or fog. Outbreaks of smog and haze, like this, tend to occur during the winter because of temperature inversions. Air naturally cools as it rises in altitude; but during an inversion, warm air masses settle over a layer of cool air near the surface. The warm air acts like a lid and traps gases and pollutants near the surface, especially in basins and valleys. Many of the particles in the haze are sulphate aerosols produced by burning coal. Coal supplies a majority of China’s energy, and the northern half of the country uses coal widely to heat buildings in the winter. In addition to emitting carbon dioxide, coal fires release sulphur dioxide, a gas that combines with water vapour to make small droplets and crystals of sulphuric acid and other sulphates, which can be detrimental to health. Several days of heavy rainfall swamped much of southern Thailand in January. While monsoon-related floods are common in the region, the wet season usually ends in November. Much of the tan and yellow colour on the landscape is sediment-laden flood water near the Pra river. For comparison, the second image shows the same area on 2 February 2014, when waters were lower. The rainfall was some of the most severe to hit Thailand in three decades, according to Thai authorities. More than 300,000 homes were affected, and damage to infrastructure was widespread. At least 36 people died. A photograph of a variety of agricultural patterns near an oasis in eastern Libya, one of the most remote places in Africa, more than 900km (560 miles) from the nearest major city. The cluster of buildings, roads, and small farming operations near the top of the photo is the town of Al Jawf. Each farming pattern in the image is related to different irrigation methods. The honeycombs in the centre are what remain of the first planned farming method in the Libyan desert, implemented about 1970. The large circles (about 1km wide) of centre-pivot irrigation systems (lower left) replaced the honeycombs in order to conserve water. The grid system (upper left) is perhaps one of the oldest known to planned agriculture, but it is still used alongside the more modern patterns. Near Al Jawf, the oasis is covered in lush green gardens and palm trees that survive due to pumping from the largest known fossil water aquifer in the world: the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer. More than 20,000 years ago, the Saharan landscape was wet and heavy rainfall continuously refilled the aquifer. Today the region receives less than 0.1in of rain a year, making this aquifer a non-renewable resource. An agreement was recently hashed out between Libya and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation to improve food security in the region by developing the country’s agriculture industry. This means the use of fossil water will continue, and the agricultural patterns we see today are likely to survive for years to come. The winter landscape in Brussels complements the red clay roofs of the historic Quartier des Squares (centre) and the white tops of the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces (centre right). An area over the western end of the state of Texas is rather devoid of colour owing to the landscape’s sparse vegetation cover. Some colour appears along the rivers and streams where plants thrive more easily. In the upper left, large circles of agriculture from central-pivot irrigation systems appear green. Centre left, one area appears orange where the land may have a different mineral content. On the upper-right side, we can see a cluster of hills of the Sierra Madera crater, formed less than 100m years ago when a meteorite hit Earth. In the lower-right corner, we can see a network of oil wells connected via a spiderweb-like structure of supply roads. Underground oil reservoirs usually stretch across large areas, and multiple wells are positioned over the reservoirs to best exploit the natural resource. Texas is the top crude oil-producing state in the US, accounting for about a third of the country’s output. A crack in the Larsen-C ice shelf on the Antarctic peninsula first appeared several years ago, but recently it has been lengthening faster than before. The satellites show that the fissure has opened about 60km since January last year. And, since the beginning of this January, it has split a further 20km so that the 350 metre-thick shelf is held only by a thread. The crack now extends around 175km. When the ice shelf calves, this iceberg will be one of the largest ever recorded. Exactly how long this will take is difficult to predict. The neighbouring Larsen-A and Larsen-B ice shelves suffered a similar fate with dramatic calving events in 1995 and 2002, respectively. These ice shelves are important because they act as buttresses, holding back the ice that flows towards the sea. This panorama shows nearly the full length of Lake Powell, the reservoir on the Colorado river in southern Utah and northern Arizona. At full capacity, the reservoir impounds 24,322,000 acre-feet of water, a vast amount that is used to generate and supply water to several western states, while also aiding in flood control for the region. It is the second largest reservoir by maximum water capacity in the US (behind Lake Mead). Green forests indicate two high places in the image that are cooler and receive more rain than the dry, low country surrounding the lake. The isolated Navajo mountain is a sacred mountain of the Native American Navajo tribe and rises to 3,154 metres (10,348ft). The long, narrow Kaiparowits Plateau rises nearly 1,200 metres from Lake Powell to an elevation of more than 2,300 metres. More than 80km (50 miles) long, the plateau gives a sense of horizontal scale. The region draws nearly 2 million people every year, even though it is remote and has few roads. Most of the area in view is protected as part of the Glen Canyon national recreation area and the Grand Staircase-Escalante national monument – the largest area of protected land in a US national monument. The Moroccan city of Nador is sheltered from the Mediterranean by Mar Chica, a sandy saltwater lagoon. Mar Chica has a shallow maximum depth – only 8 metres – allowing us to see the ebb and flow of tides clearly from space. In Africa’s Danakil depression (or Afar triangle) three tectonic plates are tearing themselves apart in spectacular fashion. As the plates separate, several active volcanoes have emerged along the seams. One of the most active is Erta Ale, a shield volcano near the Ethiopian and Eritrean border. It is known as the “smoking mountain” and the “gateway to hell” in the Afar language. Erta Ale has a long-lived lava lake that has gurgled and spattered in its caldera for decades, but the most recent bout of activity involves the south-east flank of the gently sloping mountain. According to reports