Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Go Spartans!!!!

I didn't have a flag, but my hat will do! Go Spartans!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Circumzenithal Arc

Here are some photos of a spectacular Halo display I experienced this morning while ballooning...

Here is a 22 degree halo, Parhelic circle, and Parhelia (Sun Dogs on each side).

Here is a Circumzenithal Arc which is also called a "smile in the sky." This arc appears above the 22 degree halo, but I couldn't get it in the photo all together. Notice all the ice crystals in the air (specs in the photo).

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Happy Solstice

It's the Summer Solstice today. At Summit, we had a wonderful dinner tonight for celebration. Surf and Turf!!! Check it out.


Friday, June 20, 2008

Snow Science at Summit

I forgot to list Zoe's blog at Exploratorium. Check it out:


Snow Science at Summit

The other day I joined up with Dr. Zoe Courville from the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Lab. and one of her crew members, Elyse Williamson, an undergraduate from Hamilton College. They showed me some interesting research on snow science or more specifically, firn. Firn is snow that is older than a year and has transformed to a much denser medium, but not yet as ice. Zoe studies the thermal conductivity and permeability of the firn in the upper layers at Summit. Below are some pictures of one of her "pits" which is dug with the help of Elsye and others, and this where she collects her data.

Zoe and Elyse in the pit. Notice that it is covered with plywood to keep snow from filling it in overnight.

Zoe demonstrating her instrumentation. The probe measures the thermal conductivity of the snow which is attached to a data recorder(white box). The blue box is used to insulate a core of firn that was collected from the wall of the pit.

Here is another photo of Zoe placing the probe into the pit wall for measuring.

Here, Zoe, indicates different layers in the firn. The dark lines are wind crusts which are a result of wind blown snow that is deposited on the surface and then covered up by more blown snow. Understanding the layering is important because it can impact the permeability of the firn which can reduce airflow through it and modify exchange with the atmosphere. Also note the light blue shading in the snow, that is sunlight that penetrates the surface and can produce chemical reactions within the snowpack.

Here is a photo of the pit entrance from the surface. Below that hole is a frozen laboratory where the temperature is typically -30C!

Ok, now the ski back to camp. Elyse, my guide, is waiting for me to catch up. You can just see Summit Camp in the distance on the left, about 2 Km away.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Go Team Craig!

So, everyday at Summit, someone has to be the 'House Mouse.' This is the person who does all the dishes after each meal, cleans the eating areas, the bathrooms, mops, sweeps, makes coffee, does more dishes, etc...oh, and gets to pick the daily music selection. Today was Team Craig's turn. Craig Beals and myself were at it at 8am and finished at 8pm with the help of Luke...the next days mouse. We had fun, but it was a lot of work. Be nice to your house mouse.

"Team Craig"

UFO in Greenland...

Oh, it's just a tethered balloon surrounded by a halo.

First Storm

For the last couple days we have been under some high winds which limited our ballooning. So, the days were spent inside the "big" house. It was nice to have a break and catch up on work. One interesting thing about the storm was that the winds maxed out at approximately 34 kts. But that was enough to blow snow around and block the tent doors! It took me about 10 minutes of kicking to get the snow off my tent door. Fun, I suppose. Photos below.

Here is 'tent city' during the storm. Winds are only about 25 kts here.

This is my snow loaded tent after I kick for 10 minutes to get out!

Life inside my tent.

A break in the clouds allows for a nice view of a sun pillar in the distance. Sun pillars are vertical shafts of light that extend upward or downward from the sun and form when sunlight reflects off of ice crystals in the atmosphere.

A better photo of the same sun pillar.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Fog Bows

While tethersonding the other night interesting "fog bows" formed. These are like rainbows, but have little color and are mostly white in appearance. Also called cloud bows these are a result of smaller droplet sizes. Here at Summit, this is fairly common, but yesterday was just spectacular.
See the photos below of satellite camp and the tethersonde.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Swiss Tower

Another platform we are using is the 50 m Swiss Tower. The tower is a guyed, lattice tower that you climb from the inside. We installed 10 fine-wire thermocouples on it from 0 m to the top at 50 m. The day was perfect...warm, sunny, and no wind! See the photos below. The photos were taken by Craig Beals and Chris Greenfield.

