- Deployment Reports from 2010

Field Reports from 2011 NPEO - Switchyard  

NPEO Report #7

May 11, 2011 Alert - Email from Roger Andersen

The weather for flying has been amazing, compared to previous years. Since we got to Alert on April 27, there has been just one day with no productive flying. Wendy, Nick, and I have 24 stations in the bag. It's only the 11th of May, and our best previous year total was 17 flying through May 20. The Lamont team is breaking records too; they are out today looking for their 12th up at 88N.

NPEO Report #6

May 5, 2011 Alert - Email from Roger Andersen

Since Switchyard began flying from CFS Alert on April 28, there has not been a single day when the weather would allow us to fly anywhere we wanted to go, but there has not been a single day when we could not go somewhere worthwhile. Crucially, the weather at Alert has stayed mostly clear, so we have not had to be looking over our shoulder wondering if we will be able to get home. The result has been productive flying every day, Lamont has six stations with their Through-the-Ice Rossette including the Pole,and the UW team 13 CTD stations plus an 8-drop AXCTD section across NaresStrait. Much of the credit belongs to our Kenn Borek Air Twin OtterCaptains Troy McKerral (Lamont), Henri Park (UW), and Wally Dobchuk (NPEO) for picking out landing sites on the sea ice from the air.

NPEO Report #5

April 25, 2011 Resolute - Email from Roger Andersen

Matt Alkire and Roger Andersen arrived at Barneo from Longyearbyen on the Anatov-74 on April 13, followed by the Twin Otter skiplane C-GXXB a day and a half later. Its crew from Kenn Borek Air was Captain Wally Dobchuk, First Officer Braden Boudens, and Engineer Julian Mayr. On April 16 at Barneo, we set up the CTD and Chemistry equipment in the Twin, and carried out a shakedown CTD station, drilling a ten-inch hole next to the aircraft and conducting an ocean cast, collecting bottle samples and profiling conductivity, temperature, dissolved oxygen, and nitrate concentration as deep as 800m. Getting the kinks out takes time, and it was very helpful to do the first station at Barneo.

In the following four days, we managed two stations per day, first along 90 East as far as 86 North and then along 180 to 85N 170 West. Weather the first day prevented a landing at 85 North 90 East, but after that we had excellent weather until April 21, when building fog and falling snow from an overcast layer created uncertainty that the Twin could find its way back to Barneo. Conequently, we skipped the station at 89N 180, and in the remaining two days, the weather at Barneo never cleared sufficiently to try again. Jamie Morison and Matt Alkire were on each of the CTD survey flights, while Dean Stewart and Roger Andersen alternated in the third position.

The 2011 NPEO CTD survey covered the lines out from the Pole out 90 East and Longitude 180 including most of the positions sampled by earlier NPEO years, as summarized in the following table:

CTD Stations
No. Station Date/Time Lat Lon Depth

1 Barneo 4-16/1801Z 89 28.293N 134 01.954E 800m
2 86N90E 4-17/1317Z 86 03.954N 089 39.967E 800m
3 88N90E 4-17/1708? 87 57.735N 089 42.9 E 500m
4 87N90E 4-18/1233Z 86 59.142N 090 29.739E 800m
5 89N90E 4-18/1658Z 88 56.768N 089 34.707E 800m
6 87N180 4-19/1154Z 87 02.029N 179 52.794E 500m
7 90N 4-19/1802Z 89 57.741N 033 34.757W 500m
8 85N170W 4-20/1454Z 85 06.811N 170 43.215W 700m
9 86N170W 4-20/1815? 86 03.252N 173 56.703W 700m
10 88N180 4-21/1438Z 88 14.11 N 173 51.69 W 500m

In addition, Expendable Current Profilers (XCP) were dropped at positions of opportunity to study mixing processes and internal wave generation, as follows:

XCP Drops
1 10021023 Barneo 4-15/1928Z
2 10021056 CTD2 4-17/1400Z
3 10021019 CTD4 4-18/1412Z
4 10021020 CTD5 4-18/1838Z
5 10121016 CTD8 4-20/1647Z
6 11011003 CTD9 4-20/1815?
7 10121015 CTD10 4-21/1550Z
S1 11011006 Barneo 4-19/0823Z
S2 10121017 Barneo 4-20/2000Z
S3 10021018 Barneo 4-20/2215Z

NPEO Report #4

April 25, 2011 Resolute, Canada - Email from Roger Andersen

On Saturday April 23, Roger flew from Barneo direct to Resolute in XXB on a 5-1/5 hour 1000 mile flight down 180 True, a flight made possible by the Ferry Fuel Tank, and is waiting for April 27 to take the same aircraft north to Alert to participate in the Switchyard project. Andy, Jamie, Matt, and Dean remained at Barneo awaiting an Anatov-74 evacuation flight to Longyearbyen.

NPEO Report #3

April 20, 2011 North Pole - Iridium call from Andy Heiberg

Andy called at 11:30am PDT and reported that things are going well. The weather has been beautiful the entire time with hardly a cloud in the sky and barely any breeze. Temperature has been around -20C ("warm" according to Andy).Today and tomorrow Jamie is flying in the Twin Otter deploying buoys. If it works out, they might finish a day early.

NPEO Report #2

April 11, 2011 North Pole - Iridium call from Jamie Morison and Andy Heiberg

At Barneo (NP), temperature -20C with no wind and blue skies. Jamie took a 10 hour helo trip along 180 degrees West with 7 other researchers and deployed several buoys: 1 CRREL IMB buoy, 1 IABP PAWS buoy, 6 IARC GPS buoys, 1 NPS AOFB, 1 WHOI ITP. All are well and are in great spirits. Roger and Matthew Alkire will fly up from Longyearbyen to join them today. JAMSTEC will leave Barneo today to deploy a POPS buoy and is optimistic for great weather and a two day turnaround time. Hopefully the weather will continue to hold as work is progressing in record time.

NPEO Report #1

April 8, 2011 Longyearbyen - Email from Roger Andersen

The WHOI buoy team arrived yesterday and hit the ground running, preparing their buoys, including an Ice Tethered Profiler and an NPS Autonomous Ocean Flux Buoy. The story we hear is the longest end of the Barneo runway needs to be extended for the An-94 to take in full loads, and we are day to day waiting on that. Jamie, Andy, and Dean will be first out, so Dean spent much of today showing me around Longyearbyen so I might have a chance to handle issues that arise after he goes north and before I do. Our final air freight shipment turned out to still be in Oslo, and if we are "lucky" we might hope to see it Saturday evening.

Brief Description of the North Pole Environmental Observatory

The purpose of the National Science Foundation (NSF) supported North Pole Environmental Observatory (NPEO)
is to help track and understand ongoing changes in the Arctic environment. Consistent with the goal of the NSF Program for Long-Term Observations in the Arctic, NPEO increases the availability of long-term environmental data in the Arctic by providing data and infrastructure 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 from the extreme changes in the 1990s toward climatology but are still variable. The drift station data indicate that the inter annual variations in surface conditions are significant and, among other things, that ocean temperatures in western Arctic rose later than those in the eastern Arctic, 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.

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).

NPEO Home Page