Open Water

Posted On February 15, 2008

Filed under Uncategorized

Comments Dropped 3 responses

Today it was -26ºC with winds of 22 km/hr and gusts to over 30 km/hr. (Apologies to those of you who use mph, I will try to include those units next time).

Hilke Oetjen and Anoop Mahajan from John Plane’s research group at the University of Leeds have deployed a long-path DOAS (Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy) instrument to monitor the IO and BrO radicals in the near surface atmosphere. They have installed a reflector on Bill of Portland Island, which lies 2-3 miles west of our field site on the shore of the Hudson Bay. They were unable to detect a reflection today, so assumed windblown snow had partially covered the reflector. I helped them assemble a ‘cage’, or protective box to fit around it, and the four of us (Anoop, Hilke, Helen and I) made another trek to the island.


The high south-southwesterly winds have set up a gyre that is peeling the sea ice away from the coast.  Although the area just off our field site is somewhat protected by the island, a zone of active, or moving, ice has formed 300 meters out.  The ice is still very thick, but is shifting and the topography of the surface between the site and the island had changed noticeably, due to the rafting and ridging that had occurred in the two days since we’d last crossed it. On the far side, a tide crack had formed about 20 meters off the east side of the island (see photo).  Seawater admitted by the crack flooded the surface of the ice, but was hidden under the windblown snow. By shovelling away the snow, Helen was able to gather samples from the brine pools.


Open water and new sea ice were visible west of the island on a satellite photo we received two days ago, and we trekked across to the far side to assess its extent. The wind on the exposed side of the island was quite strong, and our breath froze in our balaclavas, hair and eyelashes. To the west, a channel of open water at least 1 km wide lay about 300 meters offshore. Steam was rising from the open water (the water is warmer than the air) and being driven north by the wind. This will be an excellent place to find frost flowers when new ice has formed, provided we are very careful!





3 Responses to “Open Water”

  1. biggest acomplishment in life

    shes my mom

  2. biggest acomplishment in life


  3. Mama Bear

    Hi. Hope the remainder of your gear arrived. Don’t skate on thin ice.

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