Science team places sensors on enormous iceberg to track motion, weather conditions
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is making available still photographs, at print resolution, of NSF-funded researchers placing Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) on a massive Antarctic iceberg. The iceberg, designated B- 15A, is approximately 144 kilometers (90 miles) long and 48 kilometers (20 miles) wide. It is a part of a larger berg that broke away from the Ross Ice Shelf last March.
Background: Transported to the iceberg by the U.S. Coast Guard in late January, Douglas MacAyeal of the University of Chicago and Jonathan Thom of the University of Wisconsin-Madison erected three stations on the ice surface, roughly 45 meters (150 feet) above the surface of the ocean. The stations each incorporate Global Positioning System (GPS) units, which will allow the science team to track the motion of the berg; an anemometer, to measure wind velocity and direction, as well as sensors to measure relative humidity, surface temperature and barometric pressure.
Two weeks worth of data from the sensors has already been collected by satellite. MacAyeal said he expects soon to begin analyzing the iceberg's motion and the effects of collisions between the berg and the shoreline and ice at Cape Crozier in Antarctica. The weather stations, assembled at the University of Wisconsin, are equipped with batteries and solar panels. Based on their use elsewhere in Antarctica, they could be expected to operate for as many as five years.
IMAGES AVAILABLE: Images: (Iceberg, B-15, researchers erecting stations on the iceberg) Resolution: (300 dpi)