Monthly Archives: May 2011

The end of a remarkable Arctic campaign

From Malcolm (ESA), NL, 13 May While there are still several teams on the ground finishing off their measurements, the successful ASIRAS flight over T15 on the Greenland ice cap this past Monday following the royal visit...

It’s a wrap – airborne measurements of ice ...

From Henriette (DTU-Space), Denmark, 12 May We ended our DTU-Space part of the CryoVEx campaign on 9 May. The Norlandair Twin Otter has flown about 85 hours, covering about 20 000 km. This is about the same distance as half way around the world at the equator.  The map below shows our flight tracks. We have been able to underfly several CryoSat passes. A few of them were in formation flight with the AWI Polar-5. We have visited five main validation sites, circled in red on the map: Devon ice cap, Austfonna ice cap, the EGIG line Greenland interior, as well as sea ice north of Alert and sea ice around Svalbard...

Icebreaker’s cruise for CryoSat complete

From Angelika (NPI), Arctic Ocean north of Svalbard, 9 May Over the last days we have been continuing with the work on the sea ice north of Svalbard, detailing snow elevation and thickness, taking ice-thickness measurements  and sampling other physical properties of snow and ice. The weather had not been very favourable for long EM-Bird flights, but this changed last Wednesday and we managed to do three flights in one day, covering over 650 km at around at around 81°N 16° E. We had a long 48-hour station on the sea ice where the various groups carried out their work. This included divers sampling flora and fauna the under ice, biologists doing...

NASA performs last joint flight for CryoSat

From Michael (NASA), Greenland, 5 May The storm conditions at Thule Air Base were downgraded from Charlie to Bravo and we were able to take off at 10:52 LT in fairly poor visibility on the runway. Shortly after takeoff, the conditions deteriorated again to Charlie and the airfield was closed for a short time, while we were airborne. Only the targets on the east side of Greenland showed good weather today, but these areas require a 7.5-hour flight to be surveyed efficiently. We had only a 5-hour window to work with and decided to fly the Devon Ice Cap mission despite some clouds in the area. We had to drop the Barnes...

Shape of Greenland’s ice sheet as ‘seenR...

Image from Rob (ESA) NL, 4 May As the team prepares for the Greenland leg of the campaign, this new image, derived from CryoSat data, shows the summit of this vast ice cap. The profile, which runs from south to north over central Greenland, shows the height of the ice cap – peaking at over 3000 m above sea level. Next week will be the last step in the year's campaign with scientists from various institutes working together to gather airborne and ground measurements of the ice and snow on land. One of the challenges for the CryoSat mission is being able to acquire accurate measurements of two different types of ice....

Polar bears come to check out the action on the sea ice

From Angelika (NPI), Arctic Ocean north of Svalbard, 2 May The Norwegian Polar Institute's second cruise this spring through the sea ice north of Svalbard is well underway. After a bit of searching to find some decent ice pack to set up camp, we've had a successful few days sampling the snow and ice – along with a nightly visit from some polar bears checking out our experiment site. We've been aboard the RV Lance with two scientists from the Finnish Meteorological Institute who joined our NPI sea-ice physics group. Physical oceanographers, marine biologists looking at pelagic, benthic and ice-associated organisms, bio-geochemists, and a dive team are also on the icebreaker, making...

Ice campaign in Svalbard forges ahead

From Tania (ESA) and Henriette (DTU), Svalbard, 1 May With a break in the weather, the weekend has proved very successful for the team in Svalbard. We woke to sunshine on Saturday and heard from the ground teams on the Austfonna ice cap and the RV Lance icebreaker up north in the sea ice that the weather was quite good. So, we grabbed the opportunity fly the Twin Otter equipped with ASIRAS and the laser scanner to take some of the airborne measurements needed for this leg of the campaign. The transit to Austfonna was breathtaking – the views were incredible, so pristine. The only trace of human activity were the occasional...