donderdag 11 februari 2016

Back from amazing field campaign

After three weeks Mark and I arrived together with the IceCon team back at the Princess Elisabeth station after a very successful field campaign. During these three weeks we mainly focused on firn ice core analysis, high frequency ground penetrating radar measurements, snow grain size and albedo measurements to better understand the melt and meltwater transport near the grounding line. We did see a lot of melt and now we are compiling all our data to inform you on the results soon.

Leftovers of the Asuka Japanese station on our way to the ice shelf

Our tents in our basecamp near the grounding line
Our instruments near the basecamp
Mark looking for water
Snow grain size measurements
Our camp on the way to the crater
The convoy travelling back from the crater
A mirage along the way

zaterdag 30 januari 2016

BENEMELT at the crater

I had a phone call with Stef yesterday. Stef and Mark have travelled to the 'crater' feature and have mapped the structure and surroundings. They told me it is a really spectacular sight. They will soon return to the weather station site (500 km by skidoo!), dismantle the station and the other measurement devices, and return to the base. We expect them back at the station sometime late next week, and back in Belgium in two weeks. - Jan

zondag 24 januari 2016

Fieldwork update...

We received news from Mark and Stef that everything is going very smoothly. They are very happy with the progress and the data appear of great quality. They had some bad weather last week but the winds are calm now and the sun is out. We keep you updated if we get more news.

woensdag 13 januari 2016

Ready to leave

All preparations are done to get into the field tomorrow morning. Our material has been tested, and loaded onto the sledges to be transported to our base camp in the field. It's impressive to see all this material loaded and slowly disappearing in the great white open. Tomorrow, we will join this convoy with 8 people on skidoos. It's going to be an amazing experience that hopefully will lead to good science...

Our convoy
My workhorse, we will spend some hours together
Our destination, the great wide open

The convoy leaving
20 hours of driving ahead

zondag 10 januari 2016

Testing the equipment

Today we tested most of our equipment and setup to get into the field on Wednesday. Frank, one of our excellent field guides/mechanics, built a box for carrying our equipment on the SkiDoo, while Mark and I were testing our equipment and doing some test coring. With these cores we want to detect the melt layers in the snow layers on the ice shelf.

Frank helping us by constructing a box in the garag.
This box will allow charging one of our instruments while we are driving in the field. 
Mark and Reinhard preparing the BENEMELT and IceCon equipment
We are here on InBev-Baillet Latour funding after all

zaterdag 9 januari 2016

SkiDoo driving school

Today we were introduced in the secrets and pleasures of SkiDoo driving, which we will be doing for hundreds of kilometers during the next weeks. Although I have been advised that it will be tough to drive for many hours over rough terrain, the first introduction was extremely nice. Let's see what it gives next week, when we will leave to the ice shelf.

Driver seat
Who am I?
Visit to the wind scoop
Refilling at the gas station

Arrived at Princess Elisabeth

Yesterday evening Mark and I arrived safely at Princess Elisabeth together with 5 other scientists after two amazing flights from Cape Town. First we embarked with 51 people and a lot of material in an Ilyushin flight with destination Novo.

Getting on board of the Ilyushin
After two hours waiting and unloading all our material at Novo, we switched to a Basler flight of an hour.

Unloading @Novo

On board the Basler

This offered some amazing views of this wonderful continent.

View from the window
Pure beauty
Arriving at Utsteinen
Our arrival according as seen by Sanne, one of our field guides
A warm welcome...

Now we are waiting on the preparation of the field trip.

donderdag 7 januari 2016

BENEMELT is ready for departure

After some days in Cape Town, we are ready for departure to the Princess Elisabeth station tomorrow morning. At the ALCI briefing this afternoon, we received the news that the weather conditions between Cape Town, Novo and Princess Elisabeth are fine with the current temperatures of -5 degrees C (@Novo). This implies that we will fly with 51 passengers to Novo tomorrow, where we will get our connecting flight to the Belgian station.

According to plan, we will arrive at the station tomorrow evening. Exciting! Both Mark and I are completely ready for this adventure and we look forward to touching down on the Antarctic continent and keeping you updated from there.

The ALCI building, where we checked in our luggage and were briefed about the flights.

ALCI briefing