Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Halley 2017-2018

Still in Cambridge. Flight from Cambridge to the Falkland Islands on the 4th December 2017 delayed and then cancelled due to bad weather. The next flight is 4 days later. Keeping my fingers crossed. Finally a flight to the Falklands via Cape Verde.

A 7 hour flight to Cape Verde with a 2 hour stop over. Temperature in the high 20s. It definitely beats the cage in the Ascension island.

The Air tanker

Setting sail from Mare harbour after an 11 hour flight from cape verde. No time in the Falklands this time but looks like the sun is shining at the moment.

First sign of sea ice on the way to Signy and the temperatures drop.

Signy research station in the background.

A young elephant seal enjoying the warmth of the midday sun.

The Ernest Shackleton docked in the middle of the bay

South Georgia and KEP (King Edward Point) station

The old whaling station of KEP

Drake passage crossing much easier than other times. Only small swells and few big waves.

The start of the sea ice. Hardly any around at the moment and not really causing any slowdown of the Ernest Shackleton as it moves through.

Some science on the sea ice. Snow samples for isotope analysis back in Cambridge and some radar work for comparison with the satellite.

The Brunt ice shelf and a small colony of penguins. No chicks though.

The ES moored up against the sea ice of creek 8. We arrived at Halley 2 days quicker than expected even after dropping people off at KEP which added an extra two days sail. This was due to the factthat there was no sea ice to slow the ship down. The swell that we encountered appears to have brocken up a lot of the sea ice around the creeks.

A small Emperor penguin colony at creek 8. A small window of time to get off the ship and stretch the legs.

Start of a 3 day relief (24 hour shifts)

Friday, 10 February 2017

Punta arenas

                                                 Punta Arenas, Chile

                                         la luna restaurant. First meat in two months.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Heading home Rothera bound

 Getting ready to fly out of Halley with 4 others at the end of January. The twin otter sits on the Halley runway. The temperatures starting to drop as the sun gets lower.

 Flight over the macDonald rumpoles where the Halloween crack was observed in October 2016.

 First stop on the flight to Rothera is the Ronnie ice shelf where the  i- BEAM team awaits a drop off from the ES shackleton which is having a tough time of maneuvering through the dense pack ice.

                                        Now at Rothera and Snowboarding at Vals .

 Doing the loop with nordic skis around the Rothera flag line. Three hours of great ski-ing and near perfect weather.

                                          Rothera from the traverse towards Vals.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Halley move

                                                Summer camp at 6

                     Modules on the move, 23 km to go, now down to 4

                                                The science camp to sleep in

                                                 Big Red about to move

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Travel Home

Leaving the winterer's to defend for themselves as the Ernest Shackleton moves out from its mooring against the ice shelf out into the sea.

 Whales spotted off the ship. They always seem to appear in the sea ice area where the food is most likely.

                                             Polynea forming, a mesmerizing sight

 The ship is taking some pounding as it crosses drakes passage. The troughs and crests were huge and the ships motion but me in the cabin for a few days. The food which was normally excellent didn't appear so appealing at times.

 The two berth cabin that i shared with Chris Martin (facilities). I am not sure which of us held the record for the longest time in the bunk but i am sure it was close.

                               Meeting the JCR out at sea before the the swells came.

Safely arrived at the Dock side after a rough and turbulent sea crossing, never again until the next time that is.

                                   A one arm selfie on the way back after the fishing trip.

                                                             Catching a few mullet

Good old Falkland islands and tumbleweed and winds and rain. In the early morning it was raining and now in the afternoon this.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Halley 2015-2016

Feb 13th the first sunset at Halley although there is always a healthy debate about if it is fully below the horizon or a reflection.

  MAXDOAS snow experiment looking for Halides in the snowpack. A beautiful sunny day with a balmy -5oC in February.

 A month later the instrument is up and running. It also measures CO2 which can be compared to the PICARRO instrument that we have in the laboratory. Cross calibrations using the UEA cylinders help to provide better confidence in the instruments and the data that is provided. The UEA instrument employs a drying procedure to reduce the water content of the air stream to less than 1 ppm using a cryogenic cooler that needs to be cleaned every month.

 Thomas Barnigham (Barney) and Alex Etchells fitting the UEA O2/N2 instrument in the CASLab office. The system consists of an Oxzilla II (Sable Systems) lead fuel cell O2 analyser in series with an Ultramat 6E (Siemens) non-dispersive infrared CO2 analyser. Sophisticated calibration routines are used ,whereby six calibration standards are run at different intervals to (i) determine the response of the analysers, (ii) correct for their drift, and (iii) quantify the overall performance of the system. All standards are stored horizontally in a thermally insulated enclosure to reduce thermal and gravitational fractionation effects. Bespoke C# software acquires all data, runs the calibration routines, calculates concentrations in real-time, and ‘flags’ suspect data to alert the user to potential problems, based on about 30 diagnostic parameters. The software program and system design allow the system to run without the need for human intervention for at least six weeks at a time. 

About to send a MET balloon into the upper stratosphere for collection of data to be used in forecasting and science models to better understand the atmosphere.

 Penguins (Adele's) on the base again. Only a couple this time which stayed for a few days and then disappeared. Where did they go?

Amy the new atmospheric scientist being trained on the filling of air samples at the CASLab by Celine who will be leaving this year to work in Paris.

 Drones on the base. Mainly used for practical things such as surveying although the use for personal is possible it is restricted to certain areas and permition is needed.

Walk around the EMQA area (Electro Magnetic Quiet Area). Entering the caboose with Alex and josh.

Alex, one of the electronic engineers showing us the VLF data which can detect communications from submarines as well as studying the interactions between the atmosphere and particles from the solar winds. It is mainly used to map in real time lightening strikes around the world which produce whistling tones.

 The fluxgate magnetometer measures the strength and direction of the earth’s magnetic field and provides data to let us study the solar wind and the ‘space weather’ high up in the atmosphere and space . On a long timescale, this is driven by what goes on under your feet; it depends on where you are compared to the spinning iron core of the globe and the local geology. However, we are interested in short timescales, from seconds to hours. Here the magnetic field is driven by what happens above us in space.
Several kinds of natural waves in the ultra-low-frequency (ULF) range are generated in Earth’s space environment (the magnetosphere, bounded by Earth’s magnetic field as it extends into space). Most of these can penetrate the atmosphere and be detected on the ground by search coil magnetometers which can tell us lots about activity and energy flow in Earth’s space environment. The search coil magnetometer is buried about 100m from the caboose.

Vicki, the pilot for the MAC campaign enjoying a go on the space modulation unit back on base. It took a while to get used to the controls but slow and steady seems to be the preferred route and you are docking onto the international space station. Its all part of ESA (European Space Agency) science project that is running at Halley throughout the year to study the effects of confined spaces, sleep patterns etc in a remote environment, which will help astronauts in space be better prepared.

 The chicks have grown in 2 months to roughly the size of the adults. More chicks are present than adults.

 Happy winterer's (Celine, Natalie, Alexander and Hue) on the sea ice, happily watching the Emperor penguins go about there business.

The only up and down to see the penguins requires abseiling off the ice shelf and jumaring back up.When your hands are cold and you are tired it requires some effort.