All is well at the ice camp, morale is high, folk are even enjoying themselves, and the science has started. The first of our quadcopters has made it’s maiden flight, and will eventually be used to measure albedo over lengths scales of 500 m or so. The main sampling areas have been established and broadband albedo is already being continuously monitored. Spectral albedo surveying is starting today, along with the sampling of the physical and biological properties of the surface ice needed to make sense of the readings. Microbiological studies are also underway, aiming to understand the factors controlling microbial productivity. The field team have already been looking at the cyanobacteria that are living in the surface ice environments via our field microscope.
The team sound very happy over satellite phone, and are eating and sleeping well. The first of the weekly living maintenance will take place tomorrow. The mess tent floor has become uneven as the surface ice melts around and underneath it, and so it will be moved and repitched tomorrow. The sleeping tents will probably have to be repitched over the coming days too. It gives the team a sense of time passing and the surface melting. Usually, the first few days of the field season seem to last for ages, and as you get more and more busy, and more used to the environment, time speeds up again. Most field workers can’t believe how fast the second half of the trip goes compared to the first. This time next week will be over halfway for most of the first team, and I know they will be working even harder to meet their original scientific objectives, and the new ones they will set given the things they find during these first two weeks. This scientific life……..