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BLOG: The TIDEx Campaign on Darwin Glacier
26 October 2016
The cryosphere is an important part of “System Earth”. An understanding of ice and snow is of paramount interest in a period when global climate change has become a hot topic. Today, space-borne sensors deliver global views of the polar regions. When combined with measurements from field campaigns, they provide us with an in-depth knowledge of the cryosphere in a changing environment. Together with partners from New Zealand, our colleague Dana Floricioiu stays at the Darwin glacier in the Transantarctic Mountains. In a field campaign, lasting for six weeks, measurements will reveal relevant parameters of this glacier. The results achieved permit to understand how such outlet glaciers behave in detail and help to interpret space-borne data acquired over that region.
The TIDEx Campaign on Darwin Glacier: Part 7 – Epilogue
December 15, 2016
The return flight on December 7 from Christchurch to Munich via Dubai was only normal business. The curious tension I felt 6 weeks ago when I travelled in the opposite direction towards Antarctica was gone. Now I’m sitting for already more than a week in my cosy office and have to deal only with my computer – no more ice-cold temperatures, strong winds and working with the instruments out in the field while managing the everydays life huddled together in two small tents.
The TIDEx Campaign on Darwin Glacier: Part 6 - Tidy up, Relax and Travel back
November 29 – December 5, 2016
Scott Base welcomed us with all goodies of civilization: the first shower after 3 ½ weeks, proper meals and comfortable beds. It was lovely. But then duty called. We had to clean up our equipment, dispose our waste, dry the tents and store everything in the appropriate places.
The TIDEx Campaign on Darwin Glacier: Part 5 – On Darwin
November 05 - 28, 2016
Since November 5th, we are on Darwin Glacier. As I already said, this is a WiFi-free zone. Communication with Scott Base occurs via VHF radio and satellite phone. We transmit short text messages which summarize our stay on the glacier.
The TIDEx Campaign on Darwin Glacier: Part 4 – A Night on the Ice and Departure
November 03 - 05, 2016
The second part of the Antarctic Field Training offered a first small challenge: Setting up a camp on the ice with an overnight stay. The camp’s planned site was about 15 km off Scott Base close to the Erebus Ice Tongue. This ice tongue is formed by the glacier which comes down Mt. Erebus and protrudes off the coast of Ross Island. It forms a more than 10 km long narrow ice tongue into McMurdo Sound.
The TIDEx Campaign on Darwin Glacier: Part 3 – Training for the Ice Case
November 02 - 03, 2016
At Scott Base four days had been reserved to familiarize with Antarctic conditions and the required equipment. This was a very short time span considering the fact that it is of utmost importance to be well prepared when starting our TIDEx undertaking. Only this ensures success.
The TIDEx-Kampagne on Darwin Glacier: Part 2 – At the Gateway to Antarctica
October 28 - November 01, 2016
After a 28-hour flight I had arrived 11 time zones further East in Christchurch. This city with 390.000 residents is New Zealnd’s gateway to Antarctica. In olden days the harbor of Lyttleton, only 10 km south of central Christchurch, was the base for Scott’s and Shackleton’s expeditions to the South Pole. Today, the International Airport of Christchurch serves this purpose. It is the central hub for traveling to the Antarctic continent. Particularly in summer months, New Zealand’s and the US air force transports passengers and equipment to the stations in the Ross Sea area.
The TIDEx Campaign on Darwin Glacier: Part 1 - From Central Europe’s Grey Autumn to Antarctica’s Spring
October 26 - 27, 2016
More than 18000 km to Christchurch, New Zealand with stops in Dubai and Sydney, and about 4000 km further South I have to travel to reach my destination: the Darwin Glacier in the Transantarctic Mountains, less than 1100 km far from the South Pole. I know the area very well but only from 515 km altitude. During the last years these mountains were in focus of my research based on the TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X radar satellites. The remote sensing data helped me to better understand the behaviour of these glaciers crossing the southernmost mountains of the Earth. In the next weeks I’ll be there for in situ investigations on Darwin Glacier, one of the many glaciers in the region.
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