K049 NZ ITASE – Holocene Climate Variability along the Victoria Land Coast
Antarctica New Zealand 2004/05
Seven key locations were identified for the NZ ITASE (International Transantarctic Scientific Expedition) programme. The analyses on the ice core from the first site, Victoria Lower Glacier in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, have almost been completed. During the 2003/04 field season we carried out a detailed reconnaissance of sites 2 and 3: Evans Piedmont Glacier (EPG) and Mt Erebus Saddle (MES) and determined the most suitable locations of the ice core recovery. During the 2004/05 field season we recovered to intermediate length ice cores (180m and 200m, respectively) from these locations and conduct further in-situ measurements, such as borehole temperature and light penetration characteristics, snow density and stratigraphy and its geographical variability. Furthermore, we installed a weather station and mass balance devices at EPG and cased the borehole at MES for future measurements.
The focus of the New Zealand ITASE group is to provide information from the climate sensitive, low altitude, coastal sites. This will capture the climate signature of the troposphere, which represents a regional account on the Ross Sea climate. The ice core data are expected to provide a record of air temperature, snow accumulation, precipitation source, atmospheric circulation strength, storm frequency, sea ice variation, ocean productivity, and anthropogenic influences. The results will help to decide whether the Ross Sea region is currently cooling or warming with a longer-term prospective, taking low frequency climate variability (100 to 1000 year cycles) into account. Furthermore, proposed tele-connections such as the Amundsen Low-ENSO correlation [Meyerson et al., 2002; Bertler et al., 2004] or the Southern Hemisphere Annual Mode [Thompson and Solomon, 2002] can be further constrained.
Latitudinal Gradient Project Objective
The project is expected to contribute substantially to the Latitudinal Gradient Project, as it can provide a history of temperature, humidity, sea ice cover, precipitation source, atmospheric circulation, and ocean productivity along the Victoria Coast for the last 200 to 10,000 years. Furthermore, the timing and velocity of the Ross Ice Shelf retreat some 9 to 5ka years ago is still discussed controversially [Steig et al., 1998; Hall and Denton, 2000; Steig et al., 2000].
The ice core locations 2 and 3 (Evans Piedmont Glacier and Mt. Erebus Saddle) are in the vicinity of planned ANDRILL coring locations (Granite Harbour and Windless Bight). The ice core records will provide a high resolution climate dataset, which serves as a reference for the younger part of marine record recovered through ANDRILL.
Longer-Term Mass Balance Objective
During the 1999/2000 season mass balance measurement devices (submerge velocity method [Hamilton et al., 1998; Hamilton and Whillans, 2000]) have been deployed at Victoria Lower Glacier. The device has since been revisited during season 2000/2001 and 2001/2002. The measurements show that the glacier has a slightly negative mass balance, losing around 12cm thickness per year. A continuation of the measurements will allow monitoring changes in the ablation intensity of the McMurdo Dry Valleys.
The Antarctic – New Zealand Connection Objectivepage 2
New Zealand's future economic and social development, environmental sustainability, and infrastructural planning relies critically upon the accurate assessment of the impact of "global warming" in our sector of the planet. Future climate change is a result of both natural variability and anthropogenic influence. A joint programme between IGNS, University of Maine, Victoria University is investigating ice core records from New Zealand (Tasman Glacier and Mt. Ruapehu ice field). The comparison between our NZ and Antarctic ice core records will provide much needed data for the development of realistic regional climate models to predict NZ climate in the 21th Century [Mullan et al., 2001].
|Name||Designation||Organisation||Departed Chch||Returned Chch|
|Nancy Bertler||PI||Antarctic Research Centre, Victoria Uni||18 Oct 2004||14 Dec 2004|
|Alex Pyne||Drilling Expert||Antarctic Research Centre, Victoria Uni||18 Oct 2004||07 Dec 2004|
|Tony Kingan||Drillling Expert||Webster Drilling and Exploration Limited||18 Oct 2004||19 Dec 2004|
|Sepp Kipfstuhl||Glaciologist||Alfred Wegener Institute, Germany||18 Oct 2004||14 Dec 2004|
|Daniel Bayliss||Student Assistant||School Physics Sciences, Victoria Uni||18 Oct 2004||14 Dec 2004|
|Mike Canvenah||Student Assistant||School of Earth Sciences, Victoria Uni||09 Nov 2004||14 Dec 2004|
The application process was organised in professional and efficient manner. However, it would be of advantage if the NZ review of a science proposal was transferred to an overseas reviewer if there no NZ expert can be found. The assessment of the value of the proposed science from a non-expert is likely to be misleading.
