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Polar Radar for Ice Sheet Measurements

Curved ice line
Jagged line
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Day 24 - May 29 2006

This was another down day as the storm continued throughout the previous night, through the morning and into the afternoon and we got no mapping accomplished once again. The winds were running at about 11 mph from the NNW and the temperatures were quite mild (-2 to -4 C). In fact, they were too mild. The snow was almost wet, sticking to our clothes and threatening to soak us. It was a bad day in other ways as well. First we learned from our colleagues back home, who had analyzed some real data we sent them to double check our results, that the data we had obtained up to this point was badly saturated. Saturation is something like overexposing an image. Information loss occurs when the radar signals reflected from the various different layers are so bright or strong that they go off scale or beyond the system's ability to measure them. The information is permanently lost, resulting in a fuzzy image and thus losing the very layers we are trying to see. In addition, Bruce has developed a painful knee problem. He thinks it is some kind of inflammation to the cartilage between the bones. He's barely able to hobble around, and clearly not his usual, jovial self.

Andreas and Lars making their way from their tents to the weatherport as the storm continues the next morning

For me personally, the worst disaster of the day started when my laptop computer locked up. When I tried to reboot, my operating system was gone, along with all of my files. Dennis is looking at the problem and trying to download some software that would allow me to boot from my memory stick, but the file is something like 8 megabytes and our Iridium connection speed is only about 17 kilobytes/second. Fortunately, I had backed up most of my files to an external hard drive before this happened, and I am trying to assess the damage. Dennis is also letting me borrow his laptop to continue our work, but I am worrying that something might happen to his computer too.

On the positive side, the winds subsided by afternoon and the forecast for tomorrow is good. We hope to continue our mapping of the grid with our corrected settings and possibly remap earlier parts if there is time.


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