Wednesday, July 30, 2008

An Extended GRIP

On arriving back at camp, I confered with Kathy, the camp manager, and we decided it was a good day, weatherwise, to make the trip to GRIP, which I needed to do in order to extend the casing of the borehole there.

It was a great day, and in spite of the flat light, we made excellent time on the trip over. The new casing extension was quick and easy to add, so we were quickly on our way again.

The GRIP borehole, over 3000 meters down to bedrock. The blue section is our extension.

On the way back, the light became quite beautiful, and the ride back was very nice. There's something about the flat white, simultaneously featureless and full of the fine detail of sastrugi, that's hard to describe but wonderful. Even harder to capture in a picture, which is why you won't see one attempted here!

Next task is cargo management, and then 2 flights home tomorrow and the next day!

Back from a "road trip"...

You may have noticed that I haven't posted for a couple of days; this is because I was out at a "remote" (about 7 km) site known as Sandy Site, Zoe Site, or the Johnnyport site.

While there, I was making density measurements in a borehole using a Neutron Probe system. I brought along the PolyPod, which last year we set up for use during gps surveying.

The PolyPod with the logging gear set up next to it. The electronics and laptop for control are inside the PolyPod:

Inside the PolyPod with the logger set up and recording data.

On the evening of the second day I'd finished the logging I could do at the site, so it was time to go home. But then I noticed that the wind was blowing straight from my location towards the Clean Air sector, in which high-sensitivity atmospheric chemistry experiments take place. So after checking in with the main camp and getting a weather forecast, rather than start up my dirty 2-stroke snowmobile and smog the clean air sector, I decided to sit tight for another night and hope the winds changed. They did, and in the morning I headed home with favorable winds.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Weather station excavation

Today's task was to excavate the weather station that has provided firn temperature profiles throughout the project. The last time I dug it out was in 2006, so we estimated it to be about 2 meters below the surface.

I was very lucky to have the able assistance of Chris, the camp medic, who was willing and even keen to dig for the weather station. I won't mince words- Chris dug the whole thing out! I spent most ot the time disassembling the weather station instruments, and we were even able to excavate the thermistor string which had been lowered 10 meters into a borehole made in the 2004 summer surface. Quite a lot of digging!

Chris at the bottom of the hole. He's moved about 900 kilograms of snow to get there!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

boomeranged again, but now arrived!

Just got to Summit; this morning we got on the plane, took off, flew for 10 minutes before having another mechanical problem; turned around and went back to Kangerlussuaq.

After about an hour of repair and testing, we loaded up again and this time the weather held, the plane stayed together, and we are now at Summit. Now it's getting on with the business of science! Today's tasks are mainly to organize my gear, find my cargo, and get used to the altitude.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


In this line of work, that's the term for the kind of flight we had today.

up at 04:15 we got our gear on and ready to go; after about an hour of waiting we filed onto the bus to take us to the waiting aircraft. The 2 1/2 hour flight to Summit was uneventful, as we like it to be; but when we got to Summit the wind was too strong and blowing across the skiway. In a crosswind like that landing becomes more dangerous, so we went into a holding pattern to see if the winds would abate or change to a more favorable direction.

After a bout 45 minutes of flying in circles above Summit, our fuel had reached the point that we needed to decide to land or head back. The winds continued unabated, so we had to fly back. All in all about 6 hours of flying, to land back right where we started. Now that's a Boomerang!

We'll try again tomorrow, and hopefully the third time's the charm!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Back for another season!

I'm back in Greenland for another season- the last for this project. This year the main project objective is to pull out our equipment and pack it for return to the US. Of course there are, as usual, some add-on experiments to do, and so I'll spend some time doing those as well.

For now, we're on weather hold; we flew from New York to Kangerlussuaq yesterday, and were scheduled for a flight to Summit this morning, but after we'd loaded on the plane, the crew were going through the pre-flight checklists and found a problem in one of the engines, so they shut down and we all climbed off and waited on the tarmac while they worked on repairing the engine.

20 minutes later, we'd boarded and were going through the preflight checks again when the weather came in up at Summit; winds of 30 knots, blowing snow, and visibility down to 200 meters.

A plot of wind speed at Summit today; guess when we were on the ground fixing the plane!

So we were cancelled for the day, which allowed me to do some testing of equipment that I've borrowed for one of the add-on experiments. This was successful, so everything's now re-packed and ready to go on the plane. We're scheduled to fly tomorrow morning _very_ early; our bags need to be ready to go by 4 am. It'll be an early night tonight, and hopefully I'll post tomorrow from Summit!