posted by Volcano Discovery, new fissures opened up on 21 January, about 7km (4 miles) from the summit caldera, spilling large amounts of lava. Meanwhile, at least one of the lava lakes has experienced large changes in the level of its lava that have led to overflows and intense spattering. Infrared hotspots representing two distinct lava flows are visible. Plumes of volcanic gases and steam drift from the lava lakes. Oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico gather oil and natural gas from beneath the seafloor of the Bahía de Campeche, located along the southern margin of the gulf, just west of the Yucatán Peninsula. In the early 1970s, oil exploration turned up vast reservoirs of oil and gas in the region and offshore oil drilling continues today, with signs of the activity visible from space. Crude oil often contains natural gas. When buried deep underground, the natural gas stays dissolved in the oil due to high pressure. But as the oil nears the surface and pressure decreases, flammable gas (mostly methane) bubbles out. Many oil rig operators try to preserve the gas for use by customers, but depending on the situation, some operators may instead choose to burn it. Sometimes the gas is burned because it is contaminated with mud or other substances. In other cases, there may be no other way to dispose of it quickly and safely. Wildfires ravaged hundreds of thousands of acres in southern and central Chile during the first month of 2017. According to a CNN report, President Michelle Bachelet said: “We have never seen anything on this scale, never in the history of Chile.” The wildfires killed at least 11 people, destroyed thousands of homes and consumed an area about three times the size of New York City, according to several media accounts. The flames destroyed a town called Santa Olga, displacing about 6,000 people, burning about 1,000 homes and destroying the town’s kindergarten. The red hotspots, accompanied by thick and billowing smoke, show the heat from actively burning fires. The town of Santa Olga was near the southern end of the chain of fires. Cambodia has one of the fastest rates of forest loss in the world. In broad swaths of the country, densely forested landscapes – even those in protected areas – have been clear-cut over the past decade, mostly for rubber plantations and timber. Scientists from the University of Maryland and the World Resources Institute’s global forest watch have been using Landsat satellite data to track the rate of forest loss on a global scale. Though other countries have lost more acres in recent years, Cambodia stands out for how rapidly its forests are being cleared. Between 2001 and 2014, the annual forest loss rate in Cambodia increased by 14.4%. Put another way, the country lost a total of 5,560 square miles of forest. Other countries with accelerating rates of forest loss include Sierra Leone (12.6%), Madagascar (8.3%), Uruguay (8.1%), and Paraguay (7.7%). The transformation of Cambodia’s landscape has been profound. The first image, taken on 31 December 2000, shows intact forest near the border of the Kampong Thom and Kampong Cham provinces. On 30 October 2015, the second image shows much of the forest has been replaced by a grid-like pattern of roads and fields and by large-scale rubber plantations. Clear-cutting has also chewed away at the edges of densely forested areas (dark green) and replaced them with exposed soil, croplands, and mixed forests (brown and light green). Researchers working with Landsat data have demonstrated that changes in global rubber prices and a surge of land-concession deals have played key roles in accelerating Cambodia’s rate of deforestation. Concession lands are leased by the Cambodian government to domestic and foreign investors for agriculture, timber production, and other uses. Researchers found that the rate of forest loss within concession lands was anywhere from 29% to 105% higher than in comparable lands outside the concessions. If you ever fly over the High Atlas range in Morocco, look down. You will be treated to a visual spectacle of massive layers of colourful rock crumpled up like pieces of paper. Sharp ridges bobbing and weaving their way across the desert. The High Atlas Mountains extend in a north-easterly direction from Morocco’s Atlantic coast (near Agadir) for hundreds of miles inland toward the Algerian border. The western portion of the range is home to its tallest mountains, with peaks that stand above 4,000 metres. The Atlas Mountains were shaped by geological processes at work over hundreds of millions of years. One key step occurred in the early Jurassic period (201m to 174m years ago), when many of the world’s continents were still bunched closely together after the breakup of the supercontinent Pangea. This part of Morocco fell within the African plate, near a boundary with the Eurasian and North American plates. As the three plates separated, the crust thinned so much that a tear opened up and formed a rift valley that eventually filled with ocean water. As the crust thinned and the rift opened up, large blocks of Earth’s crust dropped downward, creating broad valleys known as grabens. Grabens have elevated blocks at their edges called horsts that became fault-block mountains. These mountains were pushed up even higher during a later phase of intense mountain building in the Cenozoic (66m years to present), spurred by the collision of African and Eurasian tectonic plates. A display of hole-punch clouds over eastern China. This strange phenomenon results from a combination of cold temperatures, air traffic, and atmospheric instability. If you were to look from below, it would appear as if part of the cloud were falling out of the sky, which is actually what’s happening. The mid-level clouds are initially composed of liquid drops at a super-cooled temperature below 0C. As an airplane passes through the cloud, it creates a disturbance that triggers freezing. Ice particles then quickly grow in the place of the water droplets. Eventually the ice crystals in these patches of clouds grow large enough that they literally fall out of the sky – earning hole-punch clouds their alternate name: fallstreak holes. Falling crystals are often visible in the centre of the voids. The formations in this image are less like holes and more linear, like long canals. Whether the void takes on a circular or linear shape depends on differences such as cloud thickness, wind shear, and air temperature. Hole-punch and canal clouds often occur in the vicinity of an airport. In the Nevada desert, the pioneering artist Michael Heizer completes his colossal life’s work.
Ricaud P.,CNRS Laboratory for Aerology |
Ricaud P.,Meteo - France |
Genthon C.,French National Center for Scientific Research |
Durand P.,CNRS Laboratory for Aerology |
And 10 more authors.
