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Notes from the Field


May 4th, 2011 by Tom Neumann

May 3, 2011

When thrown properly, a boomerang will always come back to the thrower.  (When thrown improperly, it ends up over the neighbor’s fence where a dog chews on it, and you don’t get your boomerang back, but that is another story for another day.) This afternoon, Matt and I enjoyed what is known as a boomerang – after an hour and a half flight to Swiss Camp, we weren’t able to land, and so returned to Kangerlussuaq for the night. Perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself.

The weather observations from Swiss Camp reported by Dr. Koni Steffen (who is already out at Swiss Camp, the lucky guy) revealed high winds all morning, up to 40 kts. Far too windy for the Twin Otter to safely land. Consequently, the Twin Otter went elsewhere to pick up cargo from another science group. Matt and I watched the weather carefully during the day, and tried to get some productive work done.

Around 2 p.m. local time, the report from Koni was that the winds had died down, and the weather was improving. After additional reports at 3 p.m. and 4 p.m., the pilots decided it sounded good enough to fly north and check it out. Matt and I helped the cargo crew load the plane with our remaining bags, boxes, and pipes and head north to Swiss Camp.

It is a short flight, about 90 minutes. As we approached our destination, the cloud layers were low, and it was very difficult to make out any features on the surface (other than Koni’s tents!) or the horizon. Without being able to see either the surface or the horizon, the pilots can not safely land the plane. After a few passes, we turned around and headed back to Kangerlussuaq.

We’ve left the cargo in the plane with the hopes of making a second try tomorrow morning. The forecast at the moment calls for cloudy skies and snow, which is not so promising for us. Things look to improve significantly on Thursday, so we are optimistic we’ll rejoin Koni and the crew very soon!

So, dear reader, this might be our last post for a couple of days, but then again – you never know when you’ll boomerang again!

ROGUE: Real-time Observations of Greenland’s Under-ice Environment
The goal of the ROGUE project is to examine the nature and cause of short-term ice velocity changes near Swiss Camp, Greenland, by observing interactions between the ice sheet, the atmosphere and the bed.

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One Response to “Boomerang!”

  1. John S Hegwer says:

    Hurry up and wait! Sounds like every sea job I ever knew beginning in 1944 (World War II) and ending in 1993 in the North Sea. Good luck and don’t push the pilot too hard.