- Station and Buoy Map
- NPEO 2005 Planning
- Deployment Reports from 2004

Field Reports from the NPEO 2005 Deployment      

for the North Pole Environmental Observatory deployment & Freshwater Switchyard survey

The 2005 NPEO deployment is scheduled to take place in mid-April followed by the Switchyard surveys at the end of April and beginning of May. During this time we will update this site with reports from folks in the field. Visit the 2005 Deployment Planning web site for more details of the plan for this year's work.

NPEO 2005 and Switchyard Final Report, May 9, 2005

This is the final email report for the 2005 North Pole Environmental Observatory, Freshwater Switchyard of the Arctic Ocean, and the Ocean Pressure in the Arctic projects.  The last fieldwork participants left Alert on Friday and arrived back home over the weekend.  Congratulations to an awesome group of people that accomplished what they set out to do.

We are grateful to the National Science Foundation for their support of these projects (NSF Grants OPP-0352754, OPP-0230427 , OPP-0230238, OPP-0352641, OPP-0084858, and OPP-0326109).

Please continue to check the project web sites from time to time.  We have pictures to post AND data will be added as it becomes available.

- photos of heading south by Paul Aguilar and Roger Andersen

Comments from Jamie Morison, Principal Investigator, North Pole Environmental Observatory and Ocean Pressure in the Arctic

The NPEO 2005 deployment has been successfully completed. Every Arctic field experiment is different. This was certainly true this year.  We had new logistics challenges, new projects, new personnel, new equipment, and all combinations of these with tried and true projects and veteran NPEO personnel. The end result was success in spite of the many challenges.  Andy Heiberg's diplomacy got us past the logistics snags. In spite of the various concerns of air transport in the central Arctic, the crews of First Air and Ken Borek Air got us there, around, and back again with virtually all objectives met. The project participants stayed focused on their work, conquered all challenges and quickly completed all their recoveries, deployments, and sampling without serious complaint and with remarkably good humor. This is the type of performance we have come to expect from the NPEO veterans; they know what to expect. But I particularly want to commend the folks that were new to this type of rapid operation. Danielle Langevin, Bill Shaw, John Christensen, Chad Waluk, and Scott Stalin; you did great and it was a pleasure to have you on the team.  A few highlights include the successful recovery of the NPEO mooring in spite of serious tangling with under-ice features, the deployment by JAMSTEC of a new profiling CTD ice-tethered buoy, the deployment of the first biological sampling instrumentation on the mooring by Christensen, the successful deployment of two Arctic Bottom Pressure Recorders and demonstration of acoustic data telemetry by PSC and PMEL personnel, and the completion of 7 airborne hydrographic stations, which along with Switchyard CTD stations comprise a section across the Arctic Ocean from 90°E, 86°N down 90°W to near the Canadian coast. I have to apologize to our visitors from the National Science Board, Drs. Daniel Simberloff and Michael Rossmann. They were able to fly out to Borneo, but when their flight reached Borneo, we found the runway had more snow and less length than would be allowable on successive flights.  Because of uncertainties about getting the runway cleared and extended in a timely manner, they had to return without seeing much of our operation; they saw only the difficulties and none of the successes.  Nonetheless, I am pleased that we could meet with them in Resolute and talk about our scientific research, and that they got to see Borneo, even if briefly.  Finally, I'd like to thank all the folks who did so much and to support, prepare for, and execute this deployment, but who didn't go in the field with us. When I think of the camaraderie and warm feelings that are the hallmark of a good trip, I think of you right along with those who spent time on the ice.

Comments from Mike Steele, Principal Investigator, Freshwater Switchyard of the Arctic Ocean


The Switchyard '05 project was a great success, thanks to the tireless efforts of field and support crewmembers in the North and back at home.  We faced some difficult flying weather this year, but this didn't stop us from grabbing some great data!  Our new arctic rosette, THICR, was deployed at several stations by Twin Otter.  These stations, together with NPEO '05 stations, represent the first-ever section across the Transpolar Drift Stream.  Also, our helicopter survey across the Ellesmere Island continental slope was augmented this year by ADCP current measurements, which we hope will allow a more complete picture of the boundary current in this area.  These kind of annual observations in key locations are really at the core of what a climate observing system must look like.  At least, that's our contention!

