Diverse microbial habitats on the GRIS

We are now well into planning 2017 field work so I revisited some archive footage from previous trips. The short clip below provides a good summary of the great diversity of microbial habitats that exist, even within a very small area of ice. These include cryoconite holes, a cryo-pond (the big cryoconite and water filled pool), algal blooms on the ice surface, dispersed cryoconite, streams, cryoconite ‘alluvium’ stranded on the stream banks, weathered ice  and the snowpack. The clip also shows how hummocky and non-uniform the ice surface is near the margin of the ice sheet.

 

To get a better idea of how these habitats are arranged spatially we also flew a small UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) with a downwards-looking HD camera. The clip below shows some of the footage. The winds were pretty strong and you can actually see the landing gear bow into shot every so often. We’ll have a more sophisticated UAV system in Greenland in 2017 that will collect images at specific wavelengths of light.

Finally, here is a short clip of the 2016 team at the S6 camp enjoying a beautiful full moon over the ice sheet. This site is well into the ‘dark zone’ where impurity loading is very high. We’ll be back there this summer to measure the effect of this on the reflectivity and therefore melt rate of the ice sheet.

 

 

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Disclaimer!

Today I found my name in the following paper:

http://www.journalrepository.org/media/journals/JGEESI_42/2017/Jan/Herndon912016JGEESI30834.pdf

I was contacted by the author several months ago when he requested two images of mine to use for some work on cryoconite. I sent them, thinking I was doing a good thing by helping a fellow scientist. Today, I was surprised to see that they have been used in a paper that claims that there is a conspiracy to create synthetic cryoconite and air-drop it onto glaciers to speed up their melting.

My opinion is that the evidence presented does not support the conclusions drawn in the paper. That my name is printed in it is in no way an endorsement from me. The enlightening reviewer comments are available to view online at the journal webpage.