July 22, 2010 Day Two at Summit
Hi, this is Zack Wistort and Nate Wiegman, two students from Niskayuna, New York, who have had the fortunate opportunity to be heading up to Greenland. Today at Summit we saw and learned a great deal. Our minds are still trying to soak it all in, but we will attempt to write a short summary of all the amazing things that we have done. We started the day by seeing the UAV research being conducted here at camp by scientist Rune Storvold. The UAV's flown here can be equipped with many different kinds of instruments but it seems that the main testing revolves around developing the UAV's systems, and checking the albedo of the snow. From there we went to the backlit snow pit. Two pits are dug side by side with a wall in between which is about 10cm thick. Then, the top of one of the snow pits is covered with plywood so it is dark inside. This whole set-up allows the viewer in the covered pit to see all of the layers of snow in the wall the two pits share. It was incredible to see all of the layers of the snow and all the different grain sizes that contributed to the formation of the snow pack. After viewing the snow pit we had lunch, which by the way, the food is amazing. Then as a group we went to TAWO, Temporary Atmospheric Watch Observatory. Here we learned about how the scientists at the station measure, record, and track the Black Carbon, CO2, and other particles and gases in the atmosphere. Later in the day we also had the chance to launch a NOAA balloon, which measures the ozone concentration up through the atmosphere. After TAWO we went to MSF, Mobile Science Facility. Here they study clouds to try and assist in making climate pattern models. They use sonar, radar, and lasers to figure many different aspects about the cloud altitude, height and structure. They are looking at the particle sizes, the ice to water ratio in the clouds to better profile the clouds. This study allows for a more in-depth classification of each cloud, rather than just on altitude and size.
On a final note, after dinner we decided to have some fun. All but one of the students and two of the teachers rode the snowmobiles down the length of the ski way, which is a 10km round trip. It was excellent after two long days(and no nights) on the ice sheet. We arrived just in time for a presentation by Rune Storvold about the UAV/albedo project.
Tomorrow we are going to the NEEM station, where the drilling is approximately 65m from the bedrock.