Communications with Antarctica New Zealand staff
In contrast to previous years, pre-season communication with some of Antarctica NZ staff was slow and difficult at times. Despite multiple attempts of key K049 members, namely Nancy Bertler and Alex Pyne, to discuss the 2004/05 season in person in Christchurch, via email and phone, little response was received. The first draft of the movement annex was received a week before the scheduled flight to Antarctica, and the contract was received during the last week of field deployment.
This lack of communication might also partially be responsible for the misunderstanding of how important an early field deployment was for the success of this project. We stressed throughout the preparation that the typical temperature rise during late October / early November might lead to early termination of the drilling at the low elevation site at Evans Piedmont Glacier, as the gradient between air temperature and drill hole increases. For this reason we requested to deploy to Antarctica and into the field as soon as possible, which seemed to be reflected in the first draft of the movement annex. While we appreciate that the delay caused by the damaged ice runway is beyond Antarctica NZ's responsibility, we are disappointed that a decision was made to further delay specifically the departure of Bertler and Pyne to Antarctica, while seats on earlier flights after the runway repair were available and offered to the remaining members of page 3 K049. The explanation given for this decision was, that Bertler and Pyne were perceived too much of a burden for the Scott Base staff at this early stage of the season, while the remaining K049 members would be welcome to start with their AFT. We strongly object to this decision, because: a) especially Pyne but also Bertler are experienced in Antarctic fieldwork and have a track record of well prepared and soundly organised field deployments, b) Bertler and Pyne were both indispensable to start field preparations, c) as discussed, further delay imposed a threat to the success of this project, d) we feel an obligation to assist and advise our new members (two VUW students and a senior scientist from the Alfred Wegener Institute), who travelled for the first time to Scott Base. Furthermore, Pyne and Bertler agreed to the request of Antarctica NZ staff, that they would not require any Scott Base staff support for the first three days after their deployment to Antarctica. Regardless of our agreement, the decision was made to delay us until the 18 Oct 2004.
Despite our best efforts to make up for the lost time, temperature at the final phase of our drilling at Evans Piedmont Glacier reached a critical threshold, putting the drilling operation under threat. Nonetheless, we are happy to report that due to the expertise of especially Pyne, Kingan, and Kipfstuhl, and the exceptional effort of every K049 member, the team successfully recovered a 180m core of excellent core quality.
We would also like to mention that once we arrived at Scott Base, support and communication was very efficient and helpful.
Provision of maps and aerial photographs
The information received was received late and without the option of further discussion.
Medicals, documentation and flights to Antarctica
The information received was timely and valuable
*PREPARATIONS FOR THE FIELD
Reception and planning for your event
The reception was well organised, friendly and efficient. The main issues of the event were promptly discussed and organised. The delayed travel to Antarctica was constructively discussed.
Availability and condition of equipment received
Most of the equipment requested from Scott Base was supplied in time and in good condition. In the following we would like to point out a few details.
Chainsaw : An electric chainsaw was provided from Scott Base to help cutting the drilling and core logging trench on Mt Erebus Saddle where the firn below 1.5 m was extremely dense and difficult to cut with hand saws. Regrettably, the saw available was externally vented and ice cutting dust was sucked into the motor where it melted and caused mote arcing. The saw was not used once this began but confirmed that a suitable un-vented electric chain saw would be very helpful for trench cutting in the future.page 4
Electrical: Field Equipment: We were grateful for the provision of a 25 m electrical extension lead from Scott Base. Unfortunately this heavy-duty lead and the smaller white leads provided are PVC sheaved and become extremely stiff in the cold. Leads made from either natural rubber cabling or new synthetic low temperature cabling would give better and safer field service.Field Fuel storage and use: K049 used both a mixture of 209 and 60 litre drums of Mogas and Kerosene. In general the drums were in good condition and no spills occurred. To improve handing of fuel in the field we suggest that Ant.NZ consider providing:
- Collapsible bunds for bulk drum storage. The US program has several sizes of bund available ranging from single drums to butyl rubber bunds for multiple drums.
- Trigger hand pieces on manual fuel pumps used in the field.
The field training was helpful and appropriate for the new members of our team. The full AFT training for Kingan was unhelpful and a waste of resources and time. The re-fresher AFT for Pyne and Bertler was helpful and appreciated. The frequency of full AFT requirements for experienced people should be reviewed to take account of personal experience and regular Antarctic activity that includes fieldwork. The "current" 3 year frequency is too short.
