On the Ice

We’re flying!

The Otters are back in town! This past Thursday, the Twin Otters came back to McMurdo from WAIS, much earlier than we expected. And the past two days, we flew on them! On Friday, we flew to Elaine on the southern end of the Ross Ice Shelf near the Transantarctic Mountains. Yesterday we flew to Marilyn, also on the shelf near the TAs, but much closer to town. Both sites had similar issues: they weren’t transmitting and the wind monitor was broken. And both visits had similar results: they’re transmitting now, and the wind monitors were replaced.

Also, at Elaine, Marilyn, and Schwerdtfeger, there are collocated AWS installed by Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC). This group does weather forecasting in McMurdo, and these sites are important for their forecasting. They can visit them more often than we can, so we are in the process of transitioning these sites to them. We’re also hoping to install a PCWS at Schwerdtfeger, so there will be side-by-side-by-side AWS there.

Monty from NIWC came with us to both Elaine and Marilyn, while Avi and Madeline from PASSCAL came to Marilyn.

Elaine when we arrived. Notice the propeller in the snow. That should be on the wind monitor.
There we go! Elaine after our visit.
Marilyn when we arrived.
They dug a very nice hole to retrieve the power system and uncover the enclosure and cables.
The crew: left to right, me, Madeline, Lee, Avi, Monty.

In related news, we also flew on helo to Minna Bluff about a week and a half ago. We got that one up and running too, as it wasn’t transmitting.

Minna Bluff after our work.

Regarding our flight schedule, we got approved to do four more helo flights: Laurie II, Cape Bird, Ferrell, and revisiting White Island to install a high wind system. We’re on the helo schedule tomorrow to go to Laurie II. Also, in addition to taking the Otter to Schwerdtfeger and Tall Tower!, we’ve asked if we can get four additional sites on the Otter schedule: Lettau, Margaret, Emilia, and Vito. Each of those sites need to be raised. 

While we’ve had success at our sites visited by air, we haven’t been successful at the ones visited by ground, Phoenix and Willie Field. We swapped the enclosure on Phoenix, but then it wouldn’t transmit. And we tried installing a new datalogger on Willie Field, the CR1000X, but we couldn’t get the temperature to read properly. Fortunately, we fixed that issue with Willie Field, so once we’re ready to install the PCWS at Sarah, we will do that. We’re still trying to figure out how to fix Phoenix. 



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