NPEO 2005, Report 12, May 4, 2004

Email from Roger Andersen, May 4, 2005, Alert  

We woke up to a windstorm this morning that reached 45 knot sustained winds and Base Storm Condition 1 by 10AM.  Flying is out of the question.  At the moment, we can't go outside and are talking over shipping questions.


Email from Roger Andersen, May 3, 2005, Alert

Today Wendy and I left Alert for the middle of the Switchyard survey line at 0920 in the helicopter.  It was soon apparent there was fog out there, some from leads so recently open they were spouting sea smoke.  During our beautiful day out there Monday, there was lots of open water around, and that seemed to be barely freezing over, if at all.  The fog bank was just visible from Alert, extending from ESE to WNW across the northern horizon, and we reached it 20 nautical miles out.  Climbing to 3000 feet, we could see no end to its northern extent, and it reached down to the ice, an effective barrier to our VFR Bell 206.  The other issue was a 25-knot headwind.  Alternates were weather problems too, so we elected to return to Alert after 40 minutes, just ahead of a Herc.  Standing by was the order of the day, and frustratingly, the weather from the ground at Alert looked pretty good.

The Lamont Twin Otter got off after us to try to get the 85N station, and found fog with gaps beginning where we had found it north as far as they could see.  They retreated south and succeeded in landing about 84deg 25min N 65W (I think), nearly in our neighborhood, and did a successful station (8/8 bottles tripped).  They report an air temp on the ice of only -5C (It was -10C and clear for us yesterday).  They could not see a lot of the ice surface from the Twin, but many gaps in the fog revealed open leads.

We will get up in the morning and try again to get out to the line, fill in T6 and T4, and perhaps extend the ends. 

- photos of Switchyard surveys by Roger Andersen

NPEO 2005, Report 11, April 29, 2005

Jim Johnson, Paul Aguilar, Kevin Parkhurst, and Eric Boget are back home in Seattle.

Telephone call from Andy Heiberg, 11:00 a.m. PDT, Alert

The North Pole Environmental Observatory fieldwork ended on April 28th.  Andy Heiberg, Takashi Kikuchi, Danielle Langevin, John Christensen, Chad Waluk, William Shaw, Dean Stewart and Sigrid Salo all left Borneo on April 28th on the Hawker for Alert and then on to Resolute.  (Andy stayed on in Alert to assist with the Switchyard Project.) 

Jamie Morison and Kelly Falkner also left Borneo on the 28th via the Twin Otter.  They were able to stop at 87 deg. N. and do a CTD station for the Switchyard program.  The Twin Otter arrived in Alert before the Hawker so Jamie was able to take the Hawker on to Resolute.  Kelly stayed in Alert and will use the Switchyard chemical lab to analyze North Pole samples before she heads for home next Friday (May 6) on the National Guard C-130.

It went well at the North Pole in spite of runway problems and fuel shortages.  Scientifically, we accomplished just about everything.  I think everyone is happy with what we’ve accomplished.

The Antanov delivered six drums of fuel, enough for Jamie and Kelly to do five CTD stations in two days: at 86 deg. N and 87 deg. N; then at 88 deg. N, the North Pole and 89 deg. N.  We weren’t able to do one planned for 85 N.

John Christensen accomplished his goals.  He was also able to visit the mooring camp & took samples there.  Also did one of Jamie’s CTD stations.

The JAMSTEC team did a great job installing their JCAD and a new YoYo buoy that does continuous sampling. 

Bill Shaw’s work went well.

Sigrid Salo’s equipment, including five web cameras were successfully installed.

Now here in Alert it’s a beautiful day. Don’t need a parka. Calm, sunny, -20 C.  Very nice day in the neighborhood. 

Roger & Wendy are out sampling via the helicopter, hoping to do three stations.  The Lamont folks are preparing to go out, possibly tomorrow.

- photos of hydrochemical survey by Takashi Kikuchi and Jamie Morison

NPEO 2005 Report 10, April 27, 2005

There has been no news from the North Pole today.  But we do know that Sigrid Salo’s buoys have been deployed and are reporting to the NOAA Argos satellite.  Later this afternoon you’ll be able to see their positions on the International Arctic Buoy Program ‘s Daily Buoy Map:

The mass balance buoy is number 9114; the weather station buoy is 22207.