The Swiss tower and the UCLA DOAS shack.

Preparing for the install.

Installing the first thermocouple.

Climbing to the next level.

Another install.

Chris, the medic, making sure I don't fall...or if I do, being ready to do something.

The view down!

At the top and finished with the installation!

And some preliminary data!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A proper birthday at Summit, Greenland

A proper birthday at Summit requires taking a shot out of the bowling ball that has been there since the start. Why did the first group come to the Greenland ice cap with a bowling ball nobody knows, but for over 20 years its been here...

Chris the medic prepares the ball.

Adds the medicine...

Hands it to the patient...


Flying a Balloon named Nemo

One of the main platforms we are using here at Summit to measure boundary layer properties is the tethersonde. This balloon is attached to line on an electric winch which allows us to retrieve the balloon and the sensor package. The sensor measures the wind speed and direction, temperature, humidity, and pressure which gives us its altitude. The second night we flew the balloon the temperature was -29.4C (-20F)! This type of work requires warm clothes! See the photos below.

Craig C. and Craig B. preparing for the first test flight. photo by Katrine.

Craig Beals flying Nemo.


The sensor that attaches to the tether. Cups measure wind speed, the orange fins point the sonde in the wind's direction. The tip has a temperature and relative humidity probe. See how it is attached to the line.

Never tethersonde while drinking a cold beverage. It doesn't make you warm.

For the more technically inclined, here is a plot of the data from the tethersonde. Height is in meters above ground level (m AGL). Enjoy!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Getting ready for the measurements

Now that we have spent the last few days around camp getting equipment moved around and getting into the swing of things, we are now making atmospheric measurements! Below is the water transfer to the Big House from where the snow is melted. This process occurs daily and includes all the water for cooking, drinking and washing.

There are lots of ice crystals in the air. It looks as if the air is sparkeling. Here is an example of a sundog which is a halo caused by the refraction of sunlight through the ice crystals. This seems to be a daily event so far.

Here is Ethan with his electric snowmobile from the U. of Wisconsin. This is used to transfer loads out in the "clean-air" sector which cannot be contaminated with emissions from regular combustion engines.

Here is the snowmobile in use. Barry and Craig Beals loading a helium cylinder.

Here is a picture of Satellite Camp which is located south of the main camp towards the south and at the edge of the clean air sector.

Here is the new flux facility that is aimed at measuring the fluxes of gases out of the snow pack. Additionally, is the "Bally" container which houses a number of gas analyzers from Georgia Tech, U. of Houston (cloud camera on the roof), NOAA, and University of California, Irvine.

Here is Barry Lefer (U.of Houston) and Craig Beals (PolarTrec science teacher working with Dr. Lefer) working with Dr. Lefer's "snowbird" spectroradiometer that measures UV radiation within the snowpack.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

First day at Summit Camp!

We arrived at Summit Camp on June 3. It was a wonderful flight with excellent views of the ice sheet. Temperatures that evening dropped to about -15 F. It was cold. The first day was spent moving equipment to different locations in camp. There are about 50 people in camp this week and each research group is frantically trying to get their equipment up and operating.

First view of the ice sheet on our way to Summit.

This is Barry, Christina, and Chris (right to left) preparing for a cold deboarding ritual.

This is Marie stepping off the plane. Notice the skis used for landing the C-130 on snow.

Here I am just off the plane doing the poser shot and feeling the effects of the altitude(10,600 ft)!

This is the main house known as the "Big House." This is where everyone relaxes and eats. The food is amazing here!!!

Here is the greenhouse. Named because it is the color green. Notice the wind turbine in the background. The turbine produces about 6 kW of power. The camp typically runs at about 50-60kW when there are a lot of instruments and people in camp.