Saturday, June 03, 2006

Friday, 2. June. A beautiful and productive day.

It has been a lovely day with a lot of activity in camp. Four men are working continuously in the drill tent. Two are drilling and two are working with the ice core. The two Kansas people has now mounted a new type of radar. This radar does not see the bottom, but focuses on layer structures close to the surface. These radar data might give us a picture of the annual precipitation variability across the glacier.

Three men were digging out our food from the snowdrifts. All the boxes had disappeared in the snow. Fortunately the rows were marked with bamboo sticks, so we knew where the boxes were. All the boxes were pulled up. We checked all the food and re-packed the boxes. As we have eaten some of the food, we could empty some of the boxes, which will be used for packing the ice cores. We then immediately buried all the boxes with frozen food in the snow again. We also cleaned up a bit around the kitchen tent. Here we had a lovely mess of boxes, plywood and snowdrifts. Now it is nice and tidy again.

It has been a very beautiful day. We could see the mountains far away. We had small sparrows and one northern fulmar flying around our camp. As long as the fauna does not manifest it self through something bigger, like a polar bear or so, it is really nice to see some animals.

Today we have been in touch with VECO over the Iridium phone.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Thursday, 1. June. Stumbling over snowdrifts.

This was the day with snow and wind from the opposite direction. There are snowdrifts on spots that we are not used to. We stumble over snow that is not laying where it usually does. Our nice toilet where the door is usually at the leeside all of the sudden had snow blowing in through the entrance. This had two consequences: 1) When we had to go we had to leave well in advance to dig out the door first and 2) We had to do our business very quickly in order to avoid getting too much snow in the face.

We could not do very much outdoor work today, but in fact that was not needed. The drilling of the ice core is performed in a tent, so we could easily go on with this. We have now reached the depth of 49 m and the core consists of more and more refrozen wet snow. Was it warmer here in the past? Right now we can only guess, until we get some analysis done, but we believe that the Flade Isblink core contains quite a few answers.

In the evening Sverrir and Lars came back from Station Nord. GPS is a fantastic instrument here in the middle of nowhere. The Kansas people were unable to do any work due to the bad weather.

We have been in touch with Copenhagen, VECO and Station Nord over the Iridium phone today.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Wednesday, 31. May. Change to southerly wind

The day started off very nice, but we new the weather might change. We have had weather forecast from the Canadian Met Office emailed from Copenhagen, and they have proven rather reliable. For today and tomorrow they however announced wind above 10 m/s from south-southeast. Difficult to believe since we for 17 days only (except for one 3 hour period) experienced northerly wind. But we did have southerly wind this morning and by evening it had increased to a strong breeze. We (very unscientifically) agreed on two things in camp: 1) It has been blowing north so long that nothing can be left, and 2) Since east and west don't exist when your at the pole the wind also only blows from north or south. These should of course not be taken as official scientific statements :-)
The wind only increased in the evening amd thus didn't hinder a very productive day. Tonight it seems like the snow that passed a few days ago comes back.

Claude and Dennis finished their radar measurements of the ice thickness in the area. Lars and Sverrir left to St Nord by snow scooter. It took two and a half hours. They will pick up gasoline, some spares and wash clothes. They return tomorrow if weather permits.

We drilled down to 36m and the cores are a mixture of refrozen water and compressed snow. The analysis work fine, but they are a lot of work. At 30m depth the temperature in the hole was -13C.
We have been in contact with Copenhagen, VECO and St Nord over the Iridium phone.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Tuesday, 30. May. A beautiful summerday.

The weather has been fantastic today and we have done a lot. We have even had time to enjoy an outdoor lunch. Lars have put up the last measurement points for the surface motion of the glacier. Dennis and Claude have measured quite a few radar profiles. They only lack a few hours of measurements until they have completed this part of their work. The drillers Steffen and Sverrir have worked in the drill tent in order to keep Andreas, Bruce and Jørgen Peder busy with the ice core processing and analysis. Simon made food and cleaned up in camp.

Today it was sunshine and clear skies. We could see the mountains in the far southwest, and towards southeast we could see the sea in the Fram Strait (the sea between Svalbard and Greenland). There was no wind and the temperature at 13.00 was 0 degrees C and at 21.00 -4.3 C.

In total we have drilled more than 22 m of ice. The core is alternating between light (white) layers with compressed snow that never has been melted and dark (clear) layers of refrozen wet snow. The layers of refrozen wet snow varies a lot. Some are only a few cm thick and others are several meters thick. It seems like Flade Isblink experiences very different weather conditions during the summer. Some years the melting is so strong that the whole glacier becomes wet during summer, other years the glacier is as cold as the Greenland ice sheet itself, which is 200 km to the southwest. Here at Flade Isblink the contrasts meet, which we have experienced ourselves during the last weeks' dramatic weather changes.

