July 31, 2011 - 8:40 a.m.
MTRI scientists and engineers recently returned from the July excursion to the Bering Glacier. A major objective of the trip was to service the Glacier Ablation Sensor System (GASS), which monitors melt on the Bering at 6 different sites (B01, B02, B03, B04, B06, and T01). After several weeks of melt, these instruments were hanging 4 to 5 meters in the air!
At that height, ablation measurements are less accurate. Our field team lowered the instruments on the poles after measuring the height of the instruments. Check out recent photos of B01 (near the terminus)
and B02 (up glacier, near the Grindle Hills)
Sites B06, B04, and T01, which do not transmit data in real time, were successfully serviced and their data downloaded. Unfortunately, site B03 could not be serviced nor its data recovered because it was in the middle of a meltwater pond (photo
). BLM employees might have been able to recover this instrument after we left, provided the pond drained.
Site B01 was able to be serviced but due to its proximity to a crevasse
it will likely not be accessible again; it is likely not recoverable. Fortunately, B01 will continue to transmit its data in real-time until something happens to prevent it from doing so! Site B02 was outfitted with a horizontal-axis wind power generator which we hope will keep it running through (most of) the winter, when solar power is not as reliable.
After some updates to the website, real-time data from B01 and B02, still being transmitted, are available once again. Look for data from the non-transmitting sites B04, B06 and T01 to be available for download soon.