Field party equipment shakedown journey
To test our drilling equipment before deploying to EPG, we conducted a test drill at Windless Bight (Fig.1). This is a convenient location, as it is close to Scott Base and also a future drill site of ANDRILL. The shakedown went well, none of the equipment suffered from the transport. The 21m firn core will be the basis for a MSc study to quantify dust input into the McMurdo Sound and hereby has the potential to contribute directly to the ANDRILL science effort.
Delays at Scott Base, whatever the cause
All staff at Scott Base were very helpful and supportive, allowing a smooth operation of our project. However, three independent breakdowns of Hugglands delayed somewhat our test drilling and traverse to EPG. Due to unsuitable weather conditions at MES, field deployment was deferred for one day.
Safety and Risk Management processes
The safety and risk assessment was appreciated.page 5
General comments about Scott Base
The staff at Scott Base create a very friendly, supportive environment. We are grateful for the helpful and professional support we received from Scott Base staff.
For our test drilling at Windless Bight we used H3 and one Huggland sledge. The test drilling had to be deferred by two days, as H3 had mechanical issues, while the other two were committed to other work. However, once repaired H3 performed well for the test drilling. For our field deployment to Evans Piedmont Glacier we traversed with two Hugglands and three Huggland sledges to Cape Roberts via Marble Point. Unfortunately, on the first day of the traverse, H1 broke down at the sea-ice transition and had to be town back to SB (Fig.2A). For this reason we were given H26 the next day, and set off for our traverse. Despite its age it performed better than H1 or H3 and had a higher sledge pulling capacity. We felt that the petrol driven Huggland was superior over the two diesel vehicles. Between SB and Marble Point H3 lost antifreeze liquid. No leak could be found. After discussions with the SB mechanic, he was flown to Marble Point, where he joint us for the remaining traverse. The problem was not fixable in the field, but re-supply of antifreeze liquid allowed the traverse to continue.
All aircraft operations were performed professionally. We are especially grateful for the support of the Twin Otters. This was a good test for our proposed deep field deployments and verified, that all our equipment was moveable by Twin Otter. The pilots were professional, supportive, practical and very good to work with. The capacity of Twin Otters in regard to volume and weight was advantageous to move our field camps and ice core boxes swiftly and efficiently. Their ability to land and take off in difficult terrain and weather makes them a very desirable means of transport for operation like ours. We are also particular grateful for the support of HNO, Rob and Brent, and also their US colleagues. Difficult cargo, such as heavy, bulky drilling equipment and fuel barrels was handled in a very professional and safe manner. None of our loads got damaged or lost.
|Date||Location||PAX||Total Weight (lbs)|
|28 Oct||5 × Twin Otter loads, CR to EPG||5||12,000|
|08 Nov||2×212 (US and HNO) helo loads, EPG to SB (ice core retro)||0||3,000|
|15 Nov||2 × Twin Otter loads, EPG to SB (ice core retro and cargo)||0||5,000|
|16 Nov||1 × Twin Otter load, EPG to CR||2||1,200|
|16 Nov||1 × Twin Otter load, EPG to SB||0||4,000|
|16 Nov||1 × US 212, EPG to VLG||3||1,750|
|20 Nov||1 × HNO, VLG to SB||3||1,800|
|24 Nov||3 × Twin Otter loads, SB to MES||6||10,500|
|24 Nov||1 × HNO underslung, SB to MES||0||1,500|
|28 Nov||1 × HNO, resupply, SB to MES||0||50|
|29 Nov||1 × A-Star, evacuate Bayliss||1||250|
|04 Dec||1 × HNO, SB to MES||1||1,000|
|04 Dec||1 × HNO, MES to SB||1||1,800|
|07 Dec||1 × HNO, MES to SB (ice core retro)||0||1,800|
|10 Dec||3 × Twin Otter loads, MES to SB||6||10,000|
|Date||Main Activities and Location||Other Comments|
|18 Oct||Arrival at Scott Base|
|19 Oct||Full AFT training for Kingan, Kipfstuhl, Bayliss, refresher AFT for Bertler and Pyne Equipment shake-down and field preparation|
|20 Oct||Equipment shake-down and field preparation|
|21 Oct||Attempt test drilling at Windless Bight aborted due to mechanical problems of Huggland Loading the three Huggland slegdes||page 7|
|22 Oct||Continuing field preparation and loading of three Huggland sledges
In the afternoon, Huggland is repaired and the drill is set-up at Windless Bight
