Friday, May 6, 2016

Update from the field team with Pics!

Bob here, posting text and photos from Gabe via iridium:

Greetings from the Greenland Ice Sheet! I'm writing this from inside an Arctic Oven tent on an internet connection that has about the same speed as a circa 1985 Macintosh computer - aka not very fast. We can only upload incredibly small image file sizes so sorry about the quality, but it's working!

Everything is going well up on the ice sheet. We spent three nights at Raven/Dye 2 where we were dropped off by a large plane with all our equipment. We had several rounds of testing equipment and trying to optimize data collection while we could still have equipment flown in on the Air National Guard training flights. We ended up spending lots of time setting up the different radar systems and testing them on the ice (which was very different than testing everything out in Idaho).

On the third day, Erich, Forrest, and Gabe drove four 55-gallon drums of fuel and all the ice core equipment to the location of the first core (about 30 km north of Raven/Dye 2). Although we were driving slower than your grandmother, all the wind blown bumps of snow on the surface (called Sastrugi) bounced the sleds around so much that we punctured small holes in 3 of the 4 fuel barrels, nothing a little bubble gum and precarious perching of the barrels at camp couldn't fix. These same Sastrugi were responsible for the death of the downward looking laser system (sorry Bob!) and we accidentally plugged the first FMCW (frequency modulated continuous wave) radar into the battery the wrong way - oops.

We finally drove everything to the first core site (at a whopping 5 mph so that the radar can collect quality data) over two days while Erich and Gabe set up the kitchen and science Arctic Oven tents, the personal sleep tents, and started digging a 4 ft snow pit to do some science. Gabe collected albedo (how bright/shiny the snow is) measurements, Tate has mastered the 500 MHz multi-offset radar system and Frequency Modulated Continuous Waveform (big scary science words!), Thomas is back in Greenland for another round with the GSSI radar, Erich has happily collected the first 20 m of his ice core here at Core 1, and Forrest is happy to listen to the British Brodcasting New Zealand on his High Frequency radio while he's falling to sleep.

Temperatures have been fluctuating between -30 and -15 C (which is pretty darn cold when you're sleeping in a tent) so everything is pretty slow going with multiple layers of gloves, jackets, Carhartt pants and our endless supply of toe warmers.

That's all for now! Hoping to check back in this weekend while we're all sitting inside the tents as a big storm blows through.

- The GreenTrACS Team

Forrest setting up a radar system in front of the personal tents

Thomas staring off into the sunset at 11 pm after a long day of radar

Forrest practicing his refueling skills while Erich dances to some music

The C-130 plane after dropping us off at Raven/Dye 2 (an old missle tracking system to stop the Russians from bombing us) in the background


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