NPEO 2012 Field Reports

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 The Chronicle of Ice Station Barneo 2012 may be read in English at 

Reports will be revised as initial content gets added to or corrected.

NPEO 2012 Report #12

Monday April 23, 2012 Barneo – Iridium phone call from Jamie Morison

36-hours after it was turned on,  WebCam Buoy #2 sent a second image sample that got through to Seattle, just a few hours before Jamie, Andy, Dean, and John board the An-74 to fly south to Longyearbyen.  There are quality issues with the images, but this was sufficient encouragement that they left that buoy in place.  Matt Alkire left Barneo with the Twin Otter, bound for Resolute via Eureka, and planning to join the Switchyard Project at Alert in one week.

NPEO 2012 Report #11

Sunday April 22, 2012 Barneo – Iridium phone call from Jamie Morison

CTD-Chemistry stations were completed at the North Pole and 89N 90E today includng the last two XCPs, and the Twin Otter crew made preparations to fly home to Canada tomorrow.     Oddities in the oxygen profiles obtained at certain CTD stations motivated  comparison casts using both the primary and backup CTD-O2 Profilers.  Both used the winch in the parked ski-plane at Barneo.  Also yesterday, WebCam Buoy #2 was deployed about mid-day, transmitting up to three images during the 15-minute sample periods every 12 hours.  Despite indications of transmission, however, no additional images from WebCam #2 have been received in Seattle.

NPEO 2012 Report #10

Friday April 20, 2012 Barneo – Iridium phone call from Jamie Morison

The Twin Otter team collected four stations in the past two days,  completing two CTD-Chemistry stations at 87N and 89N on 180 on April 19th, and 87N and 88N on 90E today.   The Mixing Study using XCPs has made enormous progress, and has now dropped 28 out of the 30 available XCPs to record transects and time series.  WebCam Buoy #1 was deployed mid-day  today, transmitting up to three images during the 15-minute sample periods every six hours.

NPEO 2012 Report #9

Tuesday April 18, 2012 Barneo – Iridium phone call from Jamie Morison

Barneo position   2012-4-18/2130 UTC
89° 13.8′ North  002° 15.6′ West

The Twin Otter left Barneo this morning with hopes of getting three CTD stations,  but found marginal weather and settled for 88N 180 and 89 N and the 0 Meridian.  John Guthrie remained at Barneo, to pursue an Expendable Current Profiler (XCP) sampling program with Russian Scientist Sergei Pisarev, and troubleshoot the Webcam buoys by conferring with Nicolas Michel-Hart in Seattle over a succession of Iridium voice calls.  John and Nick succeeded in resolving a persistently intractable bug, and have Webcam #1 ready for deployment.

NPEO 2012 Report #8

Tuesday April 17, 2012 Barneo – Iridium phone call from Jamie Morison

Today the Twin Otter flew Alaska-ward starting down 180 degrees, completing two CTD-Chemistry stations at 85N 170W and 86N 175W.  With ten stations planned, getting the four  most distant from Barneo with the first two days’ flying puts them ahead of schedule.  Flying weather so far is described as finding “sucker holes” at the right places.  Six Expendable Current Profilers (XCP) have been dropped so far, divided between the CTD stations and Barneo.  Barneo itself drifted across the Greenwich Meridian from East Longitude to West.

NPEO 2012 Report #7

Monday April 16, 2012 Barneo – Iridium phone call from Jamie Morison, with email additions from Rick Krishfield and Tom Quinn.

The WHOI Buoy Team, consisting of  Rick Krishfield, Steve Lambert, Chris Newhall, and Jeff Pietro arrived April 14, together with Chemical Oceanographer Matt Alkire.  After weather and other considerations dictated against a helicopter mission to deploy an upstream buoy station, deployment of most of the remaining data buoys began at Barneo data buoys began at Barneo.    The WHOI team finished their buoy installations here in time for  Rick, Chris, and Jeff to catch today’s An-74 flight to Longyearbyen, leaving Steve behind to prepare for a possible ITP deployment at NP-39.  Remaining IABP SVP Buoys and GPS Buoys belonging to Jenny Hutchings are earmarked for Twin Otter CTD-Chemistry stations.

