Posts Tagged ‘kiwis’

Some Science Occurs

September 3, 2009

On Tuesday we managed to get a slightly earlier start heading out to the sea ice. It was still later than we’d planned; starting up a new project always seems to mean discovering several dozen things you forgot to bring.

The ride out was as bumpy as before, except this time we had the Analytic Spectral Device (for measuring albedos) along and thus had to be extra careful about excessive vibration.

We were looking for first-year sea ice that was bare of snow. We ended up near Tent Island, where our Kiwi friends had told us we might be able to find something sufficiently wind-scoured. No bare ice was immediately apparent, but we did find this iceberg trapped in the sea ice:

Click for larger version.

Say 'freeze'!

We investigated it, being careful to stay well clear of any possible falling ice. Icebergs are not to be trifled with; you can see the size of this one, and imagine how even a smallish piece of it might feel if it were to detach while you were underneath it.

Having found no bare ice even in the most wind-scoured of spots, and with the sun gradually sinking towards the horizon, we retraced our steps to an area which at least didn’t have very much snow and broke out our gear.

Rich uses the ASD to measure light levels. An overcast day is best for this, because the light comes in more evenly from all directions.

Me and the ice-coring device. Wrestling one of these down into the ice warms you up rather nicely, even at temperatures in the -30 range.

The snow was not very deep at all, but unfortunately even not-very-deep snow has quite a significant effect on albedo.

We got our albedo measurements, and we got our ice core, and we got very cold indeed.

On the way back we stopped in the sea ice hut the Kiwis have been using all winter, where they graciously fed us tea and cake. They also showed us their conductivity/temperature/depth sensor and the nifty hole in the sea ice–conveniently located within the warm confines of the hut–through which they lower it to get profiles of the ocean water below. Afterwards they kindly directed us to their own road back towards base, which felt orders of magnitude smoother than the route we’d been using and allowed us to get home in one hour instead of three despite being technically longer. An excellent day all round.