MELT Team at WAIS Divide with Icefin robotic underwater vehicle

  • Britney Schmidt

Scientists from the MELT project are in Antarctica this field season. The team aims to use autonomous sensors, vehicles (including Icefin), radar, and moorings to monitor the Thwaites ice shelf and grounding line. The team keeps a blog about the Icefin autonomous underwater vehicle: a small, long-range, deep-water, under-ice, robotic oceanographer. 

In the week of December 9, the first flights to get ITGC personnel into WAIS Divide camp and on to their field sites happened late Wednesday, with MELT’s own James Wake, along with US Antarctic Program (USAP) safety lead Loomy, and GHC member/radar guru Seth Campbell made it out! The team of three made it to the Grounding Zone Down Stream (GZDS) site where the first hot water hole will be drilled. The safety team was able to land at the site and successfully establish camp. Since then, the intrepid pilots of the Twin Otter and Basler aircraft, both USAP, flown by Kenn Borek Air out of Canada and the British Antarctic Survey TO, have completed many rotations to start bringing gear out to the camp. The Basler being able to land at both Cavity Camp (where colleagues in TARSAN will be working) and at GZDS has meant that much faster gear delivery has been possible, making up time from the early season weather delay.

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