Boundary-Layer Meteorology | Year: 2012
The HAMSTRAD (H 2O Antarctica Microwave Stratospheric and Tropospheric Radiometers) microwave radiometer operating at 60 GHz (oxygen line, thus temperature) and 183 GHz (water vapour line) has been permanently deployed at the Dome C station, Concordia, Antarctica [75°06′S, 123°21′E, 3,233 m above mean sea level] in January 2010 to study long-term trends in tropospheric absolute humidity and temperature. The great sensitivity of the instrument in the lowermost troposphere helped to characterize the diurnal cycle of temperature and H 2O from the austral summer (January 2010) to the winter (June 2010) seasons from heights of 10 to 200 m in the planetary boundary layer (PBL). The study has characterized the vertical resolution of the HAMSTRAD measurements: 10-20 m for temperature and 25-50 m for H 2O. A strong diurnal cycle in temperature and H 2O (although noisier) has been measured in summertime at 10 m, decreasing in amplitude with height, and phase-shifted by about 4 h above 50 m with a strong H 2O-temperature correlation (>0.8) throughout the entire PBL. In autumn, whilst the diurnal cycle in temperature and H 2O is less intense, a 12-h phase shift is observed above 30 m. In wintertime, a weak diurnal signal measured between 10 to 200 m is attributed to the methodology employed, which consists of monthly averaged data, and that combines air masses from different origins (sampling effect) and not to the imprint of the null solar irradiation. In situ sensors scanning the entire 24-h period, radiosondes launched at 2000 local solar time (LST) and European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) analyses at 0200, 0800, 1400 and 2000 LST agree very well with the HAMSTRAD diurnal cycles for temperature and relatively well for absolute humidity. For temperature, HAMSTRAD tends to be consistent with all the other datasets but shows a smoother vertical profile from 10 to 100 m compared to radiosondes and in-situ data, with ECMWF profiles even smoother than HAMSTRAD profiles, and particularly obvious when moving from summer to winter. For H 2O, HAMSTRAD measures a much moister atmosphere compared to all the other datasets with a much weaker diurnal cycle at 10 m. Our study has helped characterize the time variation of the PBL at Dome C with a top around 200 m in summertime decreasing to 30 m in wintertime. In summer, from 2000 to 0600 LST a stable layer is observed, followed by a well-mixed layer the remaining time, while only a nocturnal stable layer remains in winter. In autumn, a daytime convective layer shallower than the nocturnal stable layer develops. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Rabier F.,Meteo - France |
Bouchard A.,Meteo - France |
Brun E.,Meteo - France |
Doerenbecher A.,Meteo - France |
And 33 more authors.
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society | Year: 2010
The Concordiasi project was undertaken in Antarctica to reduce uncertainties in diverse and complementary fields in Antarctica science. Some of the objectives of the project involved investigations of precipitation to constrain the mass budget over Antarctica and stratospheric ozone depletion. The project was a joint French-United States initiative that started during the International Polar Year (IPY). The project was undertaken over Antarctica during September-November, 2008, December, 2009, and was expected to continue between September-December, 2010. It was undertaken as part of the IPY-The Observing System Research and Predictability Experiment. Participants in the project included scientists from France, the US, Italy, and Australia, along with international organizations such as the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF).
News Article | December 22, 2016
CHAIRMAN'S STATEMENT *Total return of 8.0% for the year *Total return on original 80p investment now at 148.25p *Total dividends of 7.0p for the year I am pleased to present the Annual Report for Chrysalis VCT plc for the year ended 31 October 2016. The year has been an eventful one with significant changes to the VCT regulations starting to take effect. The Company has, however, continued to perform well and maintained its dividends at a high level, with a total of 7p per share being paid during the year. Portfolio At the year end, the Company held a portfolio of 29 venture capital investments, valued at £17.8 million. During the year, two new companies joined the portfolio and two follow-on investments were also completed at a total of cost of £0.8 million. There were a number of loan stock redemptions, which generated proceeds of £1.3 million, as well as the more deferred consideration from WASP, from which we exited in 2014, which added a further £440,000 to the total proceeds. As usual, the Board has reviewed the investment valuations at the year end and made a number of adjustments. 11 investments increased in value, seven investments fell in value and 11 were unchanged. The largest movers have been MyTime Media Holdings Limited, the publisher of niche hobby magazines, Internet Fusion Limited, the online retailer, Precision Dental Laboratories Group Limited, the dental laboratory group, and Driver Require Group Limited, the driver recruitment agency, which have increased by £599,000, £484,000, £440,000 and £429,000 respectively. On the negative side, we have had to make a full provision of £1 million against Electrobase RP (Holdings) Limited, a precision engineering business, which has failed to recover after a number of changes at management level. Total unrealised movements for the year on the venture capital portfolio resulted in a net gain of £1.5 million, equivalent to approximately 5.0p per share. The Investment Management Report gives a detailed overview of the portfolio activity during the year and of the main valuation movements. Cash and fixed income securities The Company held £6.3 million in cash and fixed income securities at the year-end; split between cash of £4.2 million and fixed income securities of £2.1 million. Net asset value, results and dividends The Company's NAV fell by a small margin from 81.3p to 80.8p over the year as dividends slightly exceeded net earnings for the period. After adding back the dividends of 7.0p paid, the total return for the year was equivalent to 8.0% based on the opening NAV. The return on activities after taxation for the year was £1.9 million (2014: £2.0 million), comprising a revenue return of £154,000 and a capital return of £1.8 million. The Company paid a final 2015 dividend of 3.25p per share on 26 February 2016. An interim 2015 dividend of 1.75p per share was combined with a special dividend of 2.00p per share making a total of 3.75p per share paid on 29 July 2016. Subject to Shareholder approval at the forthcoming AGM, your Board is proposing to pay a final 2016 dividend of 3.25p per share on 28 February 2017 to Shareholders on the register at 3 February 2017. Share buybacks The Board regularly reviews the Company's share buyback policy to ensure that it remains appropriate and, in the opinion of the Directors, in the best interests of Shareholders as a whole. In the Directors' opinion, the Company's liquid resources are generally best utilised in paying tax free dividends to all Shareholders and therefore the Company does not have a fixed policy to buy in its own shares, but may do so, on an ad hoc basis, from time to time, and a resolution will be proposed accordingly. There were no share buybacks undertaken during the year. We recommend that any Shareholders wishing to either acquire more shares, or