We hauled about 2000 lbs of glacier and sea ice the other day! We carried glacier ice by hand in multiple containers down the Marr Glacier behind Palmer Station and collected sea ice from the boating ramp. In order to use tracers to quantify discharge of glaciers, we have to know the end-member concentrations contributing to the nearshore seawater. Next, we had to melt all the ice we collected so we can analyze it. Believe it or not, melting large quantities of ice in Antarctica is actually quite challenging.
We sampled another glacial stream discharging from the Marr Glacier to continue our land-based portion of the study. We are now geared up and ready to sample other stations from the Zodiacs because the sea ice restricting boating activities at Palmer Station has finally moved out. Unfortunately, we woke up to 30 knot winds, which is above the upper wind limit (20 knots) for boating. As you can see from our first week on station, weather and ice can have strong impact on when and how we sample. We finally made it out on the water for a short period to start sampling from Zodiacs. But once again, we were called back to station because of strong winds.
For this post and future posts I will start including interesting information about Antarctica and other projects occurring on station.
Antarctic Educational Point:
Got Krill? This happens to be everyone’s favorite kid’s T-shirt sold here at Palmer Station, but there is some meaning behind it too. Krill are an important part of the food chain. Birds, fish, penguins, and even large whales such as the Humpback consume krill. Recent studies show that there has been a decline in krill populations in Antarctica so understanding the dynamics of krill populations is important for the entire ecosystem. Dr. Kim Bernard is one of the scientists trying to understand krill populations and how predators find and feed on large aggregations of krill. One fact that Dr. Bernard finds interesting about krill is their life span. Krill can live up to 5 years! That’s impressive for an animal of their size (~2.5 inches).
Photo 1: Rick Peterson hauling glacier ice down Marr Glacier.
Photo 2: The team is looking for sampling sites up to the edge of the glacier along the streams.
Photo 3: Following stream discharge to Arthur Harbor.