We arrived at the iceberg this morning at 0700 Greenland time. The rather cool, overcast conditions couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm of BBC crew and scientists alike. Yesterday was a day of intensive preparation for the scientists, assembling and testing instruments, and being filmed now and again.
Everything is now ready, and the arrival at the iceberg signalled the start of a circumnavigation to obtain a combined laser-scan of the ice cliff and multibeam sonar scan of the ice below the waterline. The aim is to create a continuous image of the entire edge of the iceberg, so that it can be compared with a similar image to be obtained at the end of the visit. Using the images, it’ll be possible to find out how much ice has been lost from the perimeter during the period of the stay here.
Other activities have included a trial deployment of the CTD profiler, an instrument to measure the properties of the water around the iceberg, and the deployment of a Waverider buoy, used to monitor the waves that the iceberg will be subjected to. By measuring the way the iceberg tilts and deforms in response to the waves that it’s exposed to, it will be possible to work out the stresses the berg is under from wave activity and the likelihood of its breaking up.
Today the scanning has been interrupted by three separate polar bear sightings, which led to huge excitement on board and the dash to the upper deck of several hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of camera equipment. This early exposure to the bear population has led to a great deal of enthusiasm from those who will be staying on the ship, and a similar amount of trepidation in the “iceberg group”, or “bear-fodder” as they are now being termed.