The buoy array at Barneo now spreads across two floes.  On one  there are the previously-deployed French Ice-T Buoy, the O-Buoy, a MetOcean Ice Mass Balance Buoy (IMB), and a SAMS IMB Buoy.  On a nearby floe about 500 meters away WHOI deployed their array of an Ice Tethered Profiler (ITP), an Autonomous Ocean Flux Buoy (AOFB), a Polar Area Weather Station Buoy (PAWS), and another IMB Buoy.

Also on April 14, the closeness of Barneo to the Pole, decent weather, and an available Mi-8 helicopter made possible a major objective, the downloading of a year’s data from Arctic Bottom Pressure Recorder (ABPR) 5, which has been patiently recording the pressure on the ocean floor for another year.

The Kenn Borek ski Twin Otter also arrived from Resolute, Nunavut, Canada via Eureka on April 15th, flown by Captain Paul Rask, First Officer Doug Westersund, and Mechanic Kevin Bouwsema.  The UW group spent the following day preparing the aircraft and recording a shakedown CTD-Chemistry station at Barneo.  Then today the Twin Otter flew down 90 degrees East, and collected the first two CTD-Chemistry stations at 85N and 86N.

NPEO 2012 Report #6

April 12, 2012 Barneo – Iridium phone call from Jamie Morison

Barneo position   2012-4-12/1845 UTC
89° 35.341′ North  007° 14.63′ East
weather clear -27C  little wind

Frédéric Vivier’s Ice-T Buoy is installed and working great.  The JPL Dual-GPS system is up and recording, with help via Iridium from Luis Zuniga of JPL.    John Guthrie arrived from Longyearbyen, and has moved Webcam #1 troubleshooting to Barneo.  A very emotional ceremony to scatter Norbert Untersteiner’s ashes today was videotaped by the Swiss film crew; the King of the Sea Ice’s final rest on a floe very near the North Pole instrumented with new and exciting technology.

NPEO 2012 Report #5

April 10, 2012 Barneo – Iridium phone call from Jamie Morison

Doing pretty well, after a 27-hour work day.  Hole cut for the O-Buoy in a nicely undisturbed floe outside of Barneo, and the Mi-8 Helicopter lifted the buoy and dropped it in the hole.  It is now reporting ocean chemistry, notably including an ozone drop associated with the polar sunrise.  Chris Williams and Steve Walsh are nearly finished and will depart Thusday 4/12.  Frédéric Vivier has arrived with his Ice-T Buoy, which records top-to-bottom Heat Flux through the ice and even uses the tilt of a suspended CTD beneath the ice to serve as a “poor man’s current meter.”

NPEO 2012 Report #4

April 9, 2012 Barneo – Iridium phone call from Jamie Morison

Jamie, Andy, Dean, Steve Walsh, and Chris Williams took off from Longyearbyen on the Anatov 74 for a 2.5 hour flight to Barneo. They have the O-Buoy “pretty well assembled” in a work tent, and have “prospects” for being able to install it in a large hole previously dug for the Russian divers.  This year’s Barneo is a comfortable camp.  Weather is clear, -25C, with no wind.  They are hitting the sack in hopes of a happy day tomorrow.

