Friday, September 18, 2009

October fieldwork

Yes... a chainsaw! We depart next week for fieldwork at the weather station and on the glaciers. Conditions at the summit are currently very dry, as elsewhere in East Africa where the drought has brought hardships to many (BBC slideshow). With little snowcover, we will be mapping the pattern of albedo and ablation on the glaciers, and collecting ice samples for 14C dating - a collaborative effort with Margit Schwikowski at Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland. Obtaining ice samples and keeping them frozen all the way to Switzerland will not be easy! Cutting them from the glacier will employ a powerful, lightweight battery-powered saw made by Troy-Bilt, with no noise and no emissions. Testing of this newly-available saw has been very encouraging. [Late October update:  listen here to this chainsaw in action, cutting glacier ice!]

The left-hand image illustrates the sampling opportunity these glaciers provide (vertical dimension shown ~30m). Updates on the fieldwork, with photos, will appear here in mid-October.