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1. Field report

quicklook_march_28_2006
The satellite image shows the working area in the Arctic Ocean. The coast of Greenland is in the front and left-centre. Up at its north-west corner it almost touches Canada. That Canadian island is Ellesmere Island, and Alert is right up where Greenland and Ellesmere are at their closest. The ice camp (Cache Camp) is marked with a red dot. Black features on the ice looking like rivers are leads in the sea ice. Yellow crosses show the location of working lines. Two lines in continuation of each other stretching from the Greenland coast out in the Arctic Ocean towards north and one perpendicular line north of latitude 84 degree north.
Enlarge image (suitable for press).
Alert, 30 March, 2006
Received from Ron Verral and Trine Dahl-Jensen
Edited by Henrik HÝjmark Thomsen, GEUS

Mother Nature is not co-operating
Strong winds and leads in the sea-ice

We made it! Once again we are in Alert, which is at the top of the world. Although several of our crew have been here for almost a week, the bulk of the party flew up yesterday from Edmonton. We were ten Canadian and six Danes. The flight was marvellous. We were on a Boeing 737 instead of the Hercules aircraft that usually hauls us to the far north, and it was much more comfortable! I think the most important difference was that it was relatively quiet; we could actually talk to each other.

Right now our main problem is Mother Nature. She is not co-operating. Last week there were several days of very strong katabatic winds dropping down off the high country in Greenland and flowing north over the ice that we would like to work on. These winds have broken up the ice very badly. There are many open leads, and some of the leads are quite wide. The ice camp that we are setting up to act as a depot for fuel and explosives had to be positioned about 30 nautical miles farther north than we had originally planned. It is, in fact, close to 85 degrees North. This is not really a great hardship, but it does indicate the extent of the loose ice. Mother Nature is also preventing our three helicopters from getting to Alert. They were held up for several days in Iqaluit by bad weather. (Its old name was Frobisher Bay). They have now struggled on a little farther, but we don't expect them until Saturday at the earliest.

We spent the day down at the Spinnaker building getting equipment unpacked and working. The Twin Otter took two loads of camp equipment and fuel out to the ice camp site. Right now (16.30) the ice fog is beginning to roll in from the sea, and the pilot Paul Rask says that the weather is too poor to try to take another load.
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