I'm pretty beat after a very long afternoon out on the fjord, so I'm going to keep the entry brief and make it up by sharing some of the videos I've been taking over the past week here in Ny Ålesund.
Struggling into the survival suits
The morning started out slow as we waited for Ross to get the wheels on the winch mechanisms repaired. After lunch we suited up and headed out into the fjord to get the HOBO water level sensors deployed.
Ross and Rebecca set up the HOBO water level sensor
Then we anchored the boats so we could hike up on the Kongsbreen glacier to see the North Pole! No, just kidding - we went to observe a monitoring site set up to see how much the glacier has been melting – called an ablation stake. It was pretty shocking to see how much the height of the glacier has dropped in only one year.
Up on top of Kongsbreen glacier.
At the North Pole! Just kidding - I'm standing in front of an 'ablation stake' atop Kongsbreen glacier. The black stripe at the top represents where the ice was a year ago. This really hits home the amount that glaciers are melting - and Ross tells me that this glacier is melting relatively slowly.
The REU group at the ablation stake atop Kongsbreen glacier.
Daksha peers into a surface stream that is carving a deep channel into the glacier's surface.
Sediment that has been pushed up onto the surface of the glacier.
Rachel, Daren and Rebecca atop Kongsbreen glacier.
We had an almost near disaster - I had anchored the boat a bit too close to shore. When we came back we found the boat a few feet on the beach - probably it got pushed up because of a large wave caused by an iceberg calving while we were hiking. Fortunately all of us together managed to drag the boat back into the water!
The highlights for me was seeing the calving of icebergs off the glacier front. I have one ok video of one large calving event – it certainly doesn't do justice to the incredible power that is released when a huge chunk of ice falls off the glacier. All afternoon we heard loud booms – like gunshots or thunder. The boom signifies some cracking of the ice, and this is often followed by a chunk of ice falling in the water.
A beautiful iceberg. Note how blue the ice is. Does anyone have any guesses as to why glacier ice is blue? And why does it turn white after exposure to the air?
Another view of the iceberg. Note the ridges on it. Anyone remember what they are called and what causes them?
I had my first experience today driving a boat through the fields of icebergs. I was a bit nervous about that, but I managed to avoid hitting most of the icebergs.
Tomorrow we'll probably get out to begin data collection, so I'm going to sign off and try to get a good night's sleep!
Here are some videos, as promised:
First is a video of one of today's calving events. Not a great video, but it's something. See if you can spot the wave front moving away from the splash. Note that the front of the ice is probably about 1/2 mile away.
Driving through the ice. (The shimmering is due to a dirty lens, not some bizarre Arctic thing.)
Video of thousands of Kittiwakes swarming a sediment plume at the head of the fjord:
A reindeer being pestered by Arctic Terns here in Ny Ålesund: