Patience, creativity, and persistence finally paid off! The A-130 lidar team successfully resolved the lidar EMI (electro-magnetic interference) issue at Arrival Heights in the 9th week at Antarctica.

Nice weather has returned to McMurdo so the team is happily running the lidar to collect data for our science goals. An icebreaker ship, Oden, finally made its way through to reach the Hut Point on Sunday, January 16, 2011, and a research vessel, Palmer, followed its path to dock at McMurdo. I finally climbed to the top of the Observational Hill the night of January 17th, 2011. All these came along with the arrival of Dr. Chet Gardner – a colleague and dear friend of mine and the co-PI of this lidar project!

Unbonding the neutrals from grounds at proper locations and the installation of RFI power line filters to the LIDAR system did the major tricks to solve the EMI of LIDAR. It is now easy to say so, but the results wouldn’t have come without the extensive tests, diagnoses, and creative mitigation made by my team in collaboration with many USAP and AntNZ people, the PIs for Arrival Heights experiments, outside experts, and our NSF program director. It was very time consuming, but I did learn a lot through this procedure. I enjoyed working with the electrical engineers, electricians, and research associate at Arrival Heights. It will be a great memory for many years to come!

Our team was so anxious to collect data when Chet “brought” the clear sky to McMurdo after a long period of overcast. Starting Saturday night, the lidar has been taking data for three days, with only a few hours of pause for installation of the RFI line filters. The team is still running at the moment I’m composing this post. I’m so happy to say that the lidar is now nearly hands-free to me as my students and research scientist can run the lidar very well.

The mean altitude of the PMC observed around Christmas is 84.8 km, just above the line in between the South Pole and Rothera data points. Here comes the winners of the PMC “bet” – Chet Gardner and Weichun Fong!

Standing on top of the Observational Hill, Chet and Xinzhao cheer for the triumph of the lidar. The ice mountain in the background is the volcano Mt. Erebus.

McMurdo station and Arrival Heights were clearly visible from this picture when I finally reached the summit to meet Zhibin and Chet. Zhibin has been exercising for the winter — much thinner clothes than any of us!

After the EMI issue was solved, Xinzhao was very happy to have a photo with the Fe Boltzmann lidar that has been running continuously over three days.

Oden and Palmer in the McMurdo sound

Oden is a Swedish ship – an incredible icebreaker!

Palmer is a research vessel and many scientists came with it or for it.

The winners for the PMC altitude bet, Chet and Weichun, received their prizes – T-shirts of penguin and castle rock!

Another shot at McMurdo. From the left, Zhibin, Chet, Xinzhao, and Wentao. Unfortunately, Weichun was missing from the photo as he was running the lidar at Arrival Heights when the photo was taken on Tuesday, January 18, 2011.

Nothing would be better for me to announce a triumph of the lidar installation one day before my departure from the ice. There is still a lot of hard work ahead of us in order to achieve the full success of a 3-year lidar campaign at McMurdo, but we are very confident as our team will continue the beautiful work at McMurdo – Arrival Heights!