Research roundup!

Well, a lot has happened since we last spoke, both at home and here, so I haven’t had the chance to post much. Conditions stayed warm and wet for quite awhile before becoming very cloudy the last 2 days. Helos didn’t fly yesterday, and we are on weather hold still today, giving me time to write a post!

Before the weather turned we got to install 3 conductivity probes on supraglacial streams on Canada Glacier. The conductivity between liquid water and frozen ice is different so theoretically we should be able to see when the water flow starts and stops. Additionally, we have environmental clearance to use table salt as a chemical tracer to add to the streams. We can use it to measure the amount of streamflow flowing in these streams (which I can compare my model against), and also to explore the connectivity of subsurface passages between cryoconite holes. We plan to do that work after Christmas, but the probes are installed and ready to go. We found an extremely beautiful little basin with a pretty little pond we have dubbed the “Blue Lagoon.” Photos of the installation are here:

2007_12_17:Canada Glacier – conductivity install

and here:

2007_12_18: Canada Conductivity Install 2

Following this, we flew up to Taylor Glacier, which was a lot of fun to revisit, since I spent my first season there and I have been running my model for Taylor this last year. What was neat about our visit there was how much water was even at that location. I’d had the impression that you don’t find much water on Taylor except down in the lower channels. We saw a lot of soft, wet ice and running streams way up by the met. station. The photos aren’t as interesting as some of the other albums, but they are scientifically intriguing!

2007_12_19: Taylor Glacier water and ice

The last thing I have been up to is playing with my big fancy FieldSpec 3 that I received the opportunity to use through the Alexander Goetz Instrument Support Program that the manufacturer, ASDI, conducts. It’s basically an $80,000 instrument that measures the energy distribution of light across all the different colors and into the infrared. I’ve annotated some samples of my measurements explaining how I am trying to use it here:

Glacier radiation measurements with FieldSpec 3

I don’t have any photos of the instrument in action yet, because I am always the one operating it, but I’ll be sure to get some at some point. It looks a lot like the Ghostbusters’ getup, and we alternatively refer to it as the ‘proton pack’ or the ‘raygun.’

I’ve accomplished a lot so far, but so much still left to do. The Christmas festivities will be starting soon, but once they are complete I’ll be spending a lot of time at the Blue Lagoon with the salt tracer experiments and measuring streamflow on top of the glacier. I’ve got some thermistors to calibrate, so I’d better get on.

One Response to “Research roundup!”

  1. Mom & Dad says:

    From the pictures, it looks much warmer there this year.
    Any creatures in the blue lagoon?

    What brand of hose clamp is that in the Canada Glacier Install photo?

    Merry Christmas!

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