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Polar Radar for Ice Sheet Measurements

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  Sunday, January 8, 2006

This morning the wind was strong with blowing snow. It wasn�t much colder than usual (it was around -8.5 C) but with the winds at 11-20 knots obscuring visibility, it felt colder. The heater in the residential tent had also gone out, making many of us reluctant to leave our sleeping bags as we heard the wind howling and felt the cold air around us.

The Pisten Bully was readied in the morning for the depth sounder and accumulation radar work, but it was too windy to take the plane wave radar sled out. Today Pannir, Claude, Prasad and Jennifer went on the radar run. Several lines of the grid were completed and the rest will be finished tomorrow morning. Much data was collected and it was also a beautiful afternoon to be on the ice sheet. The sky had cleared quite a bit and the visibility was excellent. The ice was sculpted into fantastic shapes and the wind was visible as it picked up snow and moved along the surface. It deposited the snow in sandstone-like layers in some places and dunes in others. Pannir�s radar display that he watches as the radar run continues is quite fascinating as it has many different windows that show temperature, wave forms from each amplifier and two GPS monitors. He keeps track of all these things on one screen for hours at a time. Claude keeps the Pisten Bully on track, driving a specific speed while keeping track of the GPS coordinates and the distance so he can stop as prescribed by the day�s plan. Along the grid lines today, we stopped every 100 m on some lines, and every 40 m in areas of special interest. These stops allow more data to be accumulated, making it easier during the processing to separate the radar signal from the noise. At one point, Prasad had to jump out and move a flag so that we could move along the grid line unimpeded.

Richard backed up data from last night�s run all day and the group packed up some boxes of gear tonight. Five of us (Prasad, David, Jennifer, Jerome and Abdul) hope to fly out of WAIS tomorrow after finishing the depth sounder grid. The others hope to follow within the week. It will all depend on the weather and space on the airplane. Though there is still some work to be finished, we feel that much has been accomplished and that the data collected will prove quite interesting.

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

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