Today all work outside has been halted due to the high winds and low visibility (the atmospheric pressure sensor on our buoys registered 960 hPa), so this gives an ideal opportunity to update everyone with our progress.
We, the DEFIANT team (Robbie, Povl and Jeremy) have slotted in with our fellow shipmates (from 11 different countries) into the rhythm of the cruise. Really great bunch of people on board, and we could not ask for a better group. It is mainly a biological cruise, so we are learning a lot about the beasties that swim in the polar oceans; but of course there are strong links between the physics of DEFIANT and ecosystem dynamics.
Just yesterday we transitioned from open-ocean oceanography into the sea-ice zone for the first time; mainly young ice (pancake and frazil). In fact, we were meant to have our first ice station today, but this storm put an end to this. We were scheduled to use the mummy chair (a metal basket used to get people on the ice) to perform measurements over this new ice type. We were going to (i) put the radar in the mummy chair and Robbie was going to perform measurements at different heights above the young ice and (ii) Povl and Jeremy were to perform light attenuation measurements over and under the ice young ice from the mummy chair.
Looking out the window it is hard to imagine we were to do these experiments as the new ice has been smashed up and we are looking at an angry sea. Once the storm passed, ice will reform and we will attempt another ice station.
Other news is that Povl has been busy with the Chi Pods for the turbulence measurements from the CTD and O-18 sampling is well on the way. Robbie has his Radar operations nailed down and calibrated. We built up the three WIMBO (Waves and weather, ice mass balance and ocean) buoys on the upper deck of Polarstern, and have been working our way through the various snags that have been identified. The good news is that all sensors are working and sampling and they are sending data as we expected. Great job by the Bruncin team to get these ready in such a tight timeline! Over the next few days we will turn them off and get them ready for deployment (probably still around 10 days off). The Ice Tethered Profiler (ITP) surface unit has been tested, and we have run through the deployment procedure for the ITP (it is complex). We have also done a similar procedure with the MSS turbulence setup and the KuKa radar work. So we are all rearing to get on the ice.
Over the next few days we will concentrate on performing radar and light measurements over the new ice. So an exciting few days in front of us…