Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Being at Utsteinen and Princess Elisabeth again

Since Friday late afternoon I am now back at Utsteinen, at Princess Elisabeth station. It’s nice to be here again. The flight with the Ilyushin went without issues. The weather at Novo Air base was very windy and by times the visibility became worse and we thought that we might even be stuck in Novo. But it cleared up again and two hours after arrival in Novo, Reinhard, Lionel and I took off with the Twin Otter, direction Utsteinen. As the Twin Otter cannot carry as much payload as a Basler, we had to leave most of the cargo at Novo – and therefore we decided also that two of us, Nicolas and Christophe would stay in Novo. Unfortunately, they had to stay until Monday afternoon in Novo because of the overall bad weather there. In the meantime, I had a look to the bunch of instruments I have deployed here. The Brewer (ozone  spectrophotometer) and the sunphotometer are well and are waiting for some calm weather to be installed on the roof again. The wind is too strong at the moment and working on the roof is not really to be recommended. The UV-Vis radiation measurement box on the roof had to be dismounted for a check of the datalogger inside. After this, we mounted it again on the roof and it is operational again. The instruments of the Hydrant project of KULeuven http://ees.kuleuven.be/hydrant/ are also in the pipeline to be started up again. The ceilometer has warmed up inside and routine checks have been done. Yesterday around noon we installed it on the roof and it is operational again now. The precipitation radar and the pyrometer (cloud temperature) still need to be checked. Some pyrometer replacement items arrived just yesterday with the flight from Novo and today Erik and I made the necessary tests inside. The weather station is also well. But beginning of November there was a huge storm which brought around 40 cm of snowfall accumulation within a few days. The weather station instruments are therefore only 215 cm above ground – which is probably not enough for a whole next year-round of measurements. Therefore, we have already foreseen in our cargo a special mast extension set, with which we can lift the meteo instrumentation up again. I also checked the aerosol instruments in the special shelter. The aethalometer, TEOM and the particle counter are operational again. After the 6 months without power and in the cold I had to check if they are safe to be started up again (snow inside, cleaning of parts, replacement of filters, replacement of the cooling fan of the aethalometer, checking the tubings, etc). The laser particle sizer needs a bit more care – the laser window has to be cleaned regularly in order to have enough laser power arriving in the measurement chamber. Yesterday I could bring this laser power already high enough for sufficiently good measurements, but it needs further cleaning. Unfortunately, the nephelometer (light scattering by particles) does not want to start up again. The reason is not clear yet – I will take it inside the station where I can investigate the electronics and other parts more comfortably than in the shelter.

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