Monday – March 21st
To start the day, a plan to remove our infected colleague from the center to somewhere comfortable was devised with help from the local health authority. In the meantime we decided to dig, an emerging theme for the week, away the snow drift covering our colleague’s room to give them some light during their confinement.
Once we moved to the task at hand my group were discussing the logistics, and challenges, of ice coring operations in sub-zero and snowy conditions with Bo Vinther and Kerim Nisancioglu. One challenge Kerim faced us with was that Bo had managed to get ‘lost’ in a ‘snowstorm’. Clearly actually getting lost isn’t something someone as experienced in the field as Bo is likely to do, and there wasn’t a snow storm in sight. So, we got creative. We were handed a bucket to put over our heads to simulate a whiteout, and a piece of rope, and told that we had to find Bo somewhere within a 15m radius of the research station.
It’s a harder task than it sounds, and maybe a good exercise for anyone reading this blog to think how they would organise and execute this search and rescue mission, we didn’t manage, I hope Romilly’s team did…
Ailsa, Piers and Geunwoo shifting snow
Bo watching our helpless attempts at saving him
Tuesday – March 22st
Day two at the research station for group 2 involved learning how to set up a weather station. Led by Hans Christian we discussed the components of a simple weather station. In our case we had a station consisting of a thermometer, anemometer and a hygrometer, alongside a supporting structure.
We selected an appropriate spot and, despite the cold and a few mistakes, put the station together and started it off logging data using a script coded for our specific instruments. For those of us who enjoy coding, this was a good sign of things to come!
An almost fully set up weather station!
Wednesday – March 23rd
Day three involved a lot of code, it was modelling day. Climate models simulate drivers of climate, in our case focusing on the atmosphere. Courtesy of one of our fellow PhD students, Quinggang, we had been set up with a great starting point to model various climate systems that have influence over the Antarctic continent.
Evenings in Finse involved various adventures nearby the station. As Rom mentioned an ice bar was dug, also snow-people were made and the surrounding area was explored, with some on foot and others skiing.
The snowy landscape around Finse
Thursday – March 24th
Thursday was water isotopes day. Thanks to Rom’s teams heroics on day 1 we had a working Piccaro. Stable isotopes have been at the center of ice coring since its inception. The core idea is that the specific isotopic composition of atmospheric water varies based on the temperatures it has experienced during its evaporation and precipitation (and at other stages). This means if you can measure the isotopic composition of water, which you can with e.g. a Piccaro, you can understand the (average) temperature of the location of the water’s source, which we did.
Revisiting the theme of digging, there was an immense amount of snow-shifting and snow-based-creation that went on. Fuelled by the excellent food on offer at the station, here are some pictures illustrating the range of snow pits, snow tunnels, snow drifts, igloos, and snow-people that were dug/made.
Ines and Claudio preparing an ice pit.
Piers not contributing to the construction of an igloo.
Friday – March 25th
Our final day of training activities was concerned with snow pack observations.
Following from Rom’s group on Wednesday, Friday saw my group look at the snowpack. The basic principle of ice coring is that snow builds up in layers, with sequential layers burying those that fell at earlier times. This gives a record looking back in time, providing the ice isn’t badly disrupted below the surface. Using this principle, and skipping the hard work by using the pit that had been dug in the days prior, we recorded information about the properties of the snow and took snow samples from a cross section of the snowpack.
Florian admiring the layers through the snow pit wall.