Weekly Update from Byron

ship in ice
  • Date
Last week, we reached the coldest temperatures at -31.2 °C. Credit: Esther Horvath/AWI

by Byron Blomquist, CIRES and NOAA


With southerly winds we are finally drifting toward the pole, and each
hour is a new record high latitude for the cruise, currently about 86.5°N.
 The Dranitzyn is two days out from our position and activities are
shifting from science to the logistics of cargo and personnel transfer.
We expect it will take 4-5 days to complete the handover.  Our estimated
arrival back in Tromso is Dec 24-29.

Today we finished re-erecting the repaired '30m' mast at Met City, which
is now only 23m because several sections were damaged beyond repair when
ice movement brought it down a few weeks ago.  At this point, measurements
that were operational in early Nov at Met City are back online again and
we've mostly recovered from the 'ice quake' event.

This week we've had several days of favorable winds for ship and Met City
measurements, and this is forecast to continue for at least another day
before winds slacken and back to the north again.  Tomorrow Steve and I
will try one more outing with the CO2/CH4 flux chamber.  Thus far, the
chamber measurements are showing very small but statistically significant
emission and deposition fluxes of methane over the 1st year ice.  Eddy
correlation data from at least one day I've checked seem to show a methane
emission flux of similar magnitude.  So, the quick-look results are
encouraging but it will take quite a bit of analysis to get a full picture
of our leg 1 data.  I hope to spend most of the time on the ride back to
Tromso working on that.

Most of us on leg 1 are pretty tired and ready to hand off to the leg 2
crew.  This has been a huge amount of work but I'm personally encouraged
by the results, awed by the breath and depth of the observational
activities here, and anticipating the big changes we expect to see into
the spring and summer.  I'll be out here again for leg 4, and will never
take sunlight for granted again...