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  • In the pack ice about N87 22’, W 07 12’, 21 August

    This morning the clouds cleared up for a while, after having had thick clouds and fog on top of us up to several kilometers for several days, and the sun came out. As a consequence the temperature dropped to around – 6 degrees Celsius; the clouds have a warming effect and the warming effect of the sun cannot compensate the increased loss of thermal radiation; the clouds have a "greenhouse effect" up here. After a short while, a 300 meter deep fog started form and the visibility has yet again played us tricks; after a Polar Bear visit yesterday security rules have been tightened and now whenever visibility goes down below a few 100 meters so that the mast site on the ice can be seen from the bridge, everyone is called in from the ice. The fog is about 300 meters deep but optically very thin; one can see blue sky aloft, but often only a few hundred meters horizontally. One consequence of the low temperatures and the fog, which consists of super-cooled liquid-water droplets, is that we have ice riming on just about everything that is exposed to the atmosphere. A several centimeter thick layer of ice builds up in the windward side of instruments, cables antennas, everything - including the propeller anemometers even though its spinning all the time.

    Iced-up prop-wane anemometerIced-up prop-wane anemometer

  • In the pack ice about 87.5N 9.5W 19 August

    Everything has now (more or less) fallen into the expedition routine; all groups conduct measurements on a round-the-clock schedule. Almost all instrument systems are up and running; the last 18 hours we have had a problem with very low wind speeds, which increases the risk that the labs on the 4th deck sample air which is contaminated by exhausts from the ship or from snowmobiles on the ice. Another practical problem is the fog that we've had most of the time for a few days; low visibility impedes the possibMelt pondMelt pondility of the lookouts on the bridge to see approaching Polar bears in time, and sometimes stops the work on the ice. Yesterday we turned the ship around in expectation of a wind shift and this morning it had happened, but the wind is still weak. Everyone is starting to feel the exhaustion of working around the clock, but since we have such limited time here we need to make the most of it. 

  • In the pack ice about 87.5N 8.3W 17 August

    The weather has improved; yesterday morning we did see the sun for a short while, although 
    today’s been mostly foggy. The wind is also down quite a bit, which makes a lot of things a 
    lot easier, and according to the forecast it is supposed to stay this was a few days. According 
    to the people in the aerosol lab on the 4th deck, the air is extremely clean; very few particles 
    counted (yesterday in the fog occasionally below detection). Yesterday we had the first more 
    serious party, partly to celebrate that much is now up and running on the ice camp; we now 
    have the tethered sounding system up and running, and we are working on the sodar, while 
    the marine biology group got their first “microfilm” (the very top less-than-millimeter layer) 
    water sample from the open lead. The other reason for the party was to celebrate a few having 
    birthdays around these days.Clean Arctic airClean Arctic air
  • In the pack ice about 87.5N 6.0W15 August

    Its been a busy couple of days, with a huge workload for most of us, exacerbated by bad weather. 
    It started already the day we arrived, with a storm coming in with all sorts of weather (rain, ice needles, 
    snow and rain again) and strong winds. Since then we’ve had heave snow fall and right now the fog is 
    playing us a trick (with fog comes poor visibility and with that comes problems in keeping a proper 
    Polar Bear watch). Meanwhile, the wind is still stiff in spite of forecasts to the contrary. Bottom line is: 
    we’re way behind schedule. Had another low-pass by the NASA DC-8 today, and tomorrow we’ll have a party!!The ice-campThe ice-camp
  • In the pack ice about 87.14N 2.16W 13 August

    Last night we had the first visit by our sister project AMISA, which is
    an airborne project to specially study the ice by remote sensing
    instruments and to map out weather systems that are believed to have an
    impact in the onset of the freeze-up phase going into the Arctic autumn.
    The AMISA project is funded by NASA and is based in Kiruna, Sweden,
    flying out on the NASA DC-8 research aircraft. Last night around
    midnight they made the first research mission including several fly-bys,
    the last at quite low altitude.

    First overflightFirst overflight

  • In the pack ice about 87.14N 2.16W12 August

    We have now found our ice floe! After a nights steaming north and east
    we have found better ice, and on a corner of an ice floe c:a 2 by 3 km
    we have started to establish the ice camp. But nothing is ever easy it
    seems; in the midst of setting up instrument sites an intensive weather
    system blew in, with heavy snow fall turning into rain in the evening,
    making everything that much harder. Still everyone is working stoically
    to get everything up and in a few days we expect to have everything up
    and running.
    Strong ice!Strong ice!

  • In the pack ice about 86.27N 7.50W 11 August

    Today has been a day of setbacks. After having arrived at almost N87 we
    started scouting for a good ice floe for the ice camp. After having
    found one that looked promising we spend the afternoon trying to carve
    out a harbor, but the ice was just not solid enough; piece after piece
    just fell off and after six or seven hours we had to give up. The
    weather has been ideal for setting up a camp; light winds and fog of and
    on. Late evening the fog lifted enough for a helicopter recon of the
    ice, and it turned out is was as bad everywhere in this region so little
    else to do than steam on east and north to look for better ice.

    Oden from aboveOden from above

  • In the pack ice at about 82.2N 4.5E 7 August

    Now – since finishing the first two research stations – we are heading into the pack ice. 
    The first day went really well, with very light ice and good speed. Now it is starting to 
    become tougher. The ice fraction is very high and sometimes hard to get through. The 
    weather has also been less than cooperative, with strong winds and several frontal passges. 
    Possibly, the high winds have contributed to the compact ice. It will take us another three 
    to four days to get approximately where we want to be. We have lots of preparations, and 
    besides many of the observations are running continuously, so we still have plenty to 
    occupy ourselves with.
    View from Oden 7 AugustView from Oden 7 August
  • Greenland Sea 3 August

    Yesterday we departed Svalbard and sailed out into the open Greenland Sea. 
    The sunny weather from yesterday is gone today, replaced by low clouds and 
    fog. Almost no wind at all and the ocean surface looks like glass. We had company 
    by a couple of whales and plenty of birds. We've been running into electrical power 
    problems all day, which given the amounts of equipment we have on board was 
    not entirely unexpected. Things have started to settle now and most, but not all, 
    systems work. We began releasing balloon soundings today and will continue 
    every six hours throughout the expedition.Preparing first balloon soundingPreparing first balloon sounding
  • Longyearbyen 2 August

    We're still anchored in the fjord off Longyeabyen and have spent the last few days 
    preparing instrument systems and labs for the experiment. In just a few hours we'll 
    depart out into the open ocean and will reach the ice edge maybe sometime the 
    day after tomorrow. The clouds in the picture are a good illustration of the type of 
    clouds we're interested in. The billows leaning over from bottom-right to top-left are 
    caused by the air moving in different directions across the top of the clouds.
    Clouds off the coast of LongyearbyenClouds off the coast of Longyearbyen