Please check out the new web site for the Switchyard of the Arctic Ocean, developed by lead scientist Michael Steele, APL/UW.   See “Overview” to learn about this project; see “People” for information about the folks involved; and check out “Field Notes” for pictures from our 2003 and 2004 field work.  Coming soon: 2005 pictures.

Email from Switchyard team member Roger Andersen, April 27, 2005, Resolute

Clear and cold in Resolute this morning.  We were prepared to load and go at 8AM from Resolute to Alert but it didn't happen.  Borneo was apparently not ready for us.  Now the word is 4 AM tomorrow morning.  Yes, that is what they said. But we have the Hawker pretty well loaded for Alert now.  I held out the CTD and XCP box to load with our personal stuff at the last minute.

NPEO 2005 Report 9, April 26, 2005

Telephone call from Jamie Morison, 9 a.m. PDT, Borneo

I’m standing outside where the phone works better.  It’s really cold.

The JAMSTEC folks have installed their JCAD buoy and their profiling pop buoy is working.  They will leave it in.

Bill Shaw got his buoy in yesterday and has started it up.  He has a concern about one GPS channel.

Sigrid Salo is working away.

John Christensen has done about 10 profiles and all is going well.

I mentioned yesterday that we had problems with our main CTD, the conductivity cell is cracked and oxygen sensor doesn’t work, so we did a station at Borneo with our backup CTD (without oxygen sensor) including the hydrochemistry survey.

We still have uncertainty about fuel so the Twin Otter pilot is not doing any extra flying until we get a new supply.  The Russian Antanov plane is here and they are unloading some fuel, hopefully enough to do CTD casts and hydrochemistry surveys away from Borneo. 

The weather down 90 degrees E doesn’t look good.  Might clear up near the Pole so if it looks clear we’ll try and see how far we get, maybe tomorrow if we’re able to fly.

- photos of drifting buoy deployment by Andy Heiberg and Takashi Kikuchi

Email from Roger Andersen, April 26, 2005, Resolute

Weather in Resolute is low overcast this morning, vis underneath it is OK and no snow (at least yet).  Jim has the instruments downloaded from the old mooring, except for one Sea-Bird with an unknown problem.  That one will have to go to Sea-Bird, although he seems to think chances of recovering that data file are good.

Everybody here is doing OK.

Email from Dale Chayes, April 25, 2005, Resolute

Bob Williams (SIO/ODF) and I (LDEO/Instrument Lab) arrived in Resolute this evening to complete the Switchyard team.

NPEO 2005 Report 8, April 25, 2005

Telephone call from Jamie Morison, 9:45 a.m. PDT, April 25, 2005, Borneo

Jamie, Scott Stalin, Kevin Parkhurst and Jim Johnson did a high speed job and worked through the night out at mooring camp to deploy the first acoustic bottom pressure recorder on Saturday.   On Sunday the second ABPR was deployed at Borneo.  Fortunately a diving group (tourist group, not our mooring divers) had already made an ice hole at Borneo and Jamie’s team was able to use it for deploying the second ABPR.  Both instruments are reporting.

The JAMSTEC folks are running their tests and deploying their buoys.  Sigrid Salo and Bill Shaw are setting up on a flow couple hundred meters behind camp so they are just starting to drag their equipment over there.  John Christensen has done one cast so far.  It took quite a while but he feels pretty positive.  Jamie did one CTD cast but the conductivity cell is cracked and the oxygen sensor is not functioning.  The instrument was exposed to the cold for too long a period prior to the cast.  They have a back up CTD but it doesn’t have an oxygen sensor.

The tractor keeps breaking down so it isn’t available for moving equipment to deployment/experiment sites.  

Kevin Parkhurst, Scott Stalin and Jim Johnson flew back to Resolute on Sunday.

The Twin Otter fuel supply is low.  There is plenty for the plane to go home, but not enough for the CTD casts planned away from the Borneo camp.

Telephone call from Eric Boget, 6:30 p.m. PDT, April 24, 2005, Resolute

Eric and Paul Aguilar are in Resolute and will fly home on Wednesday.  The mooring work went well, though they had to leave behind the tail-end of the old mooring with the two pressure gauges and one current meter that got stuck under the ice. They left a float and marker tied to it on the long-shot hope that it might drift out and get picked up.