to sell existing holdings, contact the Company's broker, Nplus1 Singer Capital Markets, who are often aware of other parties looking to buy or sell. Management and Board The Board believes that the untypical management structure of the Company as a self-managed VCT continues to serve Shareholders well. Chris Kay heads a team at the wholly-owned management subsidiary, Chrysalis Management VCT Limited, who continue to do a good job in what is, on occasion, a challenging environment. Chris and his team have adapted well to the new conditions and I thank them on your behalf for their continued contribution in managing the Company's portfolio and believe that this structure will continue to serve Shareholders well in the future. Chrysalis VCT plc has for some years had a stable Board comprising just three non-executives; Julie Baddeley, Martin Knight and myself. We remain satisfied that this format works well for your company has continued to operate efficiently and, I believe, once again, has added value for Shareholders. I would like thank both Julie and Martin for another year of support and the significant part they have played in the ongoing success of Chrysalis VCT. Annual General Meeting The forthcoming AGM will be held at Ergon House, Horseferry Road, London SW1P 2AL at 2:30pm on 23 February 2017. Outlook The challenges presented by the new VCT regulations are expected to be an ongoing theme over the next year as both the VCT industry and HMRC develop a clearer understanding of their implications and how VCTs can operate in this new era. Perhaps it is a vain hope, but as Britain will inevitably begin to take more control of its economic and Governmental affairs than was possible before the Brexit vote, it would seem to me that a further review of the VCT system would be a worthwhile project. There is indisputable evidence that the VCT movement has been a positive influence within "UK plc" providing capital to sectors which were previously all but ignored by banks and large private equity players. The current regulations represent, in my personal view, a retrograde step and they have certainly impacted on Chrysalis to the extent that we have had to decline opportunities which we would otherwise have been keen to support. Of course, Chrysalis VCT is already heavily invested and we are therefore under little pressure to make new investments. Any negative impact on the portfolio is therefore expected to be relatively limited. Generally existing portfolio companies are continuing to perform well and we believe the portfolio contains several candidates that may be able to deliver profitable exits in due course. As always I look forward to meeting some Shareholders at the AGM on 23 February 2017 and providing an update on developments in my statement with the Half Yearly Report to 30 April 2017 which is expected to be published in July. INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT REPORT This has been a relatively quiet year for Chrysalis VCT plc, although with one exception, the portfolio has continued to make good progress and produced another profitable year for Shareholders. A total return of over £1.9 million for the year takes total profits in the last 12 and a half years, since the Company was reorganised and merged, to over £25.9 million. After a number of sizeable exits in 2014, it is no surprise that there have been very few exits recently, especially as a lot of decisions appear to have been put on hold following the Brexit vote on 23 June 2016. However, with the portfolio becoming more mature, it is likely that there will be some realisations in the next few years. Even though no investments have been sold, Chrysalis VCT plc has benefited from an inflow of cash as investee companies redeem loan stock. This year £1.3 million has been repaid with a couple of the portfolio companies, MyTime Media Holdings Limited and Precision Dental Laboratories Group Limited, now becoming completely debt free. In addition, we again received nearly £600,000 in deferred payments from previous sales, principally another £440,000 from the sale of Wessex Advanced Switching Productions Limited ("WASP"). We are hopeful that the payment condition will continue to be met and that we will receive the final payment of a further £440,000 in the next year. This cash inflow helped fund the £2.1 million paid out to Shareholders in dividends during the year. The one major disappointment of the year was the collapse of Electrobase RP (Holdings) Limited necessitating a full provision against our £1 million investment. The major factor that caused the extremely poor outcome was too much managerial change. For various reasons the company went through a whole series of changes at the top, none of which arrested its decline. Whereas large companies have their own momentum and are more equipped to survive management changes, the smaller companies that VCTs invest in are typically highly dependent on the people at their head and too much change can often, as has happened in this case, prove disastrous. We are pleased to report, however, that the overwhelming majority of the portfolio has continued to trade well and generate cash (hence the loan stock redemptions). Therefore, there have been a number of upward valuation movements. In particular, our investment in Driver Require Group Limited has seen its valuation nearly double to £949,000. This was an MBO we backed in January 2015 and it appears that the buy-out price was a pretty favourable one. Unfortunately, under the new VCT rules this is not a type of investment that we can make in the future. Probably the most significant economic event of the year was the vote to leave the EU but so far the most tangible actual of "Brexit" has been the devaluation of the pound. This has, however, mainly had a positive impact on our portfolio. For instance, a good proportion of Coolabi Group Limited's revenue is priced in dollars and euros but virtually all its costs are priced in pounds. So, our largest investment has seen a boost in its margins. Equally our second largest investment, Locale Enterprises Limited, has benefitted from the increased number of tourists using its restaurants who now regard the offering as extremely good value. The portfolio has also enjoyed some non-trading achievements. Coolabi Group Limited was nominated for two more BAFTA's for its Clangers production and K10 (London) Limited won an award for "The world's most innovative small restaurant chain" from an American organisation. Eagle-eyed shareholders may also have noticed the latest Vodafone post, internet and newspaper advert campaign which features "Nick & Dave" the co-founders of Life's Kitchen Limited. As mentioned last year, new draconian rules regarding what investments a VCT can make have now come into force and, to make matters worse, there is some confusion as to the interpretation of those rules. Since breaking a rule can lead to the removal of VCT status, the whole industry has been proceeding with extreme caution and the total volume of investments is significantly down on previous years. Chrysalis VCT plc is no exception and we have only made one small investment since the new rules came into force in April 2016. That was a £150,000 investment into an early-stage software company, Inaspect Technology Limited, whose product is specifically aimed at the Care Home industry. Prior to the rule change we did make further investments in Coolabi Group Limited (£500,000) and Cambridge Mechatronics Limited (£30,000) and one other new investment, £75,000 into Fusion Catering Solutions