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Task 1: scientific and logistical coordination

by Vincent Favier - 23 February 2016 ( maj : 15 November 2016 )

One scientific expedition will be performed in coastal area with a specific focus in the 1500-2000 m asl transition region (2016-17 austral summer). The coast to plateau boundary will be crossed several times. Two additional specific field experiments (austral summers 2015-16 and 2017-18) will be conducted in the first 50 kilometers from the coast where melting is observed (in collaboration with the GLACIOCLIM observatory). The study areas are located close to the route from Cap Prud’homme to Dome C, where passive microwave data from satellites show a large spatial variability.

The traverse will cross a large region where important changes are observed in SMB, and in the snow physical, chemical and isotopic characteristics, due to changes in the origin of air masses intruding inland and to post depositional processes. The traverse will be prepared during the first two years of the project (2015 and 2016). This preparation will be necessary to transport the main scientific caravan funded by the EQUIPEX CLIMCOR project, to supply fuel, and all the scientific material to Cape Prud’Homme owing the fact that material must be shipped in August/September 2016 in order to be available at Cape Prud’Homme in December 2016. This is also the necessary time to develop automatic weather stations (AWS).
During the traverse, 8 firn cores (with three types of target depth: 25, 50 and 100m) will be collected to get punctual SMB data. At one selected site, 3 or 4 nearby cores will be be drilled in order to allow to estimate the signal to noise ratio and to produce a robust record of temporal SMB and water stable isotope variability spanning the period of ERA-interim atmospheric reanalyses (1979-present). Firn cores will be transported to Cape Prud’Homme station where samples will be prepared and shipped to France. Samples for chemistry analysis will be entirely processed in France to avoid contamination.
Scientific work will be performed during 12 entire days within the 30 days traverse, to allow:

  1. To cross four times the 2000 m asl elevation line to study differences in air mass origins
  2. To stay several days in areas with very different micro-wave signals (Stop 1 and Stop 2),
  3. To install sensor for surface characteristics at points with very different seasonal response in terms of altimetry (stops 3,4 and 5 versus stops 1 or 2),
  4. To perform two 3-day stops, allowing to core 100m deep firn cores; two additional 2-day stops, to perform 50 m deep ice cores, two additional 1-day stops to get 2 additional 25 m cores,
  5. Additional pits, and snow surface characteristic studies will be at every stops,
  6. According to weather conditions, experiments will be done every day (e.g., roughness estimates with a laserscan, reflectance measurements with multispectral radiometer)