|23 Oct||Successful test drilling at Windless Bight, recovery of 21m core||See Fig.1|
|24 Oct||Attempt to traverse to Marble Point with two Hugglands and three sledges aborted due to mechanical problems||See Fig.2|
|25 Oct||Bertler, Pyne, Kingan, Kipfstuhl, Bayliss, McBearty, and "Doug" traverse to Marble Point
Scott joins K049 at Marble Piont via helo to repair Huggland and continues to accompany the group to Cape Roberts
Weather conditions are good, H3 looses vast quantities of antifreeze
|26 Oct||Bertler, Pyne, Kingan, Kipfstuhl, Bayliss, McBearty, and "Doug" traverse to Cape Roberts||Weather conditions deteriorate, low visibility less than 100m, blowing snow (Fig.2)|
|27 Oct||Bertler, Pyne, Kingan, Kipfstuhl, Bayliss, McBearty, and "Doug" wait at Cape Roberts|
|28 Oct||Bertler, Pyne, Kingan, Kipfstuhl, Bayliss deploy to Evans Piedmont Glacier with two Twin Otters (total of 5 shuttles from Cape Roberts) Camp set-up|
|29 Oct||Drilling preparation, excavating drill pit||See Fig. 7, 8, and 9|
|30 Oct||Completion of drill pit preparation, start of high resolution snow pit sampling of 4m deep pit at the drill site|
|31 Oct||High resolution snow pit sampling, deployment of meteorological station, preparation of second 4m snow pit for geographical variability|
|01 Nov||Completion of high resolution snow pit sampling, deployment of mass balance devices (coffee-cans). Completion of two further snow pits (3 and 4m deep respectively) for snow density and stratigraphy measurements|
|02 Nov||Set-up of drill and recovery of 10m core|
|03 Nov- 12 Nov||Recovery of 180m deep ice core, continuing mass balance measurements, and weather station wiring and programming||See Fig. 9|
|08 Nov||Pick-up of two 212 helicopter (US & HNO) loads of ice core boxes (total of 22 boxes). Boxes were transferred to Crary Ice Core Freezer at MCM||Visit by Keith Springer|
|13 Nov||Dissembling of drilling system and light penetration measurement in the drill hole.|
|14 Nov||Borehole temperature measurement, preparation of cargo shipment|
|15 Nov||Two Twin Otter pick-up of ice core boxes to Crary Ice Core Freezer and retro cargo to Scott Base Completion of mass balance measurement and weather station programming|
|16 Nov||Pyne and Kingan transfer to K042 moving to Cape Roberts via Twin Otter where they meet up with Cavanagh
Twin Otter transports on load of retro cargo to SB Bertler, Kipfstuhl, and Bayliss more to Victoria Lower Glacier with US 212 helo
Camp set-up at Victoria Lower Glacier
|See Fig.3page 8|
|17 Nov||Bertler, Kipfstuhl, Bayliss - set-up of base station at Staeffler Ridge (2km from camp) in the afternoon after white-out partially cleared. Snow mounts in 20m intervals were used for track marking. Transport via skies and pulk.
Initiation of mass balance measurement
|See Fig. 5|
|18 Nov||Check on base station at Staeffler Ridge, continuation of mass balance measurement, high resolution snow pit sampling at former drill site.|
|19 Nov||Check on base station at Staeffler Ridge, initiation of mass balance measurement at second location at VIC II (3km away from camp), completion of high resolution snow pit sampling. Investigation of second 3m deep snow pit for geographical variability in snow stratigraphy, density, and temperature|
|20 Nov||Completion of investigation of second snow pit. Bertler, Kipfstuhl, Bayliss move to SB with HNO (1 load). Ice core box is transferred to Crary Ice Core Freezer|
|21 Nov-22 Nov||Bertler, Pyne, Kingan, Kipfstuhl, Bayliss, Cavanagh-field preparation at Scott Base for deployment to Mt Erebus Saddle|
|23 Nov||Deployment to Mt Erebus Saddle deferred because of bad weather at destination|
|24 Nov||Bertler, Pyne, Kingan, Kipfstuhl, Bayliss, Cavanagh move to Mt Erebus Saddle with 3 Twin Otter loads and one HNO underslung load Camp set-up and secure cargo||See Fig. 3|
|25 Nov||Drilling preparation, excavating drill pit. Slow progress due very dense snow, high winds (~35knots) and blowing snow.||See Fig.7 and 9|
|26 Nov||Completion of drill pit, start of high resolution snow sampling at the drill site, continue preparation of drill pit|
|27 Nov||Completion of high resolution snow sampling, completion of preparation of drill pit. Commencement of drilling operation|
|28 Nov||Continuation of drilling operation.
HNO drops off electric chains saw to cut ice core box storage in drill pit
Bayliss suffers work painful accident injuring a finger, first aid is applied
|See Fig. 7|
|29 Nov||Continuation of drilling operation.