The best news was learning the runway had been cleared of snow and the Hawker was back in operation.    

Email from Wendy Ermold, April 24, 2005, Resolute

The Hawker pilot took Sigrid Salo, John Christenson, Bill Shaw, and Chad Waluk out to Borneo today. Otherwise, all is well here. The food is excellent, the sleep is sweet, and the coffee pot is always full.

Email from Roger Andersen, April 23, 2005, Resolute

Wendy Ermold and Roger Andersen, APL/UW members of the Switchyard of the Arctic Ocean project, arrived in Resolute on Saturday, along with Bill Smethie and Richard Perry of Lamont.  The Twin Otter and the Hawker both flew to Borneo from Resolute today, taking most of the folks with them.  Weather is good in Resolute.  Polar Shelf is very welcoming, and provides this internet connection (Yay!!).

Amendment to NPEO Report 7 (22-23 April, 2005)

The two National Science Board observers, Daniel Simberloff and Michael Rossmann, were able to fly out to Borneo on Hawker flight two.  The runway had more snow and less length than desirable for Hawker operations, and because of uncertainties about getting the runway cleared and extended, the NSB observers returned to Resolute on the same flight.

- photos of new mooring deployment by Paul Aguilar

NPEO 2005, Report 7, April 22, 2005

Telephone call from Jamie Morison, 9 a.m. PDT, Resolute

The weather is OK in Resolute,  -15 to -20 C
At Borneo it’s about - 20 C, indefinite ceiling with 2-3 mile visibility & snow.
Borneo position:  89 deg 7.6 min N, 146 deg 44.3 min E

We’re still here in Resolute.  This includes:

Jamie Morison, APL/UW
Dean Stewart, APL/UW
Sigrid Salo, PMEL/NOAA
Kelly Falkner, OSU
Scott Stalin, PMELNOAA
Takashi Kikuchi, JAMSTEC
Danielle Langevin, METOCEAN Data Systems
William Shaw, Naval Postgraduate School
John Christensen, Bigelow Laboratory
Chad Waluk, OSU
Daniel Simberloff, NSB
Michael Rossmann, NSB

The weather is bad out at Borneo.  We’ve loaded the Hawker and the Twin Otter with the bottom pressure recorder, buoys, web cam, the CTDs (conductivity, temperature, depth), and other equipment.  We’re hoping the weather clears so we can fly out tomorrow, 4/23.  The runway is OK for the Twin Otter, but there’s still too much snow on the runway for the Hawker.  With the wind blowing snow it’s hard to clear the runway.

The new mooring is in.  The mooring team has done a great job recovering the 2004 mooring and in installing the new mooring.  Now the mooring folks have to wait for the weather to clear for their ride home.

The two National Science Board observers, Daniel Simberloff and Michael Rossmann, were able to fly out to Borneo on Hawker flight two, and returned to Resolute on the same flight due to the unpredictable weather conditions.  They leave Resolute for home tomorrow.

- photos of mooring recovery diving by Paul Aguilar

NPEO 2005, Report 6, April 21, 2005

Telephone conversation with Jim Johnson, 7:45 a.m., PDT (6:45 pm. Borneo time), Mooring Camp

I gave Jim a call this morning, and I was happy to hear him say, “We’re just frying up bacon and drinking coffee.  Everyone is fine.  The guys say hi.”  Andy brought all of the new mooring equipment out to the mooring camp via helicopter yesterday.  As soon as they finish eating they’ll start the new mooring deployment.

In their continued efforts to retrieve the last seven instruments stuck under the ice, they melted a new hole, and the divers were able to retrieve 4 instruments.  The lower two releases and one current meter are still stuck under the ice.  It will take a major moving of camp to go after them but if there is time after the new mooring is deployed, they will try for the current meter.

Telephone call from Andy Heiberg, 1 p.m. PDT, Borneo

It is midnight at Borneo (89° 08.7N  146° 04.6'E).  Weather is good.  The wind blowing snow and the ice motion have calmed down. The tractor is working as he spoke, clearing snow that has accumulated on the runway. The mooring is going in, and Andy expected it would be in by about 7 hours from now.  Andy will take a helicopter to the mooring camp first thing in the morning to deliver fuel, backhaul as much from the old mooring as possible, and talk with Jim. 

