On the Ice

Dave and Marian are on the ice!

AWS field team 2 is on the ice! Marian and I arrived in McMurdo on 4 December, just as scheduled! We are here to take over for Carol, who has gotten the season off to a great start, despite the poor weather that has plagued McMurdo for much of the time.

Marian is a research intern with the Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences department at UW-Madison. She works in the same building that we do at UW, and she was a student hourly for our group for a year when she was getting her undergraduate degree! We are happy to have her help out on the ice for a part of this field season. She is also blogging about her experiences during this trip and has already made a few posts. You can check it out here: https://marianantarctica.wordpress.com/

For mine and Marian’s portion of this AWS field season, our biggest goal will be to complete field work from West Antarctic Ice Sheet field camp. Our plan is to be there for a few weeks starting at the end of December. We hope to service 8 AWS, with some work including raising and swapping out wind instruments.

Apologies for not updating you all sooner about our arrival, but Marian and I definitely hit the ground running with the mandatory training (field safety, fire safety, Crary Lab walkthrough, truck driving, waste, etc). We have already visited our first four AWS: Willie Field, Phoenix, Pegasus North, and Linda.

We took the truck out yesterday, 6 December, to Willie Field and Phoenix. We used this time to complete the light vehicle training to drive trucks, by which Carol guided us as we drove through town. Once we finished the training, we drove out to the two airfields (Willie Field and Phoenix) to visit our AWS. We wanted to take a brief look at Willie Field AWS, but the main purpose of the trip was to install the relative humidity sensor at Phoenix AWS and introduce Marian to our AWS in their natural habitat. She even put the harness on to climb the station, and she is already practically a pro!

Dave and Marian installing the relative humidity sensor on Phoenix AWS.

Today, 7 December, Marian, Carol, and I took a helicopter flight to Pegasus North and Linda AWS. (The original plan was to also go to Lorne AWS, but we were put on weather hold so we didn’t have enough time for that visit today.) We wanted to get some pictures of Pegasus North because we had received word from people working near the AWS that it was very tilted. At Linda, the pressure has been making bad measurements so we wanted to check the wiring of the sensor to the datalogger.

We were on the ground at Pegasus North for all of 5 minutes, enough to get the pictures we needed:


We are deliberating with our team about whether we want to try to fix the tilt of the AWS and keep it installed for one more year, as planned, or remove the AWS this season.

At Linda, we switched some wiring on the datalogger for the pressure sensor. It was still making bad measurements, so we removed the sensor so we can try to diagnose the issue back at the lab. Unfortunately, Linda will not be transmitting pressure for the foreseeable future.

Linda AWS.

Consider yourselves up to date now! I’ll be posting again soon with more fun stories.



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