The past week was a pretty busy week with the launch of the IPY in Paris and many other cities around the world. On March 5 and 6, 2007 the European Commission organised a Special Symposium on Polar Research in relation to IPY. On this occasion the Damocles mobile exhibition prepared by IPF was presented in Brussels.

Project Leader Jean Claude Gascard

Project Leader Jean Claude Gascard

We are now actively preparing the field work activities and the junction with Tara. Twenty scientists and engineers from Damocles will meet on Tara during April 2007. Tara just passed recently the northernmost position reached by Nansen on board Fram, 112 years ago. Today Tara position is 86°15N and 130°E. Since the very beginning of her drift across the Arctic, more than 6 months ago, Tara drifted along a mean meridian (fixed longitude 140°E) in a rather sinuous pattern, oscillating between the track of the Sedov (1939) and the NP 10 (1962) at a surprisingly high speed of 100km per month (twice as much as predicted).

It is also remarkable to look at the drift of two Ice tethered Platforms (ITP) deployed 100km and 200km North of Tara 6 months ago along the same longitude (140°E) but at 81°N and 82°N respectively (Tara started at 79°53N on September 3, 2006). Today the northernmost ITP station is now at 89°10N and 151°E, that is 90km from the North Pole and practically in the vicinity of the Russian Barneo camp. Over the past 6 months, this buoy drifted even faster than Tara since it is now located 300km away from Tara instead of 200km initially. It is quite remarkable to notice the 2 ITPs and Tara drifted along a northward direction since the beginning of the drift and over the past 6 months. This is by the way what Nansen wanted to accomplish with the Fram in order to get to the North Pole.

During springtime field works operations, we are planning lots of activities in the vicinity of Tara and farther away. Laser (DNSC) and EM bird (AWI) profiles will be taken along transects between Tara and Greenland-Canada. Two ITPs (UPMC and two IMBs (CRREL) will de deployed 100 miles south of Tara and 16 meteorological buoys (UNIHAM) will be air-dropped in a box of 500km by 500km including NP and Tara. At Tara, IMB (CRREL) and Tiltmeter (SAMS) will be replaced and the Met Mast (UT) will be changed and reinforced due to several aggressions endured during the first phase of the drift.

Also more radiometers from NPI and sunphotometer from UB will be deployed at Tara to complete the long wave and short wave radiometers already installed by UT last September 2006. A network of 6 seismometers will be installed (UdS) in a circle of about 1km around Tara. EM 31 survey (AWI, FIMR) will be initiated to sample ice thickness around Tara as a function of time over few kilometers distance depending on sea-ice roughness. The atmospheric sounding system will be initiated for taking air temperature, air pressure, humidity and wind profiles throughout the lower atmosphere up to 2km altitude, once or twice per day depending on wind conditions (UT). The snow program at Tara will be fully developed under DNSC, NPI, UB and LGGE leadership. Transects with the EM bird (AWI) will be taken from the North Pole using MI-8 helicopters based at Barneo and extending beyond Tara as far south as possible depending on budget and safety regulations imposing to fly with two helicopters passed a certain range. The onshore bases for establishing the junction with Tara will be Longyearbyen (Norway), Alert and Resolute (Canada) and Station Nord (Greenland). Occasionally Barneo ice camp will be used for refuelling and as a back up in case landing conditions at Tara would be limited.

List of Damocles partners visiting Tara during April 2007

20 persons representing 8 countries:

  • From Denmark: René Forsberg, Susanne Hanson and Henriette Skourup representing DNSC. Activities: laser profilers and long transects with twin Otters from Alert to Tara and farther away.
  • From France: Jean Philippe Metaxian and Jacques Grangeon from UdS, Florent Dominé from LGGE and Jean-Claude Gascard, Hervé Le Goff and Jean Festy from UPMC. Activities: Seismometers, ITPs and Snow measurements. Jean Festy will replace Matthieu Weber on board Tara until next Fall.
  • From Estonia: Erko Jakobsson and Timo Palo. Timo will stay on board Tara until next Fall. Activities: Met mast and atmospheric tethered sounding system
  • From Germany: Christian Haas representing AWI, Michael Offermann representing UNIHAM and Georg Heygster representing UB. Radiometers and EM bird sea-ice thickness profiles. Met buoys air dropped from Twin Otter.
  • From Finland: Jari Haapala and Eero Rinne representing FIMR. Activities: Sea-Ice thickness measurements
  • From UK, Jeremy Wilkinson representing SAMS. Activities: Tiltmeter
  • From USA, Keran Caffrey representing CRREL: Activities: Ice Mass Balance (IMB)
  • From Canada, Gaudenzi representing Jan Bottenheim. Activities: MAXDOAS.
  • From Norway, Marcel Nicolaus representing Norwegian Polar Institute. Activities: Radiometers, physical properties of snow and ice.

Two aircrafts (DC3 and Twin Otter) from Borek (Canada) will operate between Resolute, Alert, Station Nord, Longyearbyen and Tara. Barneo will serve as a back up in case landing conditions at Tara would be limited for the DC3.The summer operations in the High Arctic are also progressing regarding Damocles activities. Two icebreakers will be in operation from July until September 2007: Polarstern from Germany for the Space program and the Akademik Fedorov from the Russian Federation. for deploying the NP35 Russian drifting camp in September 2007. We will report about the summer program in next newsletters.

Mar 12, 2007
Jean Claude Gascard, Project leader
Mar 22, 2011

Developing Arctic Modeling and Observing Capabilities for Long-term Environmental Studies