Last preparations

Tomorrow we will fly out to Rijpfjorden- if the weather allows (doesn’t look too promising right now, but you never know).

The last two days we have been busy with the last preparations: buying food for 6 people for 14 days (keeping in mind the weight and space limitations of the helicopter), fixing equipment and going through safety routines.

Since we will be out there in polar bear land we have to be prepared for eventual encounters. First rule is of course: try to avoid any encounters! However, in order to be prepared for all possible scenarios we also took a training round on the rifle range yesterday and practice shooting with rifles and flare guns, which we usually bring out in the field on Svalbard. In addition we tried out the shot gun loaded with rubber ball ammunition, which may come in handy to scare bears away that decide to pay our camp a visit.


On the rifle range



Daniel and Janne in deep discussion on their aiming accuracies


The flare gun gives a loud “bang”


Learning how to load the shot gun


All in all we are prepared, everything’s packed up and we’re ready to go. Let’s hope for good flying weather tomorrow πŸ™‚




Link to weather data

Here you can find live weather provided by an UNIS weather station in our camp. The station is updating weather data automatically via Iridium satellite connection every six hours. On the page, click on the uppermost link (Met- and Permafrost data…). It should open a map, where you see the most recent weather data. You can click on the box with the Rijpfjorden data and a new page will open where can browse the weather data in detail.

Have fun, and think of us when you are enjoying your coffee in 20 C in under the warm spring sun πŸ™‚

An unexpected guest

We are still recovering from our Billefjorden excursion (i.e. slept for 12 hours and then spend the afternoon in the cooling room to treat our samples), so here just a little impression from our sampling yesterday: while towing our nets an unexpected guest showed up in our hole πŸ™‚


Stuart towing the plankton net in Billefjorden, 26.4.2013 (Photo: Malin Daase)


a curious ring seal showed up to see what we are doing with such a lovely hole in the ice (Photo: Malin Daase)


Billefjorden – some quick results

After quite an exhausting second day of fieldwork in Billefjorden, with more samples and an ROV mission, we returned in fairly white conditions to Longyearbyen, arriving at around 22:00 on Friday. But it was worth the hassle, lots of samples have been taken and we even have some video for you. We used a mini-ROV to pull a rope 50 m under the ice, which we then used to take horizontal plankton samples under the ice. The ROV video gives a good impression of the massive amount of ice algae, their patchy distribution, and our copepod friends being busy chewing on the good stuff. Not much time for video editing, therefore it turned out a bit lengthy:

Even though half of Longyeabyen seems to think that the sea ice is rapidly melting, our CTD plot and our ice cores show that this is not the case. We will prove this as soon as we have the data plots ready, stay tuned for real-time update of exiting scientific results!

On the road! First stop: Billefjorden, testing equimpment

Finally! The Rijpfjorden 2013 campaign blog has started – with a trip to Billefjorden! Here we are – writing our first blog entry, to be delivered by insanely expensive satellite connection in a couple of minutes.
But let’s start at the beginning – how did we get here? It’s of course Calanus – the most beautiful, fatty and important animal genus in the Arctic (sorry Polar Bear…). You will for sure hear more about it (Calanus, not Polar Bears) later. As a little warming up for the Rijpfjorden campaign, we went to Billefjorden to test some equipment and continue our 12 year long time series of zooplankton sampling. Getting is usually not a problem, crossing 2 glaciers and 2 fjords, however eventually spring arrived in the Arctic, with some interesting consequences for the state of water – which we prefer to show you in an illustration, so have a look at the picture gallery and see for yourself πŸ™‚
Eventually we arrived safely in Billefjorden/Adolfbukta and did some sampling (see gallery) and do some relaxing and blogging now. Tomorrow more sampling is on the agenda. And maybe some sleep would be nice as well.

Sooo, follow this fantastic blog and see what we are up to when go further North in a couple of days…