NPEO 2012 Report #3

April 8, 2012 Longyearbyen – emailed by Jamie Morison

It’s ops normal here at Longyearbyen.  Aside from the problem using the DoD sim card in the cameras, along with everything being closed the WHOLE time for Easter, things are going pretty well. Tomorrow around 1300 local time (UTC+2 hr) Andy, Dean, Chris Williams (CRREL), Steve Walsh (UAF), and I will head out to Barneo to start off with the Paty Matrai & Co. O-Buoy deployment. We will take most of the equipment except for the ice mass balance buoy and ITP for the remote buoy station. The PAWS and Ignatius’ other buoys will go I believe. John will stay in Longyear to try and iron out the DoD SIM issue. That way he will have access to the internet and easy communication with Roy Stehle and you all. The hardware here seems to be working OK here, but Roy and John had the same problem establishing a successful link with the IPS in Hawaii. Hopeful Roy and the folks at SEI and Iridium can figure out what that problem is. The only other problem is that apparently the manufacturer didn’t ship Takashi’s buoy in time to make the ship from Tromso to Longyearbyen. The weather has been nice here -10 to -20c with clear skies. Hope it holds. It has been colder at Barneo with a stretch last week at -40c.

Photos in Longyearbyen by John Guthrie —


NPEO 2012 Report #2

April 5, 2012 Seattle – posted by Roger Andersen

Jamie telephoned from Longyearbyen.  The NPEO team arrived on schedule, to find little activity there due to the Good Friday holiday.  They have been busy getting established and finding equipment.  Early on the to-do list is setting up and testing a webcam buoy.  Barneo reports unusually deep snow, as much as a meter, which is affecting runway construction, but the early Anatov 74 flights have begun.  English language reports from Barneo should shortly begin at

NPEO 2012 Report #1

April 4, 2012 Seattle – posted by Roger Andersen

Jamie Morison, Andy Heiberg, John Guthrie, and Dean Stewart flew out of Seattle for Norway on Tuesday (4/3), and are scheduled to arrive in Longyearbyen Wednesday afternoon (4/4). Sat phone scuttlebut describes the runway for the 2012 version of Russian Ice Station Barneo as under construction in unusually cold temperatures (-42C) and, very unusually for so far north, with a visit from two polar bears.


Brief Description of the North Pole Environmental Observatory

The purpose of the National Science Foundation (NSF) supported North Pole Environmental Observatory (NPEO) is to help track and understand ongoing changes in the Arctic environment. Consistent with the goal of the NSF Program for Long-Term Observations in the Arctic, NPEO increases the availability of long-term environmental data in the Arctic by providing data and infrastructure for other polar science and climate investigations. NPEO was first established in 2000 and includes an automated drifting station of buoys fixed to the sea ice, an ocean mooring, and airborne hydrographic surveys.

The North Pole is an excellent location for long-term measurements, and the merit of NPEO is demonstrated by the findings it has achieved so far. Near the flank of the Lomonosov Ridge, it has proven to be a sensitive site for changes in upper ocean frontal structure and changes in the Atlantic water flowing along the ridge. A history of expeditions to the North Pole provides a benchmark of ocean and sea ice observations. The drifting station deployment at the North Pole fills a geographic gap in drifting buoy coverage of the International Arctic Buoy Program’s (IABP). Time series observations of ice thickness there provide a unique measure of sea ice in the Transpolar Drift. The airborne hydrographic surveys reach critical areas that are difficult to reach by other means. So far the hydrographic surveys suggest that ocean conditions have relaxed from the extreme changes in the 1990s toward climatology but are still variable. The drift station data indicate that the inter annual variations in surface conditions are significant and, among other things, that ocean temperatures in western Arctic rose later than those in the eastern Arctic, and that ocean conditions in the western Eurasian Basin are still in a changed state. The mooring has shown ocean conditions at the Pole to be surprisingly energetic and variable with vertically extensive and long-lasting eddy structures; and they have shown a gradual cooling and freshening trend in the Atlantic water layer. The ice draft measurements document for the first time a coherent annual cycle of mean ice draft in the central Arctic that may be compared directly with estimates derived from submarine sonar profiles.

We are grateful to NSF’s Office of Polar Programs for their support of these projects (NSF Grants OPP-0352754, OPP-0230427, OPP-0230238, OPP-0352641, OPP-0084858, and OPP-0326109).