A trip to a local lake is a common summertime activity for many. But there’s nothing typical about where Yarrow Axford, an associate professor of earth and planetary sciences at Northwestern University, has been boating for the better part of a decade.
As researchers from the Permafrost Laboratory at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, Dr. Alexander Kholodov and Dr. Santosh Panda work in some of the most difficult to access rural communities in the Alaskan interior.
With a team of polar experts who specialize in planning and implementing field logistics, Polar Field Services (PFS) plays a critical role in preparing researchers funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a successful field season.
Grass probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about the foundations of Icelandic culture and society. But the humble blade of grass has played an incredibly important role in Iceland since the early days of settlement.
When John Darwent returned to a remote corner of northwestern Greenland in 2012 to search for the remains of a paleo-Inuit culture that had occupied the area millennia ago, he found the site dramatically changed.
The Traverse arrived at Summit 08 May and departed 15 May. The crew endured a few rough days prior to reaching Summit. Snow conditions caused a loss of traction, requiring the tractors to crawl along at 3 mph.
Communities along the far northern coastlines of Alaska are witnessing some of the highest erosion rates in the world. Less and less sea ice cover results in the direct exposure of coastal soils to the destructive blunt force of powerful wave energy.
The crew has surpassed the horrible sastrugi zone, which continued to cause our ARCS (Air ride cargo sled) pouches to detach from the decks. The battens pulled away from the decks so the crews had to improvise a different strapping method.
Each spring for as long as we can remember, we've installed a field camp for Jim Sedinger near Tutakoke, in southwestern Alaska. Sedinger's field team works there all season to continue a long-term, NSF-funded study of Black Brant geese.
The Greenland Inland Traverse (GrIT) team has left the crevasse zone and is headed to Camp Century [about 150 miles from Thule Air Base]. The GrIT team has been fighting weather and poor snow conditions the whole way.
When Mark Urban and his team of biologists arrived in the foothills of Alaska’s Brooks Range last May, for example, they were disconcerted to see tundra green and not the lingering snowfields of winter.
All is well with the Greenland Inland Traverse (GrIT) team as they make their way through the crevasse zone [the first ~70 miles of the journey to Summit, where the fractured edge of the ice sheet leads to the unbroken ice cap].
The GrIT team headed out into the wild white yonder today. Over the next 7-8 weeks, our team will pull a giant load of outsized cargo to Summit Station, assist at Summit with science support, and then turn around and return to Thule Air Base.
Benign weather last week led to perfect conditions for launching instrumented balloons at the NSF-funded research station in the middle of Greenland's ice sheet. We heard from science technicians at Summit, Marci Beitch (PFS) and Jason Johns (NOAA), who were suitably impressed by the flight.
It seems rugged and even romantic to the armchair adventurer: A man – or woman these days – charging across the remote Alaskan winter wilderness with a team of loyal dogs tirelessly pulling a sled.
The SCAT team has continued to make good progress. They started on their overnight trips into the Crevasse Zone March 7th, setting up their first camp at the B3 area, and moving just a few days later to B5a.
Welcome to the Greenland Inland Traverse (GrIT) Situation Report. This report is designed to provide progress updates throughout the field season. In cooperation with the Government of Greenland, the NSF funds and manages much of the U.S. research effort on the world’s largest island.
Polar scientists and technology developers gather at Polar Field Services in Denver later this month for the 12th Annual Polar Technology Conference (PTC). During the two-day event, attendees exchange information on research system operational needs and technology solutions.
During the middle ages, Iceland’s recently settled landscape saw many changes. Kathryn Catlin, a doctoral candidate at Northwestern University’s Anthropology Department, is digging in Iceland’s soil for clues to the impacts of these changes.
Check out this fun video highlighting the field glaciology portion of a multi-institutional, interdisciplinary project focused on ice-ocean interaction in west Greenland.