News from the front line reveals that all are well and morale is fantastically high as usual, though hard frosts are now the way of life each night. The guys have been camping out on the ice sheet since the 5th of August and are now on the home straight, breaking camp in just under a week on the 2oth.
The team (Martyn, Jenine, Alex A, Alex H and Andrew) have been continuing the Black and Bloom science, examining how the particulates, microorganisms and ice characteristics inter-play to control the albedo (reflectivity) of the ice, and thus impact the overall melt rate.
Over the last few days the team have continued the ‘regular’ sampling of different types of ice across our much loved 500 x 500 m ‘pixel’ established next to camp. They’ve also taken a quick journey away from camp to investigate an area of ‘dark banding’ highly visible in satellite images of the camp region that Andrew was able to acquire before heading onto the ice. The team hope to discover why these dark contours appear on the landscape and how this changes the melt dynamics.
After a mess tent move yesterday to keep pace with the melting ice surface and a hearty breakfast of scrambled eggs this morning, the team are striding into Monday with a huge science agenda. Particularly grueling will be the 24 hour productivity survey that Alex A and Alex H will begin today. This will involve monitoring the productivity of the ice algae by performing repeated incubations over the whole 24 hour period – especially hard in the cold early hours – but will pose no problem to the hard-working microbiologists!
More news to follow as we continue to get our updates from the team over the week….