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You are browsing the archive for Polarstern Archives - The Field.

November 27, 2019

Postcards from a frozen icebreaker – Part 14

I was startled by the phone call shortly after midnight. Trouble at Met City. Felix had just arrived on the bridge for his night watch from 12-4am. He always takes a look around camp when arriving for his duties. And there was no 30m mast. Simply gone

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November 26, 2019

Postcards from a frozen icebreaker – Part 13

It looks like the bear walked around the station and first yanked on a cable to the sonic anemometer, shattering a metal connector. He then jerked on a few other cables, totally pulling them apart and breaking another connector that was inside our main box…And then he found the good stuff: the exhaust from the fuel cell power system is water.

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November 19, 2019

Postcards from a frozen icebreaker – Part 12

Below -30C for the first time at MOSAiC. The helicopter dropped us off. Dave, Hans, and I at the L1 site, some 15 km away from Polarstern. A flurry of activity as we unload our gear from the helicopter and pull it out of the downwash…. Then up and away, … and …. Silence. Darkness. This is really it: the Arctic winter.

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November 18, 2019

Postcards from a frozen icebreaker – Part 11

Working in the Arctic can, of course, be a huge challenge. The fingers, toes and nose bearing the brunt of it. Delicate instrument work is particularly hard as this often requires taking off warm outer gloves to expose hands with thin or no gloves. But in the end, it is rarely the actual temperature that matters. Instead the wind is the key factor.

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November 17, 2019

Postcards from a frozen icebreaker – Part 10

Time is such an odd concept out here. The sun is long gone; now we have at most only a sliver of lighter skies on the far horizon framing extensive darkness in all directions. No real reference for daily time….. the food schedule onboard providing the only framework.

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November 16, 2019

Postcards from a frozen icebreaker – Part 9

The ice has been trucking along quickly to the north, and with the recent drift we have finally moved north of our original installation position and are now on our way towards the North Pole.

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November 15, 2019

Postcards from a frozen icebreaker – Part 8

Crack by our tower widened today, but things are still stable. It’s up to 1m in places. The rest of the area went through a major shift. Satellite maps show a large region of shear and that shear basically ripped our flow in half just outside the outer wall of the Fortress.

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October 25, 2019

Postcards from a frozen icebreaker – Part 7

In addition to personnel exchanges, scientific equipment was shifted between the two vessels using helicopters and snow mobiles. Akadomik Federov makes his way to the ice edge and Polarstern stays alone at the MOSAiC ice floe.

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October 24, 2019

Postcards from a frozen icebreaker – Part 6: cargo & polar bears

…Then this evening the mom and cub showed up again. Meandering across the ice and right through Met City where we had been about 20 minutes prior. They walked the power line and messed with an ice sensor.

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October 20, 2019

Postcards from a frozen icebreaker – Part 5

These are 700-kg beasts! I can’t really believe we are sticking these on the ice, so they will be going on stable, thick-ridged areas. Fortunately we can brute force them around a bit, as they are installed on top of 3 snowboards…

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