Windy Dome Weather Station

Ice Core Drilling

In the spring of 1997, a joint team of researchers from the Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow) and The Ohio State University (Department of Geological Sciences and Byrd Polar Research Center) began an exciting deep ice drilling program in the high Russian Arctic, on the summit of Kupol Vyetreniy (Windy Dome), Graham Bell Island (81oN, 64oE). This ice dome has a very symmetrical shape, maximum ice thickness of about 500-550m, and a peak elevation of about 580m. The University of Massachusetts Climatology Laboratory is collaborating in this effort by providing and supporting an automated weather station at the site. Funding is being provided by NASA.

 The archipelago of Franz Josef Land, on the northern rim of the continental shelf that underlies the Barents Sea, is the northernmost land mass in the Eastern Hemisphere. Here, the climate is influenced greatly by the intrusion of Atlantic-derived cyclonic systems that feed moisture into the region, and as a consequence, Franz Josef Land has unusually mild summers for its latitude. In the polar night (wintertime), however, the conditions become extremely harsh, with average temperatures diving down to -25 to -30oC. This means that Franz Josef Land is at an excellent location for studying changes in sea ice cover in the Arctic, since it lies in the region between the modern-day seasonal maximum (February) and minimum (September) sea ice modern-day seasonal maximum (February) and minimum (September) sea ice cover. Satellite measurements of sea ice extent are being used in conjunction with stratigraphic profiles of sea-salt aerosols (Cl-, SO42-) from short cores (up to 24m) drilled in 1994 to develop a transfer function that will allow the ice core sea-salt record to be used as a proxy for changing sea ice cover in the surrounding Barents Sea.

  Windy Dome is likely to contain a record of local and regional conditions extending back to at least the early Holocene (8,000 to 10,000 years), and it is hoped that glacial stage ice is archived there as well. During the 1997 field season a 315 meter core and a 36 meter ice core were successfully recovered. These will be analyzed over the next few years.



Images from the 1997 coring expedition (Victor S. Zagorodnov photos):

Windy Dome automated weather station (1)

 Windy Dome automated weather station (2)

 OSU/RAS camp on Graham Bell Island