IDP successfully supported five projects during the 2019 Arctic field season.
(1) The Collaborative Research: Quantifying Heat/Mass Structure and Fluxes Through the Full Thickness of Greenland’s Percolation Zone project (PIs Harper and Humphrey; NSF awards 1717241 and 1717939) collected shallow firn cores in western Greenland using an IDDO hand auger and Sidewinder kit. The shallow cores were used to quantify firn density and provided access for temperature logging of the shallow firn thickness. 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 (up to 100 meters) boreholes.
(2) The Collaborative Research: Refreezing in the Firn of the Greenland Ice Sheet: Spatiotemporal Variability and Implications for Ice Sheet Mass Balance project (PIs Rennermalm, Tedesco, and Hock; NSF awards 1604058, 1603331, 1603815) used an IDDO hand auger and Sidewinder kit for a third season in Greenland. During the multiyear project, the researchers collected 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 and its spatial and temporal variations.
(3) The Partnerships for Polar Science Education and Outreach in Greenland (JSEP) and Antarctica (JASE) project (PI Virginia; NSF award 1748137) encompasses two NSF-sponsored polar-focused programs – the Joint Science Education Project (JSEP) and the Joint Antarctic School Expedition (JASE) – that provide significant opportunities for training the next generation of STEM professionals and for polar-science outreach. JSEP, a project of the Joint Committee, was initiated in 2007 to educate students and teachers from Greenland, Denmark, and the U.S. The program brings US students together with Danish and Greenlandic students in Greenland where the group spends three weeks studying the causes and consequences of Arctic environmental change. As part of the JSEP program, an IDDO hand auger was used to expose the students to firn science (observing stratigraphic, density, and temperature changes with depth) at EastGRIP. JASE, a project in collaboration with the Chilean Antarctic Institute (INACH), takes U.S. students to Antarctica to work alongside Chilean students and examine Antarctica’s rapidly changing ecosystems.
(4) The EAGER: Exploration of the Denali Basal Ice Core Archive project (PI Kreutz; NSF award 1806422) returned to their 2013 ice core drill site and used the Stampfli Drill to collect a 50-meter long core from the summit plateau of Mount Hunter, Alaska. The researchers used a solar power system to power the Stampfli Drill during collection of the first ~45 meters of core when the sun was shining; the last 5 meters were collected during cloudy conditions, which required use of a generator to power the drill. The objective of the research 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 same location (see Ice Bits 2013 Summer). This season’s 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 Electrothermal Drill Testing with the Juneau Icefield Research Program project (Ice Drilling Program) successfully field tested new modifications to the Thermal Drill. In late July and early August 2019, IDP Mechanical Engineer Grant Boeckmann, IDP Field Support Manager Anna de Vitry, and IDP contractor and Warehouse Manager Jim Koehler traveled to Juneau, AK, for a beneficial testing opportunity with the Juneau Icefield Research Program (JIRP). Utilizing the well-established logistics of the JIRP program, the IDP team was able to test new Thermal Drill modifications including a new 300-meter drill cable, a prototype ethanol delivery mechanism, and new heat rings. The IDP team successfully reached 294 meters and was able to refine operating procedures for the equipment.