Photo: The ICEFLUX team at work on the first icecamp: Julia, Giulia, André and Antondrilling in the ice. Lots of ice-cores and water samples were successfully taken.

Blog: White Christmas on Antarctica

Researchers of IMARES sail on board the German Research Icebreaker ‘Polarstern’ for investigations in the sea-ice areas of the Weddell Sea. Read about the first three weeks of the expedition in the blog of Jan Andries van Franeker.

Photo: The ICEFLUX team at work on the first icecamp: Julia, Giulia, André and Antondrilling in the ice. Lots of ice-cores and water samples were successfully taken.

Cruise track Polarstern

By tomorrow, our Antarctic expedition is three weeks on its way. Those weeks were simply too busy to write messages home earlier. From Cape Town Polarstern went southwest to the 0° Greenwich Meridian. From there we are following that 0° meridian straight to the south until we almost hit Antarctica. We’ve progressed most of this track, and today we had an sea-ice station at 69°S.

Polarstern in fairly open sea-icein the marginal northern ice zone. Currently we are closer to the Antarctic continent and encounter much denser sea-ice.
Polarstern in fairly open sea-icein the marginal northern ice zone. Currently we are closer to the Antarctic continent and encounter much denser sea-ice.

Fishing underneath the ice

During this first period we have worked intensively on preparations and tests of all our gear, among which of course our Surface & Under-Ice Trawl (SUIT). But in the cooperative ICEFLUX project between the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI)  and IMARES, project leader Hauke Flores has significantly expanded our field of work. We now also deploy the Multi-Rectangular-Midwater-Trawl (M-RMT), a large net that goes down to 1000m depth and is able to subsequently open three different sets of nets to sample at discrete depth ranges.

The SUIT net hauled to the stern of the ship after one of the first runs under sea-ice this expedition. We encountered no problems that our net-operator Michiel could not fix.Already quite some krill and other surface animals have been collected, to be sorted and analysed by Fokje.
The SUIT net hauled to the stern of the ship after one of the first runs under sea-ice this expedition. We encountered no problems that our net-operator Michiel could not fix.Already quite some krill and other surface animals have been collected, to be sorted and analysed by Fokje.
The Multi-RMT while being hauled in after one of its first trials going to 1000m depth. At this occasion not all three nets had closed properly. But by hard work of Martina and many other team members the problem has been fixed, and the net has been working fine since and captures a wide diversity of organisms from the deep.
The Multi-RMT while being hauled in after one of its first trials going to 1000m depth. At this occasion not all three nets had closed properly. But by hard work of Martina and many other team members the problem has been fixed, and the net has been working fine since and captures a wide diversity of organisms from the deep.

Taking samples and counting

Our group further runs detailed studies on the sea-ice, taking ice-cores and using the drilling holes in ice to study and sample the under ice environment on small scales. On board we have an echosounder almost continuously running to document presence of swarms of fish or krill at depth. From our ‘bird-boxes’ on the Monkey Deck, and sometimes from helicopter, we conduct surveys of marine birds and mammals. In short, we run of lot of activities that keep our team busy day and night. Together in ICEFLUX we try to gather knowledge on the importance of sea-ice for the food webs in the polar oceans.  

Our bird survey boxes are located on top of the ship on the Monkey deck, giving optimal view. The picture was taken early on our trip, with Bram and Jan together training the survey methods. Now they take shifts to conduct counts as continuously as possible.
Our bird survey boxes are located on top of the ship on the Monkey deck, giving optimal view. The picture was taken early on our trip, with Bram and Jan together training the survey methods. Now they take shifts to conduct counts as continuously as possible.

Antarctic ice

Our first sea-ice encounter on this trip was already at 56.5°S, and thus we have already travelled about 1300 km into the ice. Most depressions with rough weather now run to the north of us in the roaring 40s and 50s latitudes.The sea-ice landscapes continue to be magical, as are the animals living in it, both under and above the water. This will continue for considerable time, because we will resupply the Neumayer Station in the next few days, and will then move across the Weddell Sea towards the Antarctic Peninsula. It will likely take a month before we re-enter really unfrozen waters. For us, a white Christmas is guaranteed.

In the margins of the sea-ice, we passed many icebergs with lots of Chinstrap Penguins on them. The size of the small black dots (=penguins) illustrates the size of the berg.
In the margins of the sea-ice, we passed many icebergs with lots of Chinstrap Penguins on them. The size of the small black dots (=penguins) illustrates the size of the berg.

From Polarstern, from all of us, we wish you a wonderful Christmas.

Reacties 7

  • Harma Bouwman

    Beste wensen voor 2015.

  • Paula Nobel

    Ha Jan Andries!

    Mooi je blog te lezen en de foto's te zien! Zoals al gezegd is, erg indrukwekkend!
    Veel succes nog de komende tijd, hopelijk levert de tocht veel nieuwe informatie voor jullie op!! Ook alvast een goede jaarwisseling gewenst en de beste wensen voor 2015!

    Groetjes vanuit een zonnig en droog Amsterdam.

    Paula Nobel
    Redmar Oosterkamp

  • Hanneke van Ommen

    Voor jullie allen daar in het zuiden een fijne kerst.
    Met lieve groeten van Hanneke

  • Mariska en Hermen de Graaf

    Dag Jan Andries, we varen en 'tellen' in gedachten met jullie. Wat een indrukwekkende reis weer. We wensen jullie een voorspoedig onderzoek en veel team spirit.
    Hartelijke groet vanuit een druilerig Kudelstaart.
    Jullie kerstkaart met prachtige sneeuwstormvogel prijkt alweer bij ons aan de wand.

  • Jannie Mel-van Franeker

    Hai broer,
    Geweldig om al dit moois vanuit een groen land rond de kerst te zien. Veel succes op je reis en ik kijk uit naar de volgende berichten. Kus
    Jannie

  • Liesbeth Wieberdink

    Hallo Jan Andries,
    Dankzij Yvonne kunnen we nu meeleven met je avonturen. Weer leuk om te lezen waar jullie mee bezig zijn. Indrukwekkend.
    Wij maken ons op voor een heel andere kerst met ons beider zussen hier in Vinkel.
    Ik wens je een succesvolle missie toe. Dat jullie maar veel nieuwe inzichten zullen verwerven.
    Hartelijke groet, ook namens Andre,
    Liesbeth

    • Pieter van Franeker