Field Notes: The Polar Field Services Newsletter

Early Season at Summit Station

The S Mobile building is towed to the Intermediate Depth Drill (IDD)Test Camp with the Case 335 tractor. Photo: Ken Keenan

The SMobile (for “small mobile”) building is towed to the Intermediate Depth Drill (IDD) test camp with the Case 335 tractor. Photo: Ken Keenan

Last week was a big one for the crew at Greeland’s Summit Station. In addition to the arrival of four LC-130 flights, which delivered cargo, supplies, and people, the Greenland Inland Traverse Team (GrIT) arrived with even more cargo. They found the station crew hard at work with operations, construction, science, and more.

Here are some of the activity highlights.

SCIENCE

PFS technician Alia Westlund takes a breather while hauling an empty gas cylinder back to station from TAWO. Photo: Ken Keenan

PFS technician Alia Westlund takes a breather while hauling an empty gas cylinder back to station from a research lab called TAWO. Photo: Ken Keenan

The crew is establishing the camp for Mark Twickler’s Intermediate Depth Drill Test project, which will test a new drill slated for an ice-coring operation in Antarctica that begins this year. Last week four LC-130 Hercules aircraft flights delivered cargo and driller personnel for the project. Later, the cargo was prepped and moved about three miles from the station to the IDD test camp site. Once the science team acclimated, they pitched into the effort to help establish the camp.

Additionally, Ryan Neely and Mike O’Neill are working late nights and early mornings at the Mobile Science Facility on their Arctic cloud particle research.

GREENLAND INLAND TRAVERSE (GrIT)

The five-person GrIT team arrived in Summit on May 9 after an arduous but successful overland journey. (Read about the journey here). The team brought an impressive load of cargo and supplies.

FLIGHTS

One of the first flights of the season takes off on Thursday May 8. Photo: Scott Konu

One of the first flights of the season takes off on Thursday May 8. Photo: Scott Konu

Four LC130 flights landed in the past week. Flying in and out of Summit can prove challenging, as the quality of the skiway is highly dependent on weather, ambient temperature, and grooming equipment. The first two flights landed on an impeccable skiway that earned rave reviews. The next day, warmer temperatures resulted in softer snow. Nonetheless, the flights landed and took off successfully.

MECHANICAL

Keeping the machines working at Summit is an important job. Here the Tucker is used to assist the Drill Shelter Placement, known as IDD Test Camp construction.

Keeping the machines working at Summit is an important job. Here the Tucker is used to assist in placing the drill shelter at the drill test camp.

Thank goodness for skilled mechanics and team work, as both contributed to the diagnosis and fixing of the Case tractor, which was temporarily out of service due to an alternator on the fritz.

SAFETY

The Summit Station Emergency Response Team "rescues" NOAA technician Lance Roth during a safety drill. Photo: Ken Keenan

The Summit Station emergency response team “rescues” NOAA technician Lance Roth during a safety drill. Photo: Ken Keenan

Summit staff had an Emergency Rescue Training to practice their response and rescue techniques. In this training scenario, the team members were tasked with helping a “victim” who had gone limp while doing routine maintenance on the Greenhouse Tower. The training was successful and was followed by a debriefing session with a thorough critique of what went right and what went wrong.

PEOPLE

Our people are working hard getting ready for the busy summer season. We’re proud of our employees’ work ethic and cooperative spirit, as well as the appreciation they have for the delicious things in life, like Summit chef Kathy Kane’s nourishing gourmet pizzas. The weather has been both beautiful and inclement with low temperatures of -43 C. and highs of -15 C. The population has grown considerably over the past week, and there’s an ambitious schedule of flights, field camp put ins, and more. Summer, it seems, is just around the corner!