On the Ice

More weather delays, but still more flights!

This past week we had planned to go to Margaret AWS on Monday 28 Nov., but we were cancelled due to the weather at the station. And again on Tuesday… but Wednesday was finally nice to get out! So, 30 Nov. we flew to Margaret with two diggers in tow. It had been 7 years since the station was last visited and it is known to be a high snow accumulation area, so we were expecting a large dig with not a lot of ground time. We found the station pretty quickly which was great, but to our shock the station was not buried at least 10 ft, it ended up only being about 6 ft! Luckily that made for a quick dig with so much help and so we could also fully raise the station with a new tower section. It was a great success!

Margaret AWS when before servicing – soft snow stuck in the tower.
Margaret AWS after the raise

We had also planned on going to Laurie II AWS and we got out Friday 2 Dec. The plan was to dig out the batteries and raise some instrumentation, but it was still likely tall enough to not need a tower section even with an estimated 7 ft of accumulation. With a deep dig, we had a digger come along with us! It ended up being only about 5 feet buried and we got the batteries out, enclosure and solar panel raised. We were done early and that was the first time we didn’t run through our allotted time! Unfortunately, we did not realize we needed to swap out the wind monitor as the wind direction is not working properly, so that did not get fixed. Otherwise that station is working and transmitting!

Laurie II AWS before we started digging
Angie and I in the hole we (and Ema) dug to get the batteries out (thanks Ema for taking this photo)!
Angie (left), Ema (middle), and myself (right) by the helo after servicing Laurie II – we really crushed it!
Laurie II AWS after servicing

The next AWS we had planned to go to was Ferrell, but that had to be cancelled on Saturday 3 Dec. for weather. We were able to get out on Dec. 5 with beautiful weather, but after one hour of searching, none of us had spotted the station and we needed to head back to town due to low fuel. We will try again this coming week, though!

With the weather delays in the beginning of the week, we decided to head out to the observation (ob) tube since there was an opening. The ob tube is a pipe that gets put through the sea ice and has windows at the bottom to see into the water below! The tube is not very wide around, but it does get a bit wider at the bottom and there is room to sit on a step stool. Here are some pictures from this experience!

Me climbing down the tube!
View from one of the windows with the bottom of the sea ice on the top half of the image!
The ocean floor!

This coming week is Angie and I’s last, so we are trying to finish out strong! Lee is coming in soon to work on the stations he can get to for the rest of the season.



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