Arctic Ocean Historical Data Rescue

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Measurements collected on Fletcher's Ice Island,  a scientific drift station in the western Arctic Ocean, half a century ago were published for the first time this summer. The study released 10 July in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, is the first in-depth look at marine heat flow measurements of the western Arctic Ocean. 

 

 

Image shows an ice hut on an expanse of ice

Heat flow measurements were taken through an ice hole sheltered by the U.S. Geological Survey's hydrohut, here shown in April 1969.  The hydrohut was tall at one end to accommodate extracting a 3- to 4-meter-long piston corer/heat flow probe using a winch system.  Pressure ridges developed in the pack ice adjacent to the T-3 glacial ice are visible in the background.  Photo by D. Scoboria, USGS.

(Credit: David Scoboria , USGS. Public domain.)

Black and white image shows supplies being parachuted into an ice field

Once temperatures warmed each spring, pilots could no longer land on the ice runway to resupply T-3 with food, fuel, and spare parts and to ferry personnel to and from Alaska. During the summer months, Navy C-130s from Ellensdorf Air Force Base supplied the camp by parachute drops.  Supplies dropped in June 1969 landed on target on the ice runway.  

(Credit: David Scoboria , USGS. Public domain.)

Image shows a map of the Arctic Ocean with dots tracking the path of the T-3 Ice Island

Track of drifting T-3 Ice Island around the Western Arctic Ocean from 1962 to 1974 with the 356 USGS heat flow points superposed as color-coded circles.  The location of the aerial photograph taken in Spring 1967 is indicated by the pink box.  Image provided by C. Ruppel, USGS.

(Public domain.)

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