At long last, after months of preparation, our FirnCover team is finally meeting up. Max, Shane, Mike, Darren, Achim, Babis and Dirk are all here in Kanger, about to have our group safety check with the CPS staff.
So who are these guys, anyway? It would seem introductions are overdue:
Mike MacFerrin is a PhD Candidate at the University of Colorado in Boulder. His research studies surface processes of the Greenland ice sheet—processes such as porosity, densification and runoff—and how these processes are changing in Greenland’s transitional climate. After years of extended backcountry campaigns exploring Alaska, British Columbia and the lower 48, Mike has devoted his passions to Greenland, where he now leads up this field effort of the FirnCover project.
Max Stevens is a PhD Candidate at the University of Washington in Seattle, where he studies ice sheet firn processes and advanced modeling. With many years of experience as an instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), in addition to his polar expertise and Antarctic experience, Max brings a key skillset of wilderness medical instruction to the crew.
Shane Grigsby is a PhD student at the University of Colorado and works with ice sheet remote sensing, with specific focus on LiDAR instrumentation and algorithms.
Babis Charalampidis is a PhD Candidate at Uppsala University in Sweden and the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS). A veteran of multiple Greenlandic field campaigns, Babis’ work focuses on the surface energy balance of the Greenland ice sheet. Bringing the drills and the skills from GEUS, Babis is Drilling Chief on the ACT-15 team, a nuanced and important skill given how easy it is to accidentally get a $13K drill stuck 20 meters under the surface in the hands of a less experienced driller.
Achim Heilig is a post-doctoral researcher at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Reasearch (AWI) and Heidelberg University in Germany. Achim uses radar and other instruments to monitor changes in snowpacks, melt water and snow physics.
Darren Hill serves as the team’s vital technician, combining the duties of mechanic, data manager and photographer/videographer to round out the team’s responsibilities. When **** goes down in the field, Darren’s on it. Darren hails from the states in Bend, OR and runs several businesses there, including the IT Support company PC Friendly.
There are a tremendous number of support staff and crew helping as well, a campaign like this is not an isolated effort. We hope to introduce a few of them as well!
But in the meantime, that’s us! We’re here at KISS (Kangerlussuaq International Science Support) station about to have breakfast. Some of the guys will head to the ice edge today and maintain the KAN-B weather station that GEUS has near the front of the Russell Glacier. I will likely stay behind and wire up our station towers, a sanity check to ensure all the instruments and satellite transmissions are still working after shipment to Greenland. The weather is clear and brisk this morning after a cool clear night that greeted us with the faint hint to the aurora borealis last night. T- minus four days until we fly to the ice, things look good!