July 2007: One year and counting…

Published on 29.08.2007 - Tara Arctic

The pack-ice is melting around Tara and the scientific programmes for the summer are in full swing.

While the Yamal is again showing its stern, Charles Terrin, the deck officer, describes the way the scenery is changing around the boat: "The snow is still melting and the scenery around us is changing by the day. The leads are getting bigger and the pools of fresh water are becoming broader and more numerous. So we only have to stoop down to find water. No more having to break ice or collect snow. Find a pool of water, dip in a scoop and Bob's your uncle. On the other hand:

  • Any equipment where the base was not solidly buried in the ice (weather mast, wind turbine, etc.) has to be dismantled and repositioned.
  • Any equipment not on higher ground (seismographs, sounding balloon cover, etc.) is now in the middle of a pond and has to be relocated or the water bailed out. So we have to drill through the ice on both sides so that the water can drain away. In fact, the melt water is higher than the surface of the sea, which means the water empties away by itself (the law of interconnected vessels)
  • We have got out our rubber boots and waders (the height of fashion!) otherwise getting around on with dry feet has become a task and a half."

Time is flying...

The crew celebrated the expedition's first anniversary on 11th July – a whole year since Tara left Lorient on 11th July 2006. It was an opportunity for everyone to remember all the good things and realise that time on board the boat hurtles along at breakneck speed.

A few days later, the people who write the log used layman's terms to explain the various scientific programmes that have to be carried out during the summer – studying the atmosphere, taking measurements of the snow and ice, studying the food chain in the ocean, oceanography, etc. (see 18th July in their reports). They also described the physical developments of the pack-ice, explaining how they measure the thickness of the ice and talk about IMB (Ice Mass Balance), which is the measurement of changes in the depth and thickness of the snow and ice over a particular period of time.

For anyone interested in taking a closer look at polar research, the pages written by Charles and Marion during the second half of July are extremely interesting.

Follow Tara's drift.

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