Bayliss's condition is not improving with increasing swelling and pain. As weather situation deteriorates we request pick-up of Bayliss. Bayliss is moved to SB and MCM hospital via PSA A-Star.
|Planned visit of Minister Geoff and media was deferred due to deteriorating weather conditions at Mt Erebus Saddle.|
|30 Nov-02 Dec||Due to bad weather conditions all activities are aborted, with the exception of necessary camp maintenance, such as snow cover relief and secure cargo.||See Fig.6|
|03 Dec||Continuation of drilling operation with new time schedule, starting at 5am||page 9|
|04 Dec||Pyne moves to SB and Bayliss returns to Mt Erebus Saddle with HNO. Retro of ice core boxes to Crary Ice Core Freezer. Re-supply of polar tents for generator and toilet
Continuation of drilling operation.
|05 Dec||Continuation of drilling operation.|
|06 Dec||Continuation of drilling operation.|
|07 Dec||Continuation of drilling operation
Pick-up of ice core boxes by HNO
Pyne return to NZ
|08 Dec||Completion of drilling operation. Achieved depth 200m|
|09 Dec||Down-hole light and temperature measurement, dissembling drilling system, packing cargo|
|10 Dec||Bertler, Kingan, Kipfstuhl, Bayliss, Cavanagh move to SB, pick-up by Twin Otter (3 loads)||As ice run way has been closed for the season, the Twin Otter lands on the sea ice in front of SB to minimise travel distance of ice core boxes and cargo.|
|11 Dec- 14 Dec||Preparation of cargo shipment and return of SB equipment|
|13 Dec||Kingan transfers to warm store construction crew|
|15 Dec||Bertler, Kipfstuhl, Bayliss, Cavanagh return to NZ|
|19 Dec||Kingan returns to NZ|
Evans Piedmont Glacier (EPG, 25 Oct to 16 Nov)
Deteriorating weather conditions during the traverse from Marble Point EPG made GPS navigating necessary, due to low visibility, high winds, blowing snow and poor surface definition. At EPG weather conditions were good and we did not loose working days due to weather. Temperatures ranged from about −28°C to –12°C. The rising temperatures during early November, increasing sharply the gradient between air and borehole temperature, posed a threat of freezing in the drilling equipment. A weather station was deployed at EPG for the next 2 years. The data will be made available once recovered.
Victoria Lower Glacier (VLG, 16 Nov to 20 Nov)
At VLG low clouds caused frequently white-out conditions especially in the afternoon during on-shore winds. Since we were working 2-3km away from the camp, we used GPS navigation and snow mounts to return to camp. In tandem these methods worked very well. Temperatures were unusually warm and reached 0°C.
Mt Erebus Saddle (MES, 24 Nov to 10 Dec)
Weather at MES was characterised by constant strong winds averaging 20knots, exceeding 50knots multiple times. The blowing snow caused havoc especially for generators and tents. The resupply of a polar tent for the generators and a toilet tent proofed essential to work in those conditions. While before we lost 3days due to weather, we were able to work on all subsequent days. Snow walls were not sufficient, especially due to slight changes in wind direction. Large snow drifts moved within few hours. Temperatures ranged from about −25°C to −8°C. The dense snow at MES did not allow excavating an adequate ice core storage. The unusual warm temperatures at the final phase of the drilling operation page 11 posed a challenge for the drilling and core storage. We are particular grateful for the fast pick-up of ice core boxes.
*ACCIDENTS, INCIDENTS OR HAZARDS
During the 2004/05 field season we moved more than 80 t of snow by manual labour for the drilling pits alone. While good working procedure avoided strains on backs etc., an insufficiently repaired shovel provided by SB caused an injury to the right-hand middle finger of Bayliss (Fig.7). The handle of the shovel had been fixed to the shovel rod with aluminium wire nails. When the wire nails broke while pushing forcefully down into rather dense snow, Bayliss' hand became trapped between the handle and the shovel rod. First aid was provided immediately and the blood blister underneath the fingernail was relieved by burning two holes into the nail. Despite Bayliss' intake of codeine painkillers the pain remained for the next 12 hours and the swelling increased. After discussions with the SB nurse, Bayliss was evacuated on 29 Nov and brought to MCM hospital. He received treatment and was able to come back into the field on 04 Dec. However, he was not able to use his right hand until we returned to NZ on 14 Dec. We are grateful for the quick and professional response by Scott Base staff to this situation.page 12
Snow stairs: In previous years we cut stairs into the snow without further fortification, which proofed a hazard when carrying heavy equipment, such as full ice core boxes. For this reason we experimented this year with aluminium angles (Fig.8). These are anchored by about 15-20cm and protect the edge of the step. They are relatively light weight and performed extremely well.
