Activities for the summer

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8 May 2007

Activities for the summer

After a week in ‘tidy up mode’ we are now launching into our regular science activities for the summer. Looking at all of our new installations adds up to a comprehensive list of experiments from a height of several kilometers above Tara, through the snow and ice to the deepest depths below. New experiments started during April include a captive atmospheric balloon profiling wind speed and direction, temperature and humidity, a network of five seismometers measuring ice movement, a radiometer under the ice measuring solar radiation, two thermistor strings measuring the temperature throughout the ice, a new Ice Mass Balance (IMB) instrument measuring ice and snow thickness and a Polar Ocean Profiling System (POPS) that automatically measures conductivity and temperature throughout the water column to a depth of 1000m once a day. We will also now be undertaking more ice and snow measurements, including weekly electromagnetic surveys of ice thickness along a 2km transect, and additional biological sampling of phytoplankton and zooplankton at various depths in the water column.

The meteorological programme has been extended to include a network of sixteen buoys. These were parachute dropped by Twin Otter aircraft within an area 500km x 500km centered on Tara and will automatically send surface meteorological data via satellite communication. To our south another POPS has also been installed and to our north an ice tiltmeter.

These additional activities compliment the existing programmes that we have undertaken since the start of the drift including deep CTD profiling, meteorological measurements near Tara, incoming and outgoing solar radiation sensors measuring albedo, acoustic sensors measuring underwater acoustic propagation and a micro CTD deployed near the surface under the ice.

Between all of the science activities we will also be installing an array of solar panels this week to take advantage of the 24 hour supply of energy. It is certainly shaping up to be a busy summer for all on board!!

Grant