The Rosetta team made two big accomplishments this week: Our lidar returned some beautiful 3D images of the sea ice topography, which can be used to study small details of the ice. And our own Chloe Gustafson won first place in the Antarctic Turkey Trot. She now holds the honor of being the first woman to win the race!
Decoding the mysteries of the Ross Ice Shelf Archives - State of the Planet
The theme of the past week has been the weather. Weather is of course always happening, but in the lingo of McMurdo Station, ‘weather’ means ‘bad weather.’
The word “crevasse” sends shivers down the spine of anyone who works on a glacier. Sometimes hundreds of feet deep and hidden beneath a thin layer of snow, these cracks have claimed the lives of many polar explorers and scientists. They also appear quite frequently in our sensors as we fly our survey flights for Rosetta-Ice.
For scientists mapping Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf, data collection flights require a demanding schedule: The day starts at 4am and sometimes continues throughout the night.
Even though our tent is within a short drive of McMurdo (a small town with most of the safety and logistical equipment on the entire continent), we still need to prepare ourselves for sudden, extreme weather. Every time we leave the relative safety of McMurdo, we carry our Extreme Cold Weather equipment and our tent has emergency food and sleeping equipment.
With the Rosetta-Ice team delayed in New Zealand, let’s take a minute to discuss why Antarctica’s weather is so forbidding.
We have embarked! Our third Antarctic field season is underway, putting us only 18 flights away from completing our mission to map the Ross Ice Shelf, the largest ice shelf in Antarctica.
LiDar (Light Detection and Ranging) is a remote sensing technique that uses light to develop an elevation image of the surface of the Earth. It is sensitive enough to image small items such as seals lying on the ice surface.
The latest team celebration is around the magnetometer data. Magnetics has evolved quite a bit over the years of geophysical sampling. Lamont scientist Robin Bell recalls when in the 1990s working on a project in West Antarctica that the magnetometer was towed on a winch ~100 meters behind the aircraft – now it is nearly cheek to cheek with other instruments!
The lines of data are slowly creeping across our Ross Ice Shelf GIS map and with each new line comes an improved understanding of Ross Ice Shelf. What can you learn from a ‘snapshot’ of data? A radar contains a nice story.