Drilling Tent: This year we used for the first time a new tent designed by Pyne (Fig.9) to protect not only the core processing pit, but also the drilling crew. This was essential for windy conditions as we expected and experienced especially at Mt Erebus Saddle. The tent performed extremely well, even in 50+knots of wind and blowing snow. The tent only stands 1.5m above the ground, with a 3-4m deep pit underneath. The tent rods are aluminium-titanium alloy. Snow walls were not sufficient to protect the page 13 tent from blowing snow at Mt Erebus Saddle, instead a 2m high × 10m long wall out of heavy cargo was established to reduce the amount of wind stress and snow accumulation.
Quality, suitability and performance of field clothing
The new Canadian goose down blue/black jackets were used by K049 members. The jackets are warm but blowing snow is easily trapped in the zip and Velcro pockets and the artificial fur ruff causing parts of the jackets to freeze solid in the limited warm/drying conditions of the field camp. The outer jacket material is also rough and does not shed snow well. Natural fur would have been a better option for the hood and the pocket closures should be improved for future purchases.
We used both Carhart insulated jackets and bib overalls and the ECW salopetts. The Carhart bibs are significantly warmer than the ECW's but the zips and closures pack blown snow freezing the garmets and making them difficult to dry. A long leg zip option for the bibs was easier to get into with boots on but trapped more snow and was colder in strong winds. The Carhart cotton Duck and ECW outer materials do not shed snow well, get wet and are difficult to dry in the field. The Carhart and Canadian Goose Jackets come only in medium sizes and larger.page 14
Furthermore, there are no women Carhart bibs. It would good, if a few smaller sizes and possibly women Carharts could be purchased
Overall, the Carhart garmets and the ECW's are not very satisfactory active field clothing in locations subject to blowing snow, strong winds and cold conditions. Field camps have limited warm and drying conditions for clothing.
- Antarctica NZ should investigate active field clothing that is warmer than the standard ECW's, sheds snow and is semi waterproof for some filed parties working in cold glacial locations.
Muckluks were commonly used by K049 members often with "Sorel felt' liners. These were the warmest boots available but at times were cold and also froze with blowing snow and limited drying conditions. A "drillers boot" was also trailed with a protected toe and is bulky for the foot size. This boot was colder than the mukluks, regularly required toe warmers in temperatures above −20°C and became very stiff when cold and was difficult to put on even though the boot is a "large fit". This boot would be better in a larger field camp with better drying and warming conditions.
Performance and design of tents, technical climbing equipment, kitchen gear and sledges
The 12 ft by 8ft Polarhaven
framed tent was used at both the Evans Piedmont Glacier and the Mt Erebus Saddle sites (Fig.11). It was heated with a flued SIGMA stove burning kerosene (consumption approx.10 l/day) and was used for cooking, messing and operating and maintaining equipment including lap top computers. The tent is a very useful size for helicopter and small fixed wing aircraft (Twin Otter) transport and suitable for parties up to 6 personnel. The tent remained secure on Erebus saddle in winds estimated to be over 50 knots but is over 10 years old and should be replaced for remote location use. The insulation sandwiched between the walls has broken down in several places so that the heat cannot be retained in winds above 35 knots and the main door zips have become worn through normal use and have now failed in the cold with snow and ice build-up. The entrance door had to be sewed shut.
- This tent should be replaced for use at remote and robust sites and a cold porch entrance considered.
- An exit for a flued heater like that on the existing tent is required.
- An insulated floor that is aircraft friendly is required. This could be a soft folding pocketed floor that accepts high-density closed cell foam panels about 4′×3′ and 1″ thick.
Since 2000 both K049 and K047 have had up to 5-7 personnel supported from aircraft portable field camps for drilling and other scientific activities. The small (12′×8′) Polarhaven has provided a major contribution to the success of the field support and was used as a kitchen/mess and laboratory. Some new equipment is suggested to improve the support of 5-7 person groups in this type of field camp.
- Portable camp kitchen (box) for 7 people, including sink and bench surface.
- Two burner LPG burner or preferably two burner/oven combination.
- Kerosene heater (SIGMA). Previously supplied by VUW.
One Planet polar tent.
