Saturday, January 17, 2009

it's a beautiful day at the PIG

We arrived last night at the ice shelf front of Pine Island Glacier.
The front of PIG moves at ~3 km/year and is approximately half a
kilometer thick. On the edges of the fast moving ice, the glacier is
jumbled into ridges of jagged blocks. Amazing.

The weather was stellar and continues to be beautiful today. The
ocean is glass. The autosub is somewhere running a test mission
until later tonight. We are bobbing around waiting for it and
processing data and writing emails.

After a CTD cast to get a sense of the hydrography, we mapped
previously unsurveyed ocean floor in front of the ice. Along the way
we saw many minke whales, adelie penguins and at least one orca.
Needless to say, I stayed up way past my bedtime and missed my
morning workout in the gym this morning. Well worth it though.

I suppose that I should take this chance to mention we've got a
photographer and videographer on board with us documenting the
science as well as the scenery along the way. They were busy last
night. I feel a little outmatched with my point and shoot camera
which only 2 years ago I was so proud of.

It's been both fun and difficult at times to relay the scientific
mission and techniques to the photography team, even though they're
very quick to pick up on the details. It's also difficult to speak
into the camera/microphone about climate change and what's going to
happen with the ice sheets while trying to titrate dissolved oxygen.
They say I'll get used to it and I hope so.

There have been some good questions about dissolved oxygen -- I'll
try to address some of these in the context of some of the analysis
we're doing at PIG in the next entry. Till then...

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