A second Hawker flight went out to Borneo yesterday, but Andy didn’t say who was on that flight.  A third flight out to Borneo from Resolute is planned for tomorrow, and should include Jamie Morison and Kelly Falkner, Oregon State University (both members of the NPEO Hydrochemical Survey).

NPEO 2005, Report 5, April 19, 2005

Phone call from Jamie Morison, 9:15 a.m. PDT, Resolute

Two members of the National Science Board (NSB), the governing board of the National Science Foundation (NSF), Dr. Michael Rossman and Dr. Daniel Simberloff arrived in Resolute yesterday.  I briefed them on the North Pole Environmental Observatory last night.  They are scheduled to fly out to Borneo on the next Hawker flight to observe NPEO in action. 

The Hawker flight out to Borneo that had been scheduled for today has been delayed 24 hours so improvements can be made to the runway at Borneo.  It needs to be lengthened and snow cleared.  

Phone call from Jim Johnson, 8:30 a.m. PDT, Mooring Camp

The bottom 7 instruments are still hung up: 3 current meters, one microcat & 3 releases. A helicopter brought weights out from Borneo and they were added to the mooring line in an unsuccessful attempt to pull the instruments free.

We plan to melt a new diver hole closer to where the instruments are hung up to see if the divers can work them free, but for the past day it has been windy with a lot of blowing snow everywhere.  We haven’t been able to work on the hole melting.  We’ll make every attempt to recover the old mooring.  Soon we’ll have to start on the deployment of the new mooring.

- photos of locating and releasing old mooring by Paul Aguilar

Email from Jim Johnson, April 15, 2005, Resolute

It's Friday night and we have the Hawker aircraft fully loaded and ready for a 6 a.m. departure on Saturday. The last Borneo report was conditions are good (-25 degrees C.) and a decent runway. There will be five of us (Andy, Eric, Paul, Kevin and I) on the first flight. Once we arrive at Borneo, we hope to transfer all 7000 lbs. of gear to the Russian helicopter and begin the search for the subsurface mooring.

Wish us luck!


Email from Jamie Morison, April 16, 2005, Resolute

I have finally hooked up here at Polar Continental Shelf. Thanks for the first report. The only addition I would add is that Paul Aguilar, Eric Boget, and I also left Wednesday morning for Resolute. We all spent Wednesday night in Ottawa and then on Thursday flew to Iqaluit. There we joined the First Air crew and flew to Resolute on the HS 748. Jim had arrived Wednesday evening with half the cargo from Yellowknife. Kevin Parkhurst had been In Resolute for a couple of days. Dean Stewart arrived with the second half of the cargo at 1930 local time (CDT) on Thursday. John Christensen also came to Resolute on Thursday. 

On Friday April 15 the Applied Physics Lab (UW) personnel sorted cargo and separated out mooring recovery equipment for Hawker flight 1. Everything seems to have made it to Resolute in good shape. The only problem was keeping the weight down on the first flight. This Hawker is a little heavier than the ones we have had previously which cut into our payload. Jim had decided in advance of these calculations that his back had been feeling good enough that he didn't need me at the mooring camp early on and suggested I stay in Resolute to prepare the acoustic bottom pressure recorder (ABPR). This meant that by cutting weights to the minimum Andy could go to coordinate things at Borneo during the mooring recovery. 

Today (April 16), the Hawker flight 1 went as scheduled with Heiberg, Johnson, Boget, Aguilar and Parkhurst. According to pilot John Miller, the flight was normal. The Borneo strip is about 1000 m long. It has too much snow on it still and this will have to be improved before the Hawker takes any cargo out of Borneo.  When I got through to Andy this evening, the mooring camp helicopter had returned, and Andy had to get off the phone to see if our guys had successfully popped the mooring loose from the anchor that had held it to the ocean floor.

Dean and I sorted and moved boxes for subsequent flights, and worked on equipment. The ABPRs are in a nice lab in Polar Shelf. Takashi Kikuchi (JAMSTEC) and Danielle Langevin (Met Ocean) of the JAMSTEC team arrived in Resolute. Chad Waluk arrived to complete Christensen's team. They are putting mooring and survey equipment together at Polar Shelf. Generally things are going well. We are hoping the weather and good luck hold.