This tent was used on Erebus saddle (Fig.12) and performed well in high snowfall conditions and winds of at least 50 knots where it remained stable. We initially considered that the fixed tent floor could be dangerous and lock in the inmates if the tent blew away in extreme weather but this was less of a concern as we became more confident of the tent and the open vestibule floor reduces this risk. The tent was pitched with the vestibule down-wind so that the entrance was partially side to the wind where it remained relatively free of snow. The tent with the vestibule is more complicated to put up than the standard polar tent and is probably better suited for longer-term camps rather than overnight. In comparison to the standard tent the lighter nylon inner probably make the tent warmer in sunny conditions but it will also be more difficult to erect in windy conditions. We did not cook in this tent and the vestibule was used to store personnel kit, wet/frozen clothing and boots. We are undecided if cooking should be done in the main tent or in the vestibule which could be a less safe option as the primus would be in the way of the exit and the tent ceiling is lower.
- A separate cut floor is required for the vestibule.
- An emergency knife should be part of the tent kit.
- The tent bag should be made big enough to accommodate the inner wall in the attached position and the extra poles.
- Bungee cord in the poles like the standard folding polar tents may be an advantage.
- The door material is very stiff in temperatures below −10°C and the plastic extremely difficult to use. A more flexible door material, additional Velcro incorporated with the buckles and a Velcro closure like the standard tents should be considered.
Then new single mummy style Polar sleeping bags with fleece inners were used by some members of K049. We found the bags were unsuitable in temperatures below –15°C when using the old mattresses that included the closed cell foam insert. On Mt Erebus the performance of the bags was satisfactory with the addition of a separate old style polar outer bag and a thin foil mattress on the standard mattress.page 16
- A warmer and larger bag than the new Polar bag is required for the early season, high altitude locations and larger people.
- Many of the old mattresses should be replaced. A new mattress or combination should include an insulating/waterproof closed cell layer, a comfort layer 2" thick and a heat reflective layer.
20 person day ration box system
The new food boxes were well packed in terms of quantity and nutrition and were favourably received by all members. The addition of savoury snack food and new innovative extras, such as bagged tuna and couscous was very much appreciated. The provision of bulk food supply for medium sized field parties still has scope for improvement and development.
Suitability and effectiveness of the radio equipment
VHF radios were used at Evans Piedmont Glacier, Lower Victoria Glacier and Mt Erebus saddle. Transport and management of VHF radio and their accessories could be improved by providing a easily identified radio bag or case to carry and protect VHF radios, spare batteries, chargers and solar panels.
Reception/transmission conditions and suitability of radio schedule timing
A high gain aerial was required at EPG and MES locations. We noted that communications at EPG on channel 3 and 5 were poorer than the previous season at a very similar location when a hand held without high gain aerial was reliable. The timing of the radio schedule convenient
Scott Base s general efficiency during radio schedule
Radio communication was efficient, professional, and appreciated
Suitability and effectiveness of computer network
The computer network met our needs satisfactorily. A possibility to connect laptops to the Scott Base external net connection would be highly appreciated, especially during prolonged delays at Scott Base.
Quality suitability and performance of public computers
The quality and suitability of public computers was sufficient and appreciated, albeit somewhat busy.
|Site name||Evans Piedmont Glacier|
|Site location (coordinates/description)||77°43.542′ S, 162°34.836′ E, glacier surface|
|Dates occupied||28 Oct 2004 to 16 Nov 2004|
|Total days (or hours) at site||20 days|
|Maximum number of people at site||5|
|Total person-days (or person-hours) at site||100|
|Main activity undertaken||Ice core drilling, high resolution snow pit sampling, installation of weather station and deployment of mass balance device|
|Location||77°43.542′ S, 162°34.836′ E|
|Specimen type||Ice cores and snow samples|
|Quantity (kg)||5000 lbs|
Equipment installed/left in field
|Type of equipment/marker installed||Weather station and submergence velocity device for mass balance measurement (Fig.13)|
|Location of installation left in field||77°43.533′ S, 162°35.294′ E|
|Size of items left in field||2×3m stainless tube, 3m mast, battery, solar panel, wire guides (weather station)
2×3m stainless tube (submergence velocity device)
|Number of items left in field||3|
|Date of intended retrieval||Weather station in 2006, submergence velocity device - end of project|
Fig. 13: A) Schematic figure of submergence velocity device, B) submergence velocity device and weather station at EPG, C) base and battery seat for the weather station dug in, D) dimension of weather station base.
An automatic weather station has been established near the 2004/2005 ice coring site that will record several parameters to help characterise the snow accumulation regime of the local glacier area (Fig.8B).page 18
- Air Temperature at 2.5 height
- Snow accumulation, and air temperature at 1.5 m height
- Dew point temperature at 2.5 m height
- Solar radiation (incoming) at 2.5 m height
- Snow temperatures (thermistor resistance) from 0.5 to 2.5 m depth in at 12 cm intervals
Barometric pressure and wind speed/direction (ultrasonic) sensors are installed but were inoperative when the party left on 16 November.
