The second quarter saw the start of the 2019 Arctic field season. IDP is providing support to the following projects:
(1) The Quantifying Heat/Mass Structure and Fluxes through the Full Thickness of Greenland's Percolation Zone project (PI Harper; NSF award #1717241) will collect several shallow firn cores in western Greenland using a hand auger and Sidewinder kit. The cores will be used to quantify firn density, and the resultant boreholes will provide access for temperature logging of the firn column. The goal of the multiyear project is to use a combination of shallow and deep cores/boreholes to quantify the structure, thermal state, and heat fluxes through the full thickness of the firn column across a transect spanning western Greenland's percolation zone. The researchers are using their own hot water drill to drill the deep boreholes.
(2) The Refreezing in the Firn of the Greenland Ice Sheet 2019 project (PI Rennermalm; NSF award #1604058) will use a hand auger and Sidewinder kit to collect several shallow firn cores from the southwestern sector of the Greenland Ice Sheet to investigate the stratigraphy, density, temperature, and liquid water content of the firn cover. The project's goal is to better understand how the surface meltwater generated in the summer makes its way from its location on the ice sheet to the ocean. Two competing but not mutually exclusive theories are 1) the meltwater percolates into the ice sheet pores and is stored for a relatively long time. 2) The initial infiltrating meltwater refreezes at shallow depth in the firn, forming a hard pan that prohibits further infiltration. The project will test these two hypotheses through a combination of fieldwork, remote sensing from satellites, and modeling.
(3) The Partnerships for Polar Science Education and Outreach in Greenland (JSEP) project (PI Virginia; NSF award #1748137) is a multicultural polar science outreach program for high school students from Greenland, Denmark, and the USA. The program brings US students together with Danish and Greenlandic students in Greenland, where the group will spend several weeks studying the causes and consequences of Arctic environmental change. As part of the program, a hand auger will be used to expose the students to firn science (observing stratigraphic, density, and temperature changes with depth) at EastGRIP.
(4) The EAGER: Exploration of the Denali Basal Ice Core Archive project (PI Kreutz; NSF award #1806422) will return to their 2013 ice core drill site and use the Stampfli Drill to collect a 30- to 50-meter long core. The researcher's objective is to understand the recent and past changes in summer temperature, snow accumulation, atmospheric circulation, and pollution in the context of the last 2000 years of natural variability in the North Pacific. In 2013 the researchers collected twin 208-meter long ice cores to bedrock from the summit plateau of Mt. Hunter in Denali National Park. This season's 30- to 50-meter long core will be used to update the climate record from 2013 to 2019 and help aid in the interpretation of the deeper ice.
(5) The Thermal Drill Testing with the Juneau Icefield Research Program (JIRP) project is an internal IDP project. The Electrothermal drill, aka the "Thermal drill", is a mechanical ice coring drill based on the agile 4-Inch drill but with the addition of an electrically heated ring that enables coring in temperate ice that is close to the pressure melting point. Following planned system upgrades in PY 2018, including a new 300-meter long cable, new heat rings and an ethanol delivery mechanism, IDP is conducting a three-week test of the Electrothermal Drill system in Alaska in conjunction with other JIRP activities and established logistics. Following the test, IDP will inspect and repair the Electrothermal Drill equipment and make any necessary modifications.