On the Ice

Back to Linda AWS, and WAIS departure update

Earlier this week, on Monday 23 November, Mark and I took a helo “night flight” to Linda AWS to finish up the work we couldn’t get done during our first visit there 9 days prior. The helo schedule has been fairly busy as of late, so the best time that they could squeeze our flight in was at 7:30 pm that Monday night. Normally our helo flights don’t go much past 5 pm.

The night flights are much more relaxed than flying during the day. There are fewer flights to be done and fewer helo personnel. Mark and I took an A-Star (smaller of the two helos) and flew to Linda AWS to check the pressure sensor, swap it if need be, install the new power system, and raise the enclosure on the tower.

When we arrived, we noticed that the hole that we made when we tried removing the power system in our first visit was completely filled in. Those strong winds created enough blowing snow to fill the hole, as if we have never tried. Luckily, the weather was much more pleasant this go-around. Temperatures were around 15F and winds didn’t get much above 10 mph. It’s so much easier to do field work when it isn’t windy!

Linda AWS when we arrived. The old battery box is buried to the right of the station; the new one is visible.

Linda AWS when we arrived. The old power system is buried to the right of the station; the new one is visible.

Our first order of business was to check the Paroscientific pressure sensor because it was not reporting any values. We checked connections and did some diagnostics but could not correct the issue. We had to swap out the existing one for a Vaisala pressure sensor. We were able to get measurements to transmit with the Vaisala, so we plan to do some troubleshooting back in Madison with the seemingly faulty Paroscientific pressure sensor.

We dug out the existing power system, with the help of the helo pilot and connected the new one. Lastly we raised the enclosure, which involved reorganizing the long cables extending from the sensors on the tower. This, admittedly, took a little longer than expected. In the end, we finished our work at Linda and can check this AWS off the list for this field season.

Linda AWS when our work was completed.

Linda AWS when our work was completed.

In other news, Mark and I are on the schedule to go to WAIS tomorrow, Thursday 26 November (Thanksgiving). This departure date has changed many times, as weather and scheduling dictates. As I’m writing this, just a couple hours ago we thought we were going to depart on Friday, but we got an update saying the plan is to leave tomorrow.

We plan to be at WAIS until approximately December 10. While there, our internet availability will be limited to email, at best. As such, I will not be able to update you all with our work, real-time. I will be writing up equivalents to blog posts while we’re out there, so when we get back to McMurdo I can post those and you all can catch up on our adventures.

Cheers for now!

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