All samples collected on the dash to the snowline have been processed by the field team, and now there is a big drive to collect as many particulate samples as we can. Liane, Steffi and Jenine are to the fore here. Jim reports that the air has stayed pretty clean the past two weeks, so we are eager to see just how much of the debris in the surface ice is biological and how much is dust melted out of the ice and trapped by the micro-topography and the microbes at the ice surface. Andrew has obtained satellite imagery for the past weeks which show a significant darkening of the ice surface, and the camp is in the thick of it. So, with luck, we will have the field data to decide whether it is physical, chemical or biological processes that are darkening the ice. My hunch is that it will be an interplay of effects. We will be very keen to know just how much black carbon there is on the surface too.
The team have been working flat out since Wednesday, and it is only today that they have had a breakfast of fresh scrambled eggs and chorizo. They sounded in great spirit after breakfast.
To report is that Joe and Johan have assembled the biggest quadcopter, have tested it and all is well with the beast aloft. We will obtain wider footprint albedo determinations with this high flying bird. The ground trothing continues apace, and more cores and surface ice disks are being collected today. Chris and Ewa will be collecting microbiological samples simultaneously, so the team’s wish for a weekend off, a gentle stroll and a pub lunch is a good week away yet.