On the scoreboard

Weather today kept us in the tent all morning. Everyone was pretty snowy and icy last night and we couldn’t get the generator running for any heat in the tent so we all piled into our bags with a lot of wet gear to dry out.

Drifted in machines and loads

Drifted in machines and loads

Body heat inside a well insulated sleeping bag is an amazing thing. A nice steady stream of warm damp air comes out all night, and voila dry clothes in the morning – well almost dry so we stayed in listening to the wind flap on the tent walls, each happy that no one else seemed to be stirring enough to require getting up.

Leveling radiometer

Leveling radiometer

Water management, it turns out, is a lot of what we do camping in the cold. Drying the water out of our clothes is only part of the issue. With the high altitude it’s easy to get dehydrated, but it’s hard to keep water liquid long enough to drink. Water bottle insulators, tea aplenty, and a horse trough heater inside a

Polar bear in a snowstorm

Polar bear in a snowstorm

Gatorade jug are all along as tools to help keep liquid water available and us drinking it. Mike also does a good job of handing me his thermos lid full periodically when I forget to come in from working on the station. Building the station went well, particularly with the tent set up right next to our assembly so that many of the

Sending the blog post

Sending the blog post

Solar panel on (1)

Solar panel on (1)

Station assembly

Station assembly

smaller tasks could be done in out of the wind. Halfway through the day we got the generator started and inside the tent became more than cozy! A 750 Watt space heater will bring the inside of an Arctic oven up about 40-50 degrees above the outside temperature – pure pleasure for small hand tasks with cold pieces of metal.

Outside with the wind pretty well dying down we assembled the rest of the parts, working a few hours into the evening. Though we’ll have to wait for confirmation that the transmissions are working from home tomorrow, we’re pretty sure we’ve got a fully operational weather and solar radiation monitoring station. The stations use a bare-bones satellite transmitter to send text messages of data in to a gmail account – amazing technology.

If all goes according to plan we’ll put out 4 more stations just like these, and the stations will provide real time updates to us for the next couple years. The data will be fed into weather forecast models and used in our research to better understand how sunlight absorption on the Greenland ice sheet is changing.The messages contain information like wind speed (7.8 knots), air temperature (-32C), and humidity (60%) one would expect to find on a weather station. Sensors specifically for our research project will tell us how much solar radiation is falling on the surface, and how much is reflected. Better still, these sensors will break down the light into its different wavelengths (or colors). This information helps us tell what processes are responsible for the changes in ice sheet reflectivity.

Still kinda white out

Still kinda white out

Storm's over, time to build station

Storm’s over, time to build station

We moved it out of the tent drift after assembly

We moved it out of the tent drift after assembly

For example, lower reflectivity in the near-infrared means that grain size is increasing.

We hear from a quick call home that wild leeks are out in the forests of Vermont. Our dinner of annie’s mac n cheese, caribou sausage, peas, and mamma-chris made coffee cake was pretty good, but we still itched for some wild leeks!

3 thoughts on “On the scoreboard

  1. Great work! The progress is impressive!
    Every morning my students ask about whats going on in Greenland! So today, we talked quite a bit about what you all are up to after reading the two latest posts. Some of the kids have lived in Fairbanks, so the cold wasn’t the big concern. The main worry was about the longevity of your weather stations. They have all seen weather stations- specifically wind meters- be blown to smithereens by the awesome winds we get out here. So we were wondering what the max winds you expect to record over the next few years might be, or is this all going to be completely new data?
    May your luck (and sweet skills) continue “as the sun rises on the right.”

  2. Great work getting the first weather station installed. I can report that all sensors are working and it is iriiduim-texting its very own gmail account with data every hour.
    Great job and looking forward to the next station deployment.

  3. I don’t mean to knock your engineering design capabilities Dr. Polashenski, but the wiring in your control panel seems to be a model representation of a rat’s nest! 🙂 As for PA news, I just mowed the grass for the first time this season and we are now the proud 4-year Luzerne County Envirothon champs… fingers crossed for states. Best of luck on the rest of your weather station set-ups. I’m sure that after working on one all day, Annie’s mac tastes alot better that usual!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s