The installation is expected to operate throughout the upcoming winter. The data will be downloaded from the site in 2005/06 and the installation maintained and the non operational sensors incorporated into the recording program.
*Other environmental impacts
Exhaust fumes from generators
*Differences from original Preliminary Environmental Evaluation (PEE)
|Site name||Mt Erebus Saddle|
|Site location (coordinates/description)||77° 30.90′ S, 167°40.59′ E|
|Dates occupied||24 Nov to 10 Dec 2004|
|Total days (or hours) at site||17|
|Maximum number of people at site||5/6|
|Total person-days (or person-hours) at site||101|
|Main activity undertaken||Ice core drilling, high resolution snow pit sampling, casing of the borehole|
*Other environmental impacts
Exhaust fumes from generators
*Differences from original Preliminary Environmental Evaluation (PEE)
In-situ investigation of crystal structure and stratigraphy during the drilling suggests that the ice at MES – although only 210m deep – might be as old as 200,000 years. This was unexpected but make the site scientifically exceptionally interesting. For this reason we requested to case the borehole, so that if our assumption proves to be correct, further sensitive borehole temperature measurements can be performed. The casing consists of a plastic bucket, which is has been dug 30cm into the borehole and anchored with two 2m long stainless steel rods, placed in a horizontal cross through the bucket. The vertical 3m long stainless steel rod has been frozen into the bucket and is kept in place by three rope guides. The structure was filled in with snow almost immediately, hence the lack of a close up picture.page 19
The structure is easily removable to allow access to the borehole and will be removed once the measurements have been conducted within the next 3 years.
|Site name||Victoria Lower Glacier|
|Site location (coordinates/description)||77°43.7′ S, 162°33.7′ E, glacier surface|
|Dates occupied||16 Nov 2004 – 20 Nov 2004|
|Total days (or hours) at site||5 days|
|Maximum number of people at site||3|
|Total person-days (or person-hours) at site||16|
|Main activity undertaken||Mass balance measurement and high resolution snow sampling|
*Other environmental impacts
*Differences from original Preliminary
Environmental Evaluation (PEE)
Bertler, N.A.N., P.J. Barrett, P.A. Mayewski, R.L. Fogt, K.J. Kreutz, and J. Shulmeister, El Niño suppresses Antarctic warming, Geophysical Research Letters, 31 (L15207, doi:10.1029/2004GL020749), 2004.
Hall, B.L., and G.H. Denton, Extent and chronology of the Ross Sea ice sheet and the Wilson Piedmont Glacier along the Scott Coast at and since the Last Glacial Maximum, Geografiska Annaler, 82A(2-3), 337-363, 2000.
Hamilton, G.S., and I.M. Whillans, Point measurements of mass balance of Greenland Ice Sheet using precision vertical Global Positioning System (GPS) surveys, Journal of Geophysical Research, 105 (B7), 16,295-16,301, 2000.
Hamilton, G.S., I.M. Whillans, and P.J. Morgan, First point measurements of ice-sheet thickness change in Antarctica, Annals of Glaciology, 27, 125-129, 1998.
Meyerson, E.A., P.A. Mayewski, K.J. Kreutz, L.D. Meeker, S.I. Whitlow, and M.S. Twickler, The polar expression of ENSO and sea-ice variability as recorded in a South Pole ice core, Annals of Glaciology, 35, 430-436, 2002.
Mullan, B.A., D.S. Wratt, and J.A. Renwick, Transient model scenarios of climate change for New Zealand, Weather and Climate, 21, 3-34, 2001.
Steig, E.J., C.P. Hart, J.W.C. White, W.L. Cunningham, M.D. Davis, and E.S. Saltzman, Changes in climate, ocean and ice-sheet conditions in the Ross embayment, Antarctica, at 6ka, Annals of Glaciology, 27, 305-310, 1998.
Steig, E.J., D.L. Morse, E.D. Waddington, M. Stuiver, P.M. Grootes, P.A. Mayewski, M.S. Twickler, and S.I. Whitlow, Wisconsian and Holocene climate history from an ice core at Taylor Dome, Western Ross Embayment, Antarctica, Geografiska Annaler, 82A (2-3), 213-235, 2000.
Thompson, D.W.J., and S. Solomon, Interpretation of recent Southern Hemisphere climate change, Science, 296, 895-899, 2002.