Sonntag, 20. Mai 2012

The end is nigh

Harken, brethren and sisters, it is soon that VERDI hath passed its last of days! Behold this heavenly sign, unmistakably foreboding the final hour! The Sun itself, our celestial guide, hath covered its radiance with a selenic veil.
The safe way to observe this partial solar
eclipse: project the solar disk through
a detached photo camera lens.
Without exposing the eye, a camera
can take a decent photo with the
shortest exposure, the smallest
aperture, and sunglasses.
Today's solar eclipse was annular (ringförmig) in the central Pacific Ocean and the western USA. In Inuvik, it was still a partial eclipse (50%).

We prepare to leave

On Friday all of the equipment that goes to Muskoka with the Polar 5 was packed into the aircraft. Saturday morning the aircraft left for Muskoka (with an overnight stop planned for Winnipeg). Sunday most of the science team left as well, partly for Muskoka, partly home to Germany. Only Eike and myself stay until Monday, then we leave as well for Muskoka.

Freitag, 18. Mai 2012

Donnerstag, 17. Mai 2012

Last Science Flight!

A hyperspectral image of Inuvik Airport,
converted to true colours.
On 17 May 2012, we performed the last VERDI research flight. We probed the same cloud area as on the previous days. Again, there were some ice crystals in the cloud although the temperature was pretty warm, between -4°C and +4°C throughout the cloud. We followed a pair of parallel tracks above and through the cloud layer, and in the end we flew two butterfly patterns for the geometrical calibration of the hyperspectral camera, Eagle. For that we need to look at a distinct surface pattern at different angles.
With this flight, we have used up all our flight hours. Thanks to Alfred Wegener Institute for providing the aircraft and the generous flight hours, and to Aurora Research Institute for the excellent support in Inuvik!

Flight May 16

Inuvik from above
Another flight into the same area. Having snow showers (flurrys as the showers with low intensity are called here) at the airport we were sure that these clouds have to contain ice. In the target area this time we continued heading west expecting a change in the cloud properties indicated by a second cloud field in the satellite images and almost reached US airspace. The cloud field in the west we just missed. But indeed the clouds did change. Cloud top decreased and thickness as well. On the way back we first did not found many ice particles. Later further east the number of ice crystals increased more and more. On our way back to Inuvik we stayed below cloud bottom and collected some more precipitating ice crystals and images of Inuvik and the Mackenzie Delta,

Mittwoch, 16. Mai 2012

It's winter again

Surprisingly it did start snowing again during this night. Remember the T-shirt weather two days ago!!! Similar to yesterday northerly winds blow cold air into the Mackenzie delta and generate clouds and even precipitation. We expect to have another flight into the same area sampled yesterday. Hopefully it will also snow there.

Dienstag, 15. Mai 2012

(Some) ice is back: Flight on 15 May

Turning back to go through this nice
Cumulus cloud once more.
Today we flew into the same area as yesterday. The cloud was still there, and it was in fact a little different than the first time. We even saw ice crystals in the cloud! We probed it on a east-western and a north-southern leg, and found differences between all the waypoints. The "icing on the cake" of this flight was a cumulus cloud on the way home. There were no convective clouds in this area before yesterday, so this something new for VERDI, and of course we did a few turns inside it. The cumulus contained aggregate ice particles, and finally the flights became a little bumpy.

The Niagara Falls of Inuvik

The high temperatures of the last days lead to heavy melting and a lot of runlets bringing water from all over the town to the Mackenzie.

Today a strong and cold wind from the north produced fog in our area with temperatures again below zero.This delays the flight planned for today. Hopefully we get into the air around noon heading for the same area and clouds as sampled yesterday.

Montag, 14. Mai 2012

Flight into clouds, 14 May

Canada Is the country of lakes. There is no
official estimate of the total number of
lakes in Canada; three millions is a first
inofficial guess. Start counting here: The
Mackenzie delta is nothing but river arms and
lakes between small dry stretches with trees.
The contrast between dark trees and white
ice makes the counting easier in winter!
Finally, after a couple of days of sunshine and leisure, the clouds came back. Inuvik itself is still sunny, but a low cloud deck has formed over the southern Beaufort Sea. And it seems it's there to stay, so probably today's flight is the first of a series. We targeted two cloud areas. The first ended earlier than expected, and the second had a double cloud layer. We probed the cloud at several altitudes in both layers, and inbetween. Alas, it is too warm to find ice particles in the cloud! Nevertheless, clouds over the sea ice are always of interest. And these ones were different from the ones on all the previous flights, so we are quite happy.