In addition to all of the equipment we are putting out on the Sørsdal Glacier this season, there are two measurement towers already out on the ice. These were installed last year and have a number of instruments on them as well as cameras on the top. The towers are at Horseshoe Lake and Twin Lakes and the cameras have been trained on the lakes, hoping to capture the evolution through the year. This season one tower is suppose to come down and be brought back to station and we are adding more instruments to the other tower to monitor conditions at the site.
The Twin Lakes tower was suppose to come down before we arrived on station but some particularly inclement weather prevented access at the time. We managed to access the tower and remove the camera and a few instruments but had not had time to take it down. Finally we managed to find the opportunity and weather to visit Twin Lakes Tower and attempt to take it down. The tower was installed near the lake and there had been concerns about it ending up in the lake. We’d been monitoring this as we flew over at different times and were happy during a previous visit that is was still outside the lake are and that the surrounding snow was still relatively deep. What a difference a couple of weeks make, we landed off to the side of the tower and noticed most of the snow was gone but the area seemed to be solid. However, as we began to steam drill around the base of the tower we realised that in our absence the lake had expanded and later frozen over at the surface. So, the tower was technically in the lake! After drilling though the ice surface there was at least a metre of rather chilly water before the actual surface of the glacier. While the ice surface was easily thick enough for us to work on safely we decided that extracting the tower from it’s watery location would likely mean at least one of us ended up soggy and cold and so we retreated back to station with the idea that we would return with more water resistant plans.
At Horseshoe Lake we have installed more instruments onto the tower and are hoping to collected detailed meteorological data over the rest of the season so that we can better investigate how the lakes form and grow over the height of the melt season.