Limited. Although currently small, this dessert manufacturer does have an impressive list of clients including Wembley Stadium and The British Open. As well as making new investments more difficult, the new rules have dramatically reduced the pool of potential investee companies, however, there remains substantial cash in VCTs looking for a home. Consequently, competition for deals is fiercer and investment terms are inevitably less attractive. Although the new rules emulated from Brussels, it is unlikely that they will be substantially changed in the medium term despite Brexit. Chrysalis VCT plc remains fortunate that we are fairly fully invested and is therefore not under pressure to make new investments. We do, of course, continue to look for new opportunities and to work with the portfolio in order to finance their growth where it is allowed. At the time of writing, the majority of the portfolio continues to trade well and we are hopeful of another profitable year for Chrysalis VCT plc with maybe a couple of realisations. Portfolio of investments The following investments, all of which are incorporated in England and Wales, were held at 31 October 2016: All investments are unquoted unless otherwise stated. *Quoted on AIM Directors' responsibilities statement The Directors are responsible for preparing the Report of the Directors, the Strategic Report and the Directors' Remuneration Report and the financial statements in accordance with applicable law and regulations. They are also responsible for ensuring that the Annual Report includes information required by the Listing Rules of the Financial Conduct Authority. Company law requires the Directors to prepare financial statements for each financial year. Under that law, the Directors have elected to prepare the financial statements in accordance with United Kingdom Generally Accepted Accounting Practice (United Kingdom Accounting Standards and applicable law). Under company law the Directors must not approve the financial statements unless they are satisfied that they give a true and fair view of the state of affairs of the Company and of the profit or loss of the Company for that period. In preparing these financial statements, the Directors are required to: *select suitable accounting policies and then apply them consistently; *make judgments and accounting estimates that are reasonable and prudent; *state whether applicable UK Accounting Standards have been followed, subject to any material departures disclosed and explained in the financial statements; and *prepare the financial statements on the going concern basis unless it is inappropriate to presume that the Company will continue in business. The Directors are responsible for keeping adequate accounting records that are sufficient to show and explain the Company's transactions, to disclose with reasonable accuracy at any time the financial position of the Company and to enable them to ensure that the financial statements comply with the Companies Act 2006. They are also responsible for safeguarding the assets of the Company and hence for taking reasonable steps for the prevention and detection of fraud and other irregularities. In addition, each of the Directors considers that the Annual Report, taken as a whole, is fair, balanced and understandable and provides the information necessary for Shareholders to assess the Company's position, performance, business model and strategy. The Directors are responsible for the maintenance and integrity of the corporate and financial information included on the Company's website. Legislation in the United Kingdom governing the preparation and dissemination of the financial statements and other information included in annual reports may differ from legislation in other jurisdictions. By order of the Board All Revenue and Capital items in the above statement derive from continuing operations. No operations were acquired or discontinued during the year. The total column within the Income Statement represents the Statement of Total Comprehensive Income of the Company prepared in accordance with Financial Reporting Standards ("FRS102"). There are no other items of comprehensive income. The supplementary revenue and capital return columns are prepared in accordance with the Statement of Recommended Practice issued in November 2014 by the Association of Investment Companies ("AIC SORP"). Other than revaluation movements arising on investments held at fair value through the profit or loss account, there were no differences between the return as stated above and historical cost. NOTES TO THE ACCOUNTS for the year ended 31 October 2016 Basis of accounting The Company has prepared its financial statements in accordance with the Companies Act 2006, Financial Reporting Standard 102 ("FRS102") and in accordance with the Statement of Recommended Practice "Financial Statements of Investment Trust Companies" revised November 2014 ("SORP"). This is the first period in which the financial statements have been prepared under FRS102, however, it has not been necessary to restate comparatives as the treatment previously applied is consistent with the requirements of FRS102. As a result, there are no reconciling differences between the previous financial reporting framework and the current financial reporting framework and the comparative figures represent the position under both current and previous financial reporting frameworks. The Company implements new Financial Reporting Standards issued by the Accounting Standards Board when required. Presentation of Income Statement In order to better reflect the activities of a Venture Capital Trust and in accordance with the SORP, supplementary information which analyses the Income Statement between items of a revenue and capital nature has been presented alongside the Income Statement. Net revenue is the measure the Directors believe appropriate in assessing the Company's compliance with certain requirements set out in Part 6 of the Income Tax Act 2007. Fixed asset investments Investments are designated as "fair value through profit or loss" assets, upon acquisition, due to investments being managed and performance evaluated on a fair value basis. A financial asset is designated within this category if it is both acquired and managed, with a view to selling after a period of time, in accordance with the Company's documented investment policy. Judgements in applying accounting policies and key sources of estimation uncertainty Of the Company's assets measured at fair value, it is possible to determine their fair value within a reasonable range of estimates. The fair value of an investment upon acquisition is deemed to be cost. Thereafter, investments are measured at fair value in accordance with FRS 102 sections 11 and 12 together with the International Private Equity and Venture Capital Valuation Guidelines ("IPEV"). Fixed income investments and investments quoted on AIM are measured using bid prices in accordance with the IPEV. For unquoted investments, fair value is established using the IPEV. The valuation methodologies for unquoted entities used by the IPEV to ascertain the fair value of an investment are as follows: *Price of recent investment; *Multiples; *Net assets; *Discounted cash flows or earnings (of underlying business); *Discounted cash flows (from the investment); and *Industry valuation benchmarks. The methodology applied takes account of the nature, facts and circumstances of the individual investment and uses reasonable data, market inputs, assumptions and estimates in order to ascertain fair value. Where an