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Polar Radar for Ice Sheet Measurements

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  Sunday, January 1, 2006

Today dawned with much nicer weather than yesterday's. The sky was still overcast much of the day, but it was warmer and the winds were very light. It was much easier to work outside today. There were huge drifts around camp this morning from the wind and snow, but the camp team used their heavy equipment to smooth these out throughout the day.

The WAIS camp mechanic checked the Pisten Bully's radiator for leaks this morning. He determined that there was probably nothing seriously wrong, but asked the team to keep an eye on it. Pannir and Prasad, and John Paden back at KU, processed the SAR data from last night and compared the results with work done by others. Our team got good resolution for the internal layers. They are very visible. We saw the Old Faithful layer quite clearly as well as some other deeper layers that indicate volcanism. These had not been imaged before. They also got good depth measurements. The bedrock was somewhat more problematic. There was a great return from radar pointed straight down, but at an angle there was no appreciable return from the bottom. This could be because the bedrock is very smooth or because there is water there. Other radar teams recently have reported problems imaging the bed of the ice sheet in this area, so the problem was not entirely unexpected.

Another SAR run was taken this afternoon in a different area. Processing of these data will continue into the night and tomorrow.

Joel, Jerome, and David traveled by snowmobile out to a nearby site where some snow pits had been excavated and covered by an ice core drilling team that had completed their work just before we arrived. They located a pit that was a little over a meter deep. The group enlarged it to a 2-meter depth. One wall was smoothed using a shovel. This area was then shaved using a trowel to make it as smooth as possible. Using a paintbrush, the layers were made clean and visible. A flexible ruler was mounted to the smoothed side with 0 being placed at the surface of the pit. Joel photographed the layers, with the ruler providing a record of the visible stratigraphy. David made a drawing of the stratigraphy at 5-cm intervals, annotating key layers. When this was complete, a block cutter was used to withdraw a block of ice every 5 cm. Each block has a known volume, so when the weight of the sample is determined the density can be calculated. The blocks were put into numbered baggies, weighed and data recorded. Then Jerome inserted a temperature probe every 5 cm and recorded the temperature data after the temperature stabilized. The pit then was covered with plywood, both for safety reasons and to allow others to use the pit, if they so desire.

Jennifer set up the Ecobadges for 1- and 8-hour ground-level ozone measurements and sent yesterday�s weather data to KU for display on the web. She also interviewed one of the camp staff, took some stereoscopic photos of the camp, and sent some near-real time video through the Virtual Dashboard of the SAR radar as the team prepared to go out for their run this afternoon.

NOTE: This was the entire journal entry, not just page 1.

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