It's All an ACT!

ACT_2010_20100513-2
ACT_2010_20100513-2

Arctic Circle Traverse

In April, a team of researchers led by Rick Forster (U Utah) assembled in Kangerlussuaq to prepare for a snowmachine traverse and drilling campaign called the Arctic Circle Traverse (ACT).  Jason Box (Ohio State U) collaborates on this NSF-funded effort to fill data gaps in snow accumulation in the southeastern portion of the Greenland Ice Sheet, where such information is largely lacking.

A small team was to drill three 50-meter cores, which contain snow accumulation information for the last 50 or 60 years. Another team would traverse by snowmachine along a transect line, pulling a ground-penetrating radar (GPR) that also would collect accumulation data for the last 50-60 years.  Over-flights by a NASA climate project would collect these data as well. When compared to each other, scientists would gain a clearer picture of how to interpret the climate signals in each set of data.

ACT_2010_20100501-13
ACT_2010_20100501-13

The field team was beset from the start by weather, mechanical and even volcanic issues, which served the project a two-week delay right off the bat. Eventually, with plan Z on the table, the traverse team put in near Raven Camp by LC-130. With nearly two weeks of fine weather, the scientists were able to harvest their cores and GPR data before leaving the island.

ACT_2010_20100421
ACT_2010_20100421
ACT_2010_20100501-30
ACT_2010_20100501-30

Visit Jason Box’s Web page on the ACT project: http://bprc.osu.edu/wiki/ACT. Along with more detail on the research, you can read a trip log kept by the team during the spring odyssey. It provides a clear picture of just how patient, spontaneous, and flexible researchers working at the poles need to be.