Email from Jamie Morison, April 17, 2005, Resolute

I haven't reached Andy but he did call back last night and talked to Mike Christensen at Polar Shelf. He reported the mooring is up and the mooring team is setting up camp. So things are on schedule so far. The JAMSTEC and Christensen groups and I are working on equipment preparations today. Dean and I are setting up for subsequent Hawker loads. 


- photos of Ice Station Borneo by Paul Aguilar and Andy Heiberg

Telephone message from Andy Heiberg, April 17, 2005, Borneo, 5:21 a.m. PDT (4:30 p.m. Borneo time)

Everything worked slick yesterday when we flew out to Borneo.  The helicopter headed out to the mooring camp three hours after we landed at Borneo.  I talked to Jim and the mooring has been released.  They are resting now and will start the recovery soon. (Editorial comment:  Now how cool is that to be woken up on a Sunday morning with a call from the North Pole!)

Telephone call from Andy Heiberg, April 17, 2005, Borneo, 6:30 p.m. PDT (5:30 a.m. Monday, Borneo time)

Talked to Jim and everything is OK – they are starting to melt the hole.

It was very impressive when we arrived at Borneo yesterday.  The Russians were well prepared for us.  All the fuel we requested was here.  They helped off loaded the plane and 2 1/2 hrs later the helicopter took off with the mooring team and their equipment; and 5 hours later the helicopter returned to Borneo.  

The mooring hole was drilled, and they could see the mooring and its top float.

The weather is absolutely calm, blue skies, about 0 F.  It was blowing when we arrived but this morning, it’s 5:30 in morning now, I’m walking outside and it is beautiful.

One flight is expected from Norway today so the Russians are working on the runway – pilot said it was ok but with high temperatures you stop fast.  If you take off with a load, the soft snow can be a problem.

Jamie stayed behind in Resolute, got into some payload problems and airplane couldn’t handle as much of a load & they had forgotten boxes, 500 lbs, took off some of the equipment and dropped 1 person, struggle to keep load down,

There is no snowmobile in camp, just a tractor, so Sigrid Salo (NOAA/PMEL) and Tim Stanton (Naval Postgraduate School) may have some trouble getting out on the ice away from Borneo when they deploy their automated drifting stations.  They may have to haul it all themselves.  Jamie is looking at other options for a site closer to Borneo.

(See http://psc.apl.washington.edu/northpole/Plans2005.html for details about their work)

Telephone call from Andy Heiberg, Monday, April 18, 2005, 7 a.m. PDT (6 p.m. Borneo time)

The mooring is almost out of the water.  Six instruments are still in water and are hung up on an ice ridge.  They’ve pulled hard but it doesn’t release.  The hang up is too far away from diving hole so divers can’t go down.  The next plan is to hang a lot of weights on line and see if a bigger catenary (a curve made by a flexible, uniform chain freely suspended between two fixed points) on the mooring line will pull the instruments clear of the ridge.  The problem is they don’t have enough weights to put on the line because there wasn’t room on the Hawker to include extra weights.  There is a spare bulldozer at Borneo that isn’t working and I hope to cannibalize it for scrap iron.  When the next helicopter arrives I’ll & go out to the mooring camp and deliver the scrap iron.  If the extra weight doesn’t do the trick, we may have to melt a new hole.  The ice is 9 feet thick (melting would take about 3 hours).

Weather continues to be great.  Light winds, clear sky, -17 C.

- photos of Ice Station Borneo by Andy Heiberg

April 15, 2005
Telephone call from , Resolute, Canada, 11:45 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time

The Borneo ice camp has been established by the Russian company, POLUS, and is at 89 deg. 14 min. N and 152 deg. 51 min. E.  On Saturday, April 16, the first Hawker flight will take Andy Heiberg, Jim Johnson, Kevin Parkhurst,  Paul Aguilar, and Jamie Morison, along with their equipment out to Borneo.  Andy will remain in Borneo and the others will travel on to the nearby mooring camp.

Everyone is busy packing and will load in the morning for their flight.  The weather is good.

Information about the mooring recovery and installation is available at

Take a look at photos from previous mooring deployments and recoveries.

