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Polar Radar for Ice Sheet Measurements

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Day 25 - May 30 2006

A view from the ice dome while mapping of sunlight reflecting off of the Arctic Ocean about 20 km away to the southeast and some 2000 feet below us

Flade Isblink continues to surprise. Today was the warmest and calmest day since we arrived. The temperature reached 32 F and the winds dropped to 0 for a time. We had to shed layers to try to avoid overheating and still we sweated. This was also our most productive mapping day yet. We solved the saturation problem by increasing the attenuation of both the transmit and receive signals well beyond what we had originally anticipated would be necessary. We mapped over 10 lines (including the 3 cross lines), covering some 100 km, and completed mapping of the big grid. With time running short and the weather cooperating, we got an early start at 8:30 am, broke for a quick 10-minute lunch on the Skidoo at 12:45, and finished up around 7:30 pm. While mapping, we had our first views from the ice dome of the Arctic Ocean about 15 miles away to the southwest and 2000 ft below us. This patch of open water is called a polynia. It is surrounded by ice or land in all directions. It is due to swirling currents around the northeasteren tip of Greenland.

Dennis taking in the view during a brief lunch stop while mapping with the radar depth sounder. Note he has removed his coat due to the warm weather.

When we returned to camp and a welcome hot meal, we learned that our midseason return flight out of Station Nord might be in doubt. The Station Nord crew had been working hard to clear the runway of snow and ice and now it was frozen dirt about to thaw out. It could not accomodate large planes like a C-130 without experiencing damage to the surface. We hope to think through the options and find a solution tomorrow. We also learned that Bruce was feeling a little better and had slept better than the night before.

While Dennis and I were out mapping, the rest of the team members decided to enjoy the nice weather with a picnic lunch outside. Left to right: Simon, Lars, JP, Sverrir, Steffan.


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