We have been in touch with Copenhagen and VECO over the Iridium phone today.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Monday, 29. May, The snow is back

Last night we had another dramatic night with strong winds. A couple of us did not get very much sleep because we faired that our tents would be "punctured" by the wind, just like last week. The winds were at the strongest at 4 am (20m/s). Today we laid by, due to enormous snow drift. This evening the weather has improved again. The weather change is reflected in the observations:
14.00: -3,7 C, 15 m/s from 325 true, 933.8 mb, no surface contrast, no horizon, visibility 50 m, overcast, snow, strong drift.
24.00: -3.2 C, 7 m/s from 265 true, 936,7 mb, surface contrast good, horizon good, visibility to horizon, 3/8 overcast towards south.

During the day everybody has been hanging out in the kitchen telt. Once every hour we had to go out to check the generator so that it was not covered in drifting snow. We also had to check that the tents were not destroyed by the strong winds. Furthermore there was a huge pile of drifting snow in front of the kitchendoor (which is opened outwards). Therefore we had to dig the snow away every half hour in order to be able to open the door. However, we managed to get some work done, too, like kitchen duties. Steffen made gullash and mashed potatoes for lunch and he even mad dinner as well: Beef with green peas and rice. In the drill tent we finally got started with some measurements. We measured yesterday's production. Tomorrow we will start early in the morning to take advantage of the good weather. The Kansas group has analyzed their data and it seems like some of their profiles has to be remeasured, if there is time.
Today we have been in contact with Copenhagen, Station Nord and VECO over the Iridium phone.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Sunday, 28. May. Surprises in the core

1130: -5,5 C, 5 m/s from 320 true, 931.2 mb , surface contrast good, horizon good, visibility to the horizon, 3/8 high clouds.

2100: -5.7 C, 11 m/s from 300 true, 931.0 mb, surface contrast poor, visibility 2 km, thin discontinuous cloud cover, snow. The weather is deteriorating. The wind is picking up and the forecast says that the wind will continue tomorrow.

After a really nice Saturday evening we started up slowly Sunday morning. The drilling is underway, but we still need some adjustments of the area where the cores are registered, measured and packed. Sverrir repaired some minor damages to the two skidoos and the Kansas team worked with their data.

The Flade Isblink ice core contains a number of surprises. Until now we have at a depth of 2.6 m met a layer of snow/ice which definitely is marked by having been very wet from meltwater. This layer stops again at 6.8 m. There are indications that it has been quite wet here last year or within the last several years? Inside the refrozen core sections, we see structure, as if some stratigraphy is preserved. The refrozen cores contain lots of large bubbles. We will know more once we determine the annual snow fall.

The coring started at 2.80 m below the floor of the drill tent, which was the surface on 15th May 2006. Thus logging began 5 cm from top in Bag 6. Density of bag 7: 850 kg/m3.

Claude cooked rice with vegetables and salmon for dinner.

We have talked to Copenhagen over the Iridium phone.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Saturday, 27. May. The first core

More pictures

1300: -5,5 C, 3-4 m/s from 265 true, surface contrast fair, horizon fair, visibility to horizon, overcast, snow.

1900: -5.1 C, 3 m/s from 275 true, 929,2 mb, surface contrast good, horizon good, visibility to horizon, 6/8 high clouds, snow.

After careful fine tuning of the position of the drill tower, we assmbled the drill and prepared for the first drilling. It is important to get started properly. The drill must start as vertically as possible thereby optimizing the hole and the core. At the same time, we prepared the ECM equipment and the measurement drill. We managed to drill one core late Saturday afternoon. With this feeling of having gotten off to a good start we celebrated Saturday evening with a "neck-tie dinner" of fried prawns, tenderloin beef and pudding with fruit.

The Kansas team did not make it out today since the starter on the skidoo was broken. It is being fixed. Lars and Andreas rode 6 km north from camp and dug a 4.5 m deep hole in the snow. They took samples of the wall in the hole. Unlike in camp where we have ice from 2.4 m and down, Lars and Andreas found no significant melt layer even at a depth of 4.5 m. We will need to think this over.

The melt layer that started at 2.4 m under the floor of the drill
tent continues in the core drilled. The core is 95 % refrozen wet snow. Thin
white firn layers are seen in the core. Although the ice looks like one large melt feature, the ice contains many large bubbles of gas. In the pit, 6 km to the north, no melt layers were encountered down to 4.5 m depth.

We have been in contact with Copenhagen and VECO in Søndre Strømfjord over the Iridium phone.