April 14, 2005
Telephone call from Andy Heiberg and Jamie Morison, Hall Beach, Canada

Andy Heiberg and Jamie Morison called during a brief refueling stop in Hall Beach, Canada.  They will be in Resolute, Canada, in a couple of hours.  The 737 aircraft made it to Yellowknife yesterday, and Jim Johnson and half of his equipment are now in Resolute.  A second 737 flight will transport the rest of the equipment from Yellowknife to Resolute tonight or tomorrow.

With Andy and Jamie are two other University of Washington employees, Paul Aguilar and Eric Boget.  Both are experienced field engineers, under ice divers, and worked at NPEO 2004.  They are part of the mooring team.

April 13, 2005

The 2005 North Pole Environmental Observatory field operations, to be followed by the 2005 surveys for the Switchyard of the Arctic project are underway.  The first University of Washington participants are now in Resolute, Canada or Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada:

Jim Johnson (senior field engineer, mooring team lead)

Kevin Parkhurst (under ice diver and field support, mooring team) (in Resolute)

Dean Stewart (NPEO field engineer and logistics coordination)

Jim and Dean will spend the next several days organizing equipment and supplies for transport to Resolute, the second most northern community in Canada, and then on to the Borneo ice camp.

Andy Heiberg, Logistics Manager, left Seattle this morning for Resolute.

Dr. Jamie Morison is the lead NPEO principal investigator.  Additional information about the program is available at http://psc.apl.washington.edu/northpole/index.htmlNPEO and Switchyard are both supported by the National Science Foundation under grants OPP 0076298 and OPP 0230427. 

Email Report from Jim Johnson, April 12, 2005, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada

Well the North Pole project never ceases to amaze me on how it can be so filled with unsuspecting surprises. We were scheduled to depart Yellowknife Monday night for Resolute on the C131 Hercules aircraft. On Monday afternoon we went for lunch at the airport’s café and just as we had finished eating, there was an announcement that everyone needed to evacuate the airport while a damaged aircraft was coming in for a landing. We could see that something serious was happening because all the emergency response vehicles were converging on the runway. We were able to stand off at one end of the fenced off airport tarmac, and watch what was coming in. It turns out that the aircraft that was in trouble was the Hercules plane we were supposed to be on later that night. It landed without incident, but has been ground until further notice. So…. Now we need to find another way to get Dean and me plus 20,000 lbs. of our gear to Resolute. At this time it will most likely be a 737cargo plane. So tomorrow should be a whole new adventure!

Web sites of interest:





Brief Description of the NPEO

The purpose of the North Pole Environmental Observatory (NPEO) is to help track and understand ongoing changes in the arctic environment, and consistent with the goal of the NSF Program for Long-Term Observations in the Arctic, to increase the availability of long-term environmental data in the Arctic by providing a data and infrastructure resource for other polar science and climate investigations. NPEO was first established in 2000 and includes an automated drifting station of buoys fixed to the sea ice, an ocean mooring, and airborne hydrographic surveys.

The North Pole is an excellent location for long-term measurements, and the merit of NPEO is demonstrated by the findings it has achieved so far. Near the flank of the Lomonosov Ridge, it has proven to be a sensitive site for changes in upper ocean frontal structure and changes in the Atlantic water flowing along the ridge. A history of expeditions to the North Pole provides a benchmark of ocean and sea ice observations. The drifting station deployment at the North Pole fills a geographic gap in drifting buoy coverage of the International Arctic Buoy Program's (IABP). Time series observations of ice thickness there provide a unique measure of sea ice in the Transpolar Drift. The airborne hydrographic surveys reach critical areas that are difficult to reach by other means. So far the hydrographic surveys suggest that ocean conditions have relaxed partially from the extreme changes in the 1990s toward climatology but are still in a changed state. The drift station data indicate that the interannual variations in surface conditions are significant and that ocean conditions in the western Eurasian Basin are still in a changed state. The mooring has shown ocean conditions at the Pole to be surprisingly energetic and variable with vertically extensive and long-lasting eddy structures, and they have shown a gradual cooling and freshening trend in the Atlantic water layer. The ice draft measurements document for the first time a coherent annual cycle of mean ice draft in the central Arctic that may be compared directly with estimates derived from submarine sonar profiles.

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