investee company has gone into receivership, liquidation, or administration (where there is little likelihood of recovery), the loss on the investment, although not physically disposed of, is treated as being realised. Permanent impairments in the value of investments are deemed to be realised losses and held within the Capital Reserve - Realised. Gains and losses arising from changes in fair value are included in the Income Statement for the year as a capital item and transaction costs on acquisition or disposal of the investment expensed. Judgements in applying accounting policies and key sources of estimation uncertainty (continued) It is not the Company's policy to exercise controlling influence over investee companies. Therefore, the results of these companies are not incorporated into the Income Statement except to the extent of any income accrued. This is in accordance with the SORP and FRS102 sections 14 and 15 that do not require portfolio investments to be accounted for using the equity method of accounting. Income Dividend income from investments is recognised when the Shareholders' rights to receive payment have been established, normally the ex-dividend date. Interest income is accrued on a timely basis, by reference to the principal outstanding and at the effective interest rate applicable and only where there is reasonable certainty of collection. Expenses All expenses are accounted for on an accruals basis. In respect of the analysis between revenue and capital items presented within the Income Statement, all expenses have been presented as revenue items except as follows: *Expenses which are incidental to the acquisition of an investment are deducted as a capital item. *Expenses which are incidental to the disposal of an investment are deducted from the disposal proceeds of the investment. *Expenses are split and presented partly as capital items where a connection with the maintenance or enhancement of the value of the investments held can be demonstrated. The Company has adopted the policy of allocating investment management fees, 75% to capital and 25% to revenue as permitted by the SORP. The allocation is in line with the Board's expectation of long term returns from the Company's investments in the form of capital gains and income respectively. *Performance incentive fees arising from the disposal of investments are deducted as a capital item. Taxation The tax effects on different items in the Income Statement are allocated between capital and revenue on the same basis as the particular item to which they relate using the Company's effective rate of tax for the accounting period. Due to the Company's status as a Venture Capital Trust and the continued intention to meet the conditions required to comply with Part 6 of the Income Tax Act 2007, no provision for taxation is required in respect of any realised or unrealised appreciation of the Company's investments which arises. Deferred taxation is not discounted and is provided in full on timing differences that result in an obligation at the balance sheet date to pay more tax, or a right to pay less tax, at a future date, at rates expected to apply when they crystallise based on current tax rates and law. Timing differences arise from the inclusion of items of income and expenditure in taxation computations in periods different from those in which they are included in the accounts. Other debtors and other creditors Other debtors (including accrued income) and other creditors are included within the accounts at amortised cost. As the Company has not issued any convertible securities or share options, there is no dilutive effect on return per share. The return per share disclosed therefore represents both basic and diluted return per share. 3. Basic and diluted net asset value per Ordinary Share As the Company has not issued any convertible securities or share options, there is no dilutive effect on net asset value per share. The net asset value per share disclosed therefore represents both basic and diluted return per share. Principal risks The Company's investment activities expose the Company to a number of risks associated with financial instruments and the sectors in which the Company invests. The principal financial risks arising from the Company's operations are: The Board regularly reviews these risks and the policies in place for managing them. There have been no significant changes to the nature of the risks that the Company is exposed to over the year and there have also been no significant changes to the policies for managing those risks during the year. The risk management policies used by the Company in respect of the principal financial risks and a review of the financial instruments held at the year-end are provided below. Markets risks As a VCT, the Company is exposed to investment risks in the form of potential losses and gains that may arise on the investments it holds in accordance with its investment policy. The management of these investment risks is a fundamental part of investment activities undertaken by Chrysalis VCT Management Limited and overseen by the Board. The Investment Manager monitors investments through regular contact with management of investee companies, regular review of management accounts and other financial information and attendance at investee company board meetings. This enables the Investment Manager to manage the investment risk in respect of individual investments. Investment risk is also mitigated by holding a diversified portfolio spread across various business sectors and asset classes. The key investment risks to which the Company is exposed are: The Company has undertaken sensitivity analysis on its financial instruments, split into the relevant component parts, taking into consideration the economic climate at the time of review in order to ascertain the appropriate risk allocation. Investment price risk Market price risk arises from uncertainty about the future prices and valuations of financial instruments held in accordance with the Company's investment objectives. It represents the potential loss that the Company might suffer through market price movements in respect of quoted investments and also changes in the fair value of unquoted investments that it holds. Interest rate risk The Company accepts exposure to interest rate risk on floating-rate financial assets through the effect of changes in prevailing interest rates. The Company receives interest on its cash deposits at a rate agreed with its bankers and on liquidity funds at rates based on the underlying investments. Investments in loan stock and fixed interest investments attract interest predominantly at fixed rates. A summary of the interest rate profile of the Company's investments is shown below. Interest rate risk profile of financial assets and financial liabilities There are three levels of interest which are attributable to the financial instruments as follows: *"Fixed rate" assets represent investments with predetermined yield targets and comprise fixed interest and loan note investments. *"Floating rate" assets predominantly bear interest at rates linked to Bank of England base rate and comprise cash at bank. *"No interest rate" assets do not attract interest and comprise equity investments, loans and receivables (excluding cash at bank) and other financial liabilities. Credit risk Credit risk is the risk that a counterparty to a financial instrument is unable to discharge a commitment to the Company made under that instrument. The Company is exposed to credit risk through its holdings of loan stock