OIB ATM sitrep Nov 11, 2016 pm

All,
 
OIB completed the “English Coast 02” mission today. 
 
It is always difficult to decide from Antarctic weather forecasts if we should launch a mission to a particular region. There are extremely few weather reporting stations and satellite images early in the morning, so we rely mostly on weather models of clouds and winds. Today was challenging as the forecast of particular wind directions and speeds in the English Coast region occurred over a slightly smaller zone than we hoped for.  This wind condition resulted in the east and west portions of our grid being more heavily clouded at lower levels than predicted.  
 
The flight lines were flown as planned, passing over the cloud tops as the CReSIS radars and gravity instrument can operate through clouds, and at lower altitudes lower when conditions were clear for the optical sensors. Clearing did occur over the central portion of the grid, allowing the optical sensors (ATM T6 wide scan lidar, DMS cameras, and the FLIR and CAMBOT cameras) to collect data in the clear weather sections of the mission. As the mission progressed and we moved downstream toward the ice shelf, the clearing regions grew larger, permitting the optical sensors to collect more data. We estimate that the ATM lidar acquired data over about 60% of the flight lines, with most of the optical data over the central section of the grid.
 
We plan to attempt another mission tomorrow, if the weather forecasting models predict acceptable conditions.
overall view of today’s mission
 
 
Some of the geographic features flown over today (reference SCAR Place Names)
 
English Coast
“That portion of the coast of Antarctica between the N tip of Rydberg Peninsula and Buttress Nunataks (west side of Palmer Land). This coast was discovered and explored in 1940, on land by F. Ronne and C.R. Eklund and from the air by other members of the East Base of the USAS, 1939-41. It was originally named Robert English Coast after Capt. Robert A.J. English, USN, Executive Secretary of the USAS, 1939-41, and formerly Captain of the Bear of Oakland on the ByrdAE, 1933-35. The name is shortened for the sake of brevity.”
 
Strange Ice Shelf 
“The ice shelf in Stange Sound, English Coast, bounded to the E by Spaatz Island, to the NW by Smyley Island, and to the W by fast ice in Carroll Inlet. Named in association with Stange Sound.”
 
Nikitin Glacvier
“A glacier flowing N into to Stange Sound, English Coast, eastward of Lidke Ice Stream and an unnamed intervening glacier. Named by the USSR Academy of Sciences (1987) after Afanasiy Nikitin (? – 1472), Russian traveler who documented a visit to India and Africa during the years 1466-72. Not: Lednik Afafnasija Nikitina”
 
Hill Glacier
“A broad glacier that drains the west-central part of Spaatz Island, at the south side of Ronne Entrance. Mapped by USGS from surveys and U.S. Navy aerial photographs, 1961-66. Named by US-ACAN for Lennie J. Hill, USGS Topographic Engineer, a member of the Marie Byrd Land Survey Party, 1967-68.”

 
Detailed view of the flight line grid.
 

The Antarctic Peninsula on our southbound flight line.
 

 
 
Crevasses and Clouds
 
 
The shadow from the overhead cloud on the ice shelf surface
 
 
 
 
Some open water at the shelf edge
 
Edge of the English Coast Ice Shelf
 
 
Edge of the English Cost Ice Shelf as we entered a section of clouds
 
 
Edge of the English Coast Ice Shelf
 
 
Some unusual patterns in the crevasse zone

 

 
 
 
ATM T6 wide scan elevation map of the Edge of the English Coast Ice Shelf, about 40 meters from high to low features.
 
 

 

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