Posts Tagged ‘Arctic Sunrise’

Extreme Ice Survey in far north western Greenland at 81 deg. N at Petermann Glacier

Monday, July 20th, 2009

19 July 2009, Sunday

With the assistance of the Greenpeace crew and donors, the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise, and the Greenpeace helicopter, five time lapse [Extreme Ice Survey] cameras, are now ‘watching’ the Petermann glacier floating ice shelf. Petermann is one of the widest outlets to the vast Greenland inland ice sheet. Each minute, we get high resolution pictures from a variety of points of view from high cliffs 2500-3600 feet [760 -1090] meter above the enormous 10 mile [16 kilometer] wide ice shelf. The views are surreal, the scale deceiving. The clear dry air and absence of artificial objects such as roads or buildings makes distances the matter of speculation. It’s only after imagining an Empire State Building into your view that you realize, we are three times above its height. Mind your step!

We’re interested in this site because Petermann has lost 150 square kilometer of ice area in the past 10 years. Cracks have formed and widened in the lower half of the 1500 square kilometer [580 square mile] floating glacier. A crack nearest the end of the fjord suggests that a 100+ square kilometer [39+ square mile] area of floating ice may detach as a 5 billion ton ice island this summer melt season. That area is larger than Manhattan Island.

Greenpeace would like to use this event to raise urgency of ongoing Arctic climate warming, glacier loss, and accelerating global sea level rise, to urge policy makers at the global climate negotiations this December in Copenhagen.

Since installation 28 June 2009, the Extreme Ice Survey cameras have captured the progressive disintegration of two Manhattan Islands size segments of sea ice, more specifically, the loss of 3.8 square kilometers [1.5 square miles] of ice. At one minute intervals, the action is very dramatic. We will be posting a video soon. Stay tuned! We expect much more breakup in the coming two weeks.

Dr. Jason E. Box installing EIS cameras beside a 1090 meter cliff overlooking Petermann Glacier

Dr. Jason E. Box, Byrd Polar Research Center and the Ohio State University, installing EIS cameras beside a 1090 meter [3600 foot ] cliff overlooking Petermann Glacier, far northwest Greenland.

EIS cameras seen from the air as viewing a growing crack atop ridge at Petermann Glacier

EIS cameras seen from the air as viewing a growing crack atop a 760 meter [2500 foot] ridge at Petermann Glacier, far northwest Greenland.

EIS cameras viewing the front of Petermann Glacier

EIS cameras viewing the front of Petermann Glacier, far northwest Greenland. The darker colored ice in the foreground is thin sea ice; the lighter, glacier ice. The distance across the fjord is 16 kilometers [10 miles]. The cliff on the opposite side is 1090 meter [3600 feet] high; two additional EIS cameras have been installed there. All the glacier ice in this frame is expected to detach this summer.

note: Higher resolution versions of these images will be available in future; the cost of transmission large amount of data from the Greenpeace Arctic Sunrise via satellite link is an unnecessary  expense.

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Jason E. Box
Byrd Polar Research Center
guest scientist on Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise

Fishing For Data

Friday, July 10th, 2009

Yesterday was and today will be another day of dipping ocean sensors in cracks through the Petermann ice shelf into the ocean. We are learning about ocean currents, temperatures, and salinities; all these are important for understanding ice melt at the ice-ocean interface.

Prior work using satellite remote sensing has shown that Petermann melts much more from its floating base than from the surface. We’re finding cracks and holes all over the ice shelf surface with which to map the sub-glacial oceanography.

Sounding Crack in Petermann Glacier

Whirlpool on Petermann Glacier_July 2009

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Jason E. Box
Byrd Polar Research Center
guest scientist on Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise

Petermann Glacier Polar Bear Family

Friday, July 10th, 2009

July 09, 2009

The other night, Greenpeace Arctic Sunrise crew members, on the bridge, reported sighting a polar bear family cruising across the Petermann ice shelf.

Theses are the photographs I got with a 70 mm lens.

polar bear family cruising across Petermann ice shelf

polar bear family cruising across Petermann ice shelf

We were safely aboard ship.

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Jason E. Box
Byrd Polar Research Center
guest scientist on Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise

Greenpeace Ship Arctic Sunrise Has Arrived Petermann Glacier Front – Cameras Deployed

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

Wednesday – 08 July 2009

The Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise arrived the Petermann Glacier front [81 deg. 10 min N, 61 deg. 55 min W] in a rush against time to install sensors before the detachment of a 5 billion ton [13 x 8 kilometer] ice island.

Now, we await that action and hope it happens [if it must] while we are on  site.  We can remain until early August, at the latest, if need be.

We have been busy with on-glacier GPS and radar measurements and oceanographic measurements in cracks on the ice shelf.

I have installed 6 time lapse cameras; four on cliffs over-looking the ice shelf and two on the ice looking at cracks.

Also, see:

Greenpeace weblog
http://weblog.greenpeace.org/climate

Google Map:
http://tinyurl.com/arcticmap

Campaign website:
http://www.greenpeace.org/arctic

Photos:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/greenpeaceinternational/sets/72157620765994686/

Telephone:  Iridium telephone
Primary:     +881 677 701 408
Secondary: +881 641 423 871; answers only on bridge
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Jason E. Box
Byrd Polar Research Center
guest scientist on Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise

‘Arctic Sunrise’ Northernmost Excursion

Monday, June 29th, 2009

The Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise is at 82.5 N with its nose up against an ice arch that has formed 450 km north of it’s normal position. This is the farthest north a Greenpeace ship has been. Our northward progress to the top of Nares St. could not have been easier with the waters almost completely ice free and winds calm.

I took thousands of aerial photos yesterday of Petermann glacier from a helicopter as part of an install of 4 Extreme Ice Survey (EIS) time lapse cameras. The distance across Petermann fjord is not too great for the two pairs of EIS cameras to “see” the goings on below thanks to 1000+ meter cliffs on either side of the glacier. The surface of Petermann has a surprising number of melt ponds and streams, some more aptly put as lakes and rivers. Numerous cracks across Petermann make the prediction of a large (100 sq. km) area seem imminent. A 5th, on-ice, camera site is equipped with an “iceberg tracker” that sends its position twice daily via Iridium satellite. At the moment the “ice camera” remains stable. Eventually, its whole world should start to move, once the ice island detaches.

Jason E. Box @ 0808 UTC aka GMT