in investee companies, investments in liquidity funds, cash deposits and debtors. The Company's financial assets that are exposed to credit risk are summarised as follows: The Manager manages credit risk in respect of loan stock with a similar approach as described under Investment risks above. In addition the credit risk is partially mitigated by registering floating charges over the assets of certain investee companies. The strength of this security in each case is dependent on the nature of the investee company's business and its identifiable assets. The level of security is a key means of managing credit risk. Similarly, the management of credit risk associated with interest, dividends and other receivables is covered within the investment management procedures. Cash is mainly held at Royal Bank of Scotland plc with a balance also maintained at Bank of Scotland plc, both of which are A minus rated financial institutions and ultimately part-owned by the UK Government. Consequently, the Directors consider that the risk profile associated with cash deposits is low. There have been no changes in fair value during the year that can be directly attributable to changes in credit risk. Liquidity risk Liquidity risk is the risk that the Company encounters difficulties in meeting obligations associated with its financial liabilities. Liquidity risk may also arise from either the inability to sell financial instruments when required at their fair values or from the inability to generate cash inflows as required. The Company usually has a relatively low level of creditors (2016: £54,000, 2015: £67,000) and has no borrowings. The Company always holds sufficient levels of funds as cash and readily realisable investments in order to meet expenses and other cash outflows as they arise. For these reasons, the Board believes that the Company's exposure to liquidity risk is minimal. The Company's liquidity risk is managed by Chrysalis VCT Management Limited in line with guidance agreed with the Board and is reviewed by the Board at regular intervals. Related party transactions Chrysalis VCT Management Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary, provides investment management services to the Company for a fee of 1.65% of net assets per annum. During the year, £407,000 (2015: £412,000) was paid to Chrysalis VCT Management Limited in respect of these fees. No amounts were outstanding at the year-end (2015: none). A performance incentive fee is payable to Chrysalis VCT Management Limited based on realisations from all investments excluding quoted loan notes, redemptions of loan notes in the normal course of business and other treasury functions. The performance incentive fee is the greater of 1% of the cash proceeds of any exit or 5% of the gain to the Company after all exit costs for investments made after 30 April 2004 reduced to 2.5% of investments made prior to 30 April 2004. During the year performance incentive fees of £41,000 (2015: £35,000) were due to Chrysalis VCT Management Limited. At the year-end, £1,000 was outstanding and payable (2015: £9,000). Peter Harkness holds positions of significant influence in MyTime Media Holdings Limited and Hoop Holdings Limited, both investments held by the Company, and therefore abstains from discussions surrounding the valuation or investment decisions regarding the investments. Details of the investments, including cost and valuation are shown within the Aannual Report Martin Knight holds a position of significant influence within Cambridge Mechatronics Limited, an investment held by the Company, and therefore abstains from discussions surrounding the valuation or investment decisions regarding the company. Details of the investment, including cost and valuation are shown within the Annual Report. ANNOUNCEMENT BASED ON AUDITED ACCOUNTS The financial information set out in this announcement does not constitute the Company's statutory financial statements in accordance with section 434 Companies Act 2006 for the year ended 31 October 2016, but has been extracted from the statutory financial statements for the year ended 31 October 2016, which were approved by the Board of Directors on 22 December 2016 and will be delivered to the Registrar of Companies following the Company's Annual General Meeting. The Independent Auditor's Report on those financial statements was unqualified and did not contain any emphasis of matter nor statements under s498(2) and (3) of the Companies Act 2006. The statutory accounts for the year ended 31 October 2015 have been delivered to the Registrar of Companies and received an Independent Auditors report which was unqualified and did not contain any emphasis of matter nor statements under s498(2) and (3) of the Companies Act 2006. A copy of the full annual report and financial statements for the year ended 31 October 2016 will be printed and posted to shareholders shortly. Copies will also be available to the public at the registered office of the Company at Ergon House, Horseferry Road, London, SW1P 2AL and will be available for download from www.downing.co.uk/cys and www.chrysalisvct.co.uk.
News Article | December 7, 2016
NORVESTIA’S NET ASSET VALUE INCREASED BY 2.6% IN OCTOBER-NOVEMBER Norvestia regularly publishes its Net Asset Value in interim reports. Taking into account the ongoing voluntary exchange offer for all Norvestia’s shares and securities made by CapMan Plc, Norvestia has decided to exceptionally release its Net Asset Value per 30 November 2016 due to changes in value of Growth Equity investments. The Board of Directors of Norvestia has considered the release of the updated Net Asset Value necessary in order for all Norvestia’s shareholders to have as accurate information as possible when assessing the exchange offer. All investments of the Group are classified as financial assets at fair value through profit or loss. Listed shares and derivative contracts are measured at fair value by the last trade price on active markets on the balance sheet date. The fair value of investments in funds is determined as the funds’ net asset value at the balance sheet date. The fair value of investments in interest-bearing securities is based on the last trade price on the balance sheet date or, in an illiquid market, on values determined by the counterparty. Growth Equity investments, private equity fund investments and loan receivables from Growth Equity investments are measured at fair value. If the investments have no active market then the fair value is determined quarterly by using valuation methods according to the International Private Equity and Venture Capital Guidelines (IPEV). The valuations are based on forecasted cash flows or peer group multiples. In estimating fair value of an investment, a method that is the most appropriate in light of the facts, nature and circumstances of the investment is applied. External valuations are made at least once a year to verify the fair values of Growth Equity investments. Norvestia’s audit committee approves the valuations quarterly. Private equity fund investments are valued according to the practice generally used in the sector, i.e. the fair value of the private equity fund investment is the latest fund value announced by the private equity fund management company. The value is calculated according to the IPEV Valuation Guidelines. Loan receivables from Growth Equity investments are valued at fair value based on acquisition price. Norvestia has published stock exchange releases related to the voluntary exchange offer made by CapMan Plc 3 November 2016 and 18 November 2016.
