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Polar Radar for Ice Sheet Measurements

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Jagged line

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Jagged line
  Wednesday, January 4, 2006

When we got up this morning, the sky was overcast, but it was reasonably pleasant here at WAIS camp. The wind began to freshen and it was blowing around 8-10 knots at 11:00 am. The temperature was around 11� F at that time.

The radar team went out to do a 12-hour traverse today with the depth sounder and the accumulation radar. They will be running two more lines of the grid today. We have laid out a grid (like graph paper) on a map of the area we want to examine and have GPS (global positioning system) waypoints to guide us on each line that we want to examine. So the team goes out and drives along the line by looking at the GPS data. Meanwhile, researchers sit in the back with the radar and watch the data coming in. They determine how accurate the data are, which in turn determines how fast the vehicle should go and whether some parts of the grid need to be repeated. Once the team comes in, they back up the data to a computer (so we don't lose any of it) and then begin to process it. They are not doing the complete processing they will do when we get back to KU, but do a quick processing to be sure the radar is working the way they need it to. It also helps them determine what to do the next day.

David, Joel and Jerome went out to the snow pit they dug yesterday. Away from camp, apparently the weather was more inclement. High winds blew so much snow in the pit that sampling was quite difficult. Nonetheless, they got the job done. When they arrived back, they were covered with snow.

Lunch was a highlight with hamburgers cooked on the barbeque grill and homemade hamburger buns. These cooks really come up with some foods that make people happy. They have to work with very limited ingredients, satisfy a lot of people's tastes and provide vegetarian as well as meat selections. The food must be satisfying and high enough in calories to allow people to work outdoors in the cold, but not so fattening that people with more sedentary jobs get fat. The cooks work very long hours and are very interesting people.

After lunch, there were a couple of problems with the GPS (some warning lights came on), but after consultation with some of our group, the problem was resolved and the radar group was able to continue on.

Outreach was able to have a short video conference this morning with ALTEC and with a teacher in the Olathe, Kansas, school district, Brandon Gillette. We are working out the bandwidth glitches so we can conference with Mr. Gillette's students next week. A conference with a high school in Columbus, Ohio, is planned for Friday. An interview was conducted with one of our cooks and a middle-school experiment using Vernier temperature and light probes was completed today.

By late afternoon, the visibility was worsening here at camp. There was very low contrast between the snow and the overcast sky and it became difficult to tell where the horizon was. Very disorienting! It was not a white-out, because we still could see things in the distance, but it did cause the flight that was due today to be cancelled. So our team member, Eric, was not able to depart today. The flight has been rescheduled for tomorrow. He is hoping for fine weather and so are the rest of us who are hoping for almost no wind so we can take out the plane wave radar.

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

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