Field Notes: The Polar Field Services Newsletter

GrIT details: Weather Delay(s)

Nice weather. GrIT recovery, October 2008. Photo: Ed Stockard

Poor weather conditions forced the Greenland Inland Traverse (GrIT) team to hunker down at Thule Air Base yesterday, as the transition to the ice sheet was closed due to high winds.

“Yesterday there were hurricane-force winds out at the transition so we could not work out there,” reports GrIT project manager Allen Cornelison in an email. “We all spent the day in town getting more tasking completed.”

If you’re following the GrIT story, you’ll recall that the ground-penetrating radar team of four is raring to get out of town and survey the first 60 miles of the course for crevasses and other hazards before the actual traverse gets under way to Summit Station sometime in mid-April.

With a sun halo painting the sky, the GPR survey team reaches waypoint B-3 on Wednesday, about 15 miles out on the ice sheet. Photo: Robin Davies

When GrIT mechanic/operator Robin Davies took the above photo two days ago, the team was returning to Thule Air Base after surveying and marking hazards on the first 15 miles on the ice route. Had the weather cooperated, the team would have spent yesterday finalizing the travel/camping rig they’ll use on the survey so they could depart on the 10-14 day GPR effort today.

“At this moment, Brad is out plowing the road to make it passable for our vehicles,” Cornelison wrote earlier today. “Everyone is headed out in about 30 minutes to get a fuel bladder full of fuel for the GPR team and the GPR team hopes to get their wannigan shelter set up to leave ASAP. Unfortunately there is another storm coming in tomorrow. So, they may not be able to launch until Sunday or Monday.”

The Greenland Inland Traverse is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). CH2M HILL Polar Services and Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratories are working together with the NSF to develop the traverse infrastructure and route. The 2010 spring traverse has several foci: find a safe route to Summit Station that may reduce logistical and other impacts of conducting research there; provide a research platform for scientists conducting field work in Greenland; optimize mobility by focusing on the sled/snow interface. For more on GrIT, click here.