On the Ice

Read field work reports from ice2sea scientists in Antarctica, Greenland, and Svalbard.


CNRS 2010, Alexandre Trouvilliez

Blowing snow may play an important role in the Surface Mass Balance in Antarctica, especially on the coast. In order to verify and calibrate the blowing snow package include in the Modèle Atmospherique Régional (MAR), different types of instruments capable of measuring the blowing snow flux were deployed in the coastal area of Adélie Land, near the French permanent station Dumont D’Urville (see photo). Instruments were chosen to stand the harsh polar environment with a few power requirements so they can be install on an Automatic Weather Station. Butterfly nets measurements were also made during the austral summer. The instruments have been installed from the coast, home the Adelie penguins and emperor penguins, to a point 100km inland call “hell’s gate” due to the continuous blowing snow events.

French base Dumont D'Urville from an iceberg. Photo: ice2sea

Each year, the stations (see photo) have to be controlled, repaired and/or improved if needed and data are discharged. On site operations can take many forms: for the nearest stations, a daily control can be performed by walk. For the others, a helicopter flight is required or a small traverse.



Niels Bohr Institute, 2010 : Dorthe Dahl-Jensen

We want to examine how the temperature and accumulation rate has changed in the central parts of the Greenland ice sheet with the global warming. For that we use stable isotope data from ice cores. To complement the existing archive of ice cores with newer data we have drilled shallow cores at several locations on the ice sheet.

On August 10, a two man drill crew flew from the NEEM camp (North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling) on the ice sheet by Twin Otter to Camp Century (77.18N; 60.50W), where they drilled a 30 m firn core and sampled a 2 m snow pit. The team left NEEM at 11:00 and at 18:00 they had finished the drilling and were about to take off from Camp Century. The new ice core that they drilled overlaps with the last ice core drilled at Camp Century in 1977 and allows us to extend the climate record to 2010. The core was shipped to Copenhagen where 5 cm samples where cut in the cold room and then measured for δ18O.

At NEEM a snow pit was sampled to bring the record from this site up to 2010.

Traverse leaving NEEM towards B26, 50 km from camp. The two skidoo's and five sledges are loaded with equipment for radar measurements and the Danish 3 inch shallow drill.Photo: NEEM ice core drilling project, http://www.neem.ku.dk


Niels Bohr Institute, 2011 : Dorthe Dahl-Jensen

The Danish 3 inch shallow drill just returned to the surface with a firn core. Photo:NEEM ice core drilling project, http://www.neem.ku.dk

During the NEEM 2011 field season, two shallow cores were drilled under the Ice2sea program. A 30 m core was drilled 50 km SSE of NEEM at the B26 site (77.25N; 49.21W) to bring the record from the 1995 North Greenland Traverse core drilled at this site up to the present. The second core was drilled to 40 m at the I2S site 50 km NNW of NEEM. The site was chosen because very few ice cores have been drilled north of the ice divide. No previous core exists from this location.

A drilling crew consisting of three persons went out from NEEM by skidoo and used the Danish shallow drill to retrieve a 3 inch ice core at both locations. At both sites a pit was also sampled for stable isotopes and density. The cores were logged and cut into 55 cm pieces on site and transported back to NEEM in foam boxes. At NEEM the cores were processed in the science trench. Density and DEP measurements were performed, and 2.5 cm samples were cut for δ18O measurements to be performed in Copenhagen.

University of Utrecht, 2010: Paul Smeets

Where: Russell glacier, Greenland

When: summer 2010 (July)

Ice drill. Photo: ice2sea

What: To obtain detailed information on the relation between subglacial water pressure, glacier motion and surface melt we performed an experiment at Russell glacier close to Kangerlussuaq in West Greenland.

Hot water drill

Hot water drill. Photo: ice2sea


With a hot water drill (from AWI) we reached the bottom of the ice sheet and installed pressure and temperature measurements inside the ice.

Additionally, we installed an automatic weather station and five GPS systems at the ice surface.

The experiment is embedded in the ongoing monitoring activities of the IMAU (mass balance, GPS and AWS measurements) performed during the last 19 years along the so-called K-transect.



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