News Article | March 21, 2016
One thousand kilometres from the Antarctic coast, a 12-strong crew is overwintering at one of the most remote places on Earth. The Concordia Station, a French-Italian research base on the Antarctic Ice Sheet, is truly in the middle of nowhere; the next nearest station is 560km away, and all the crew can see if they look around is flat whiteness. The last plane left for the winter in February, leaving the base completely isolated. It won’t see the Sun for four months and temperatures will drop to below -60 Celsius. Oh, and because it’s 3,200 metres above sea level, inhabitants have to make do with about a third less oxygen than at sea level. It’s not a normal environment for humans, which is exactly why Floris van den Berg is there. A medical doctor sponsored by the European Space Agency, Van den Berg is running a series of research projects at Concordia to explore the physical and psychological effects of living in such surroundings—and the results could give an insight into how we’ll cope with long-distance space travel. “ESA is interested in this place because it’s one of the only places that you have, like, true isolation,” Van den Berg said in an interview over Skype. We spoke after his colleagues were asleep, as he conceded that the 512kbps satellite connection at the base was “quite shitty” if multiple people tried to Skype at the same time. A family doctor from the Netherlands, Van den Berg said it was the remote location that attracted him to the unusual job posting in the first place. Having served as a doctor on expeditions around the world, deepest Antarctica seemed like an impressive location to add to the list. “Working for the European Space Agency is also quite cool in my opinion,” he added. Concordia has several rather unique parallels with space, which makes it ideal for ESA’s research. As we venture further afield—to Mars, for example—astronauts will be spending more time in close quarters and completely isolated from the rest of the world. With current technology, it takes around eight months to send a robotic mission to the Red Planet. Given its total isolation for months at a time, Concordia is sometimes nicknamed “White Mars.” Van den Berg is responsible for collecting a varied slate of samples and data to help give insight into how this environment could affect humans’ physical and psychological wellbeing. One particularly interesting study involves teaching his crewmates to drive a flight simulator of the Soyuz spacecraft, which is currently used to transport astronauts to the International Space Station. It’s a stripped-down simulator with one seat and two joysticks, which users can practice piloting and docking. Van den Berg explained that it’s installed in the Concordia laundry room because it wouldn’t fit in his lab. After initial instruction, he will split his team into two groups; one will receive training on the simulator every month and the other every three months, and he’ll monitor their performance to see how quickly their abilities fade in the environment. “The idea is, if you send people to Mars and they’re going to be in a spaceship for six to nine months they’ll probably get a bit bored, but when they arrive at Mars they have to be quite focused on how to land the Mars lander,” he explained. The 'Simskill' Soyuz simulator. Image: Institute of Space Systems, University of Stuttgart–Andreas Fink Another Antarctic base, British Halley VI, is also conducting the simulator training. As Halley is at a lower altitude, this should help distinguish the impact of the isolation factor from that of the hypoxic conditions. A control is also being run in Stuttgart, Germany. Unsurprisingly, the flight simulator is the most popular of Van den Berg’s experiments, and he admitted he sometimes does it in his free time too. Aside from the simulator, Van den Berg runs regular tests on himself and the rest of the team, which consists of technical staff and researchers working in fields such as climate and astronomy. Using a CT scanner (the first one in Antarctica, installed in the video room) he looks at people’s bone density, which is a major health issue in space travel. He also takes blood samples and analyses them using flow cytometry—which sorts the different cells in the sample—to see how the conditions affect the immune system; NASA astronauts on the ISS are also doing this, which will offer an interesting comparison. “You see a lot of changes, especially in the beginning when people arrive,” Van den Berg said. “Because of the lack of oxygen, you see stress hormones go up quite a bit, which sort of suppresses the immunological response.” Psychological factors are naturally as pressing as physiological ones when it comes to being cooped up for so long, and Van den Berg regularly asks people to fill in questionnaires about their mood and sleep habits. Participants also wear watches that track their activity (especially useful for tracking sleep, which people are often bad at accurately reporting) and interact with beacons on the base to record their movements. “I was quite surprised that everyone was OK with participating with this study, because it’s really like ‘Big Brother is watching,’” said Van den Berg. Participation in all of the research is voluntary. The current Concordia crew on their arrival. Image: ESA/IPEV/PNRA-B. Healey “What’s known from previous years is that in the winter everyone gets a little bit down, so people isolate themselves a bit more [and] spend more time in their bedroom and less in the living room,” he added. “This is something you can measure in detail, to see what the group dynamics are, who is visiting which areas, and how much time people spend alone or with each other.” This is all correlated with people’s questionnaire responses. Of course, Van den Berg is not immune to the psychological effects that he’s collecting data on, and he said that part of his attraction to the job was the “personal experiment” of living at the base. He said the biggest challenges, after adapting to the low oxygen, were coping with the isolation and also having to constantly bug his cohabitants to take part in his studies on top of their own work. There is another doctor at the research base to act as a clinician if people get sick or injured (the base is equipped for surgery as it’s impossible to get people to a hospital for a large chunk of the year, though the team is naturally as careful as possible not to need it). Van den Berg heads up the rescue team if there’s an incident outside the base—“with the cold here it’s really just what we call ‘scoop and run’: get them on a plank and get them inside,” he said. There is the occasional unexpected setback. When his CT machine arrived at the base in a shipping box, it had a hole in the side that looked suspiciously like a forklift had run into it. Without a repair service for thousands of kilometres, Van den Berg had to figure out how to fix it himself, with help over email and Skype. “Luckily there wasn’t too much structural damage and with tape and common sense I could fix it,” he said. With most of a year left to go, Van den Berg sounded enthusiastic about his mission but a little apprehensive. “I’m always ending up with these things where you think, ‘Oh it’s really nice!’ and then you end up in the middle of nowhere and you think, ‘Why did I do this?’ This is, I think, the story of my life,” he said. “But I’m happy because it’s a really interesting place to be.” So far, he hasn’t lost his travel bug, and working for ESA has given him a taste for venturing even further afield. Now 32, he said that if ESA were to put out a call for astronauts soon, he’d apply. With the White Mars experience under his belt, he has more of an idea than most about what he’d be letting himself in for. Correction: This story originally put the base's altitude at 2,300 m above sea level; it's actually 3,200 m. We've corrected the typo.
D'Ortenzio F.,CNRS Oceanography Laboratory of Villefranche |
Lavigne H.,CNRS Oceanography Laboratory of Villefranche |
Besson F.,CNRS Oceanography Laboratory of Villefranche |
Claustre H.,CNRS Oceanography Laboratory of Villefranche |
And 14 more authors.
Geophysical Research Letters | Year: 2014
Two profiling floats, equipped with nitrate concentration sensors were deployed in the northwestern Mediterranean from summer 2012 to summer 2013. Satellite ocean color data were extracted to evaluate surface chlorophyll concentration at float locations. Time series of mixed layer depths and nitrate and chlorophyll concentrations were analyzed to characterize the interplay between the physical-chemical and biological dynamics in the area. Deep convection (mixed layer depth > 1000 m) was observed in January-February, although high-nitrate surface concentrations could be already observed in December. Chlorophyll increase is observed since December, although high values were observed only in March. The early nitrate availability in subsurface layers, which is likely due to the permanent cyclonic circulation of the area, appears to drive the bloom onset. The additional nitrate supply associated to the deep convection events, although strengthening the overall nitrate uptake, seems decoupled of the December increase of chlorophyll. Key Points Nitrate profiling floats observed deep convection and bloom in the MediterraneanCyclonic basin circulation appears critical for bloom onset ©2014. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.