Sunday, November 3, 2013

More about the trip

First, a sunrise picture from home:
 Second, someone was asking for more on the science of flying over the Arctic. We flew to Pt Lay, then turned north, dropping radiosondes as we went (turn off your Bluetooth!) The second one got stuck, so someone had to take apart the launch tube.
 Back together! The next six went without a hitch. We flew to 73 N, then turned around. The chief scientist said that if anything, we should have gone farther north. He was looking for how the atmospheric boundary layer changes as the air comes from the south and hits the sea ice. With 50 miles of pancake ice in the marginal ice zone (MIZ), the air was still seeing the water underneath. So we didn't get far enough into the solid ice. They'll get another chance this coming week.
 Once we turned south, that's when we alternately flew above the boundary layer (roughly 5000 ft) and just above the surface (200 ft), with slow transitions between for measuring the turbulence through the boundary layer. Once we got back south of the ice, they let out a few AXBT's for measuring ocean temperature profiles:
The plane has a lot of sensors and each science station has a Linux computer with access to the incoming data. The chief scientist set me up with a display with a few of his favorite inputs, including altitude, wind speed, and a radar sensor which was designed to measure surface wind speeds based on the wave state. The latter turns out to be a good way to see the ice edge even through clouds.

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