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.

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