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Polar Radar for Ice Sheet Measurements

Curved ice line
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Day 12 - May 17 2006

This morning we awoke to severe winds, snow and drifts that had raged through the night without any signs of abating. JP, who was the first up, had to shovel snow drifted up to the doorknob on the weatherport just to get inside. The entire camp was in danger of loosing critical items under the snow and we set about the task of digging ourselves out by hand. Our situation deteriorated further when it became apparent in a mid-morning inventory that our reliance on the backup generator had eaten into our supplies of gasoline intended for the skidoos and generator for our radar mapping. Matters became grimmer still when after a complete teardown and rebuild in the weatherport, the primary generator coughed and sputtered, but failed to run. Moods changed an hour later, however, when the identical secondary generator, after a similar overhaul and replacement of its headgasket, fared better and roared to life at about the same time that the snowstorm abated and the sun came out. Dennis and I did manage to wire up our radar depth sounder and get the computer to boot after warming it up with an internal heater. Bruce and Andreas also succeeded in setting up the polar bear trip alarm around the camp perimeter. We all celebrated the day's successes over a dinner of Italian pasta and meat sauce.

Simon Sheldon (left) and Sverrir Hilmarsson tearing down one of the faulty diesel generators in the weatherport.

Once again the weather deteriorated. The winds picked up and the snow was so intense that our camp was soon drifted in once more. But our spirits remained high as we went to bed because the generator continued to run smoothly and that problem finally appeared to be behind us.

Simon just outside the weatherport in near whiteout conditions


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