Here’s Mike at a nice small, clean lead. We tried to avoid big leads (waves, etc), thick ice (higher freeboard and possibly rough edges to deal with) and highly fractured areas (safety issues). The first thing we did was deploy the CTD-O instrument. It comes in the wooden box (behind Mike) which is easily carried by one person. CTD-O stands for Conductivity, Temperature, Depth, and Oxygen. Conductivity is the ease with which electricity flows through seawater (easier for saltier water) and is thus a measure of salinity. The electronic oxygen sensor is a new technology that we think will revolutionize oceanography; until recently it was only measurable by grabbing an actual sample of ocean water in a bottle, bringing it to the surface, and performing sophisticated laboratory experiments on it. Data are recorded internally by the sensors and downloaded later that day to a laptop computer back at Alert. The CTD-O is made by Sea-bird Electronics, Inc. of Bellevue, WA, a company that was founded by former employees of the Applied Physics Laboratory.
In this picture, the CTD-O is already in the water, lowered down by a small winch powered by a car battery. This set-up was developed by Jamie Morison at the Polar Science Center, and is still used by him to take some observations as part of the North Pole Environmental Observatory.