First view of 2019 field site

It’s an unusually warm 17 C here in Svalbard this week, and the glaciers are responding by shedding their winter snow rapidly. In this short drone clip you can see the areas where snow melt has exposed the glacier ice underneath and dirty streaks where debris has washed over the surface. I’m expecting these warm … Continue reading First view of 2019 field site

Svalbard UAV: Lessons learned

Here are a few things I learned after ten days of field testing the UAV multispectral data acquisition in Svalbard... Video showing take off in stabilize mode, switch to loiter mode at about 5 m, quick control test then into automatic mission.  1. The UAV is surprisingly robust. The aircraft was transported to the sites … Continue reading Svalbard UAV: Lessons learned

Svalbard UAV tests

Having made successful UAV test flights at home in the Peak District, we have relocated to Svalbard for a week to test the equipment in the most challenging possible conditions. We are flying in temperatures as low as -10 C, in gusty wind and after pulling the UAV to the field site in its flight … Continue reading Svalbard UAV tests

Nutrient Cycling on Glaciers 1: Nitrogen

Nutrient cycling has been a central theme of glacier microbiology in the twenty-first century. Here is a run-down of the fundamentals, focussing on the major ones: nitrogen and carbon. Nitrogen's up first... The Nitrogen Cycle: Nitrogen is a key nutrient required for synthesising crucial organic molecules such as nucleotides, proteins, and chlorophyll. Nitrogen availability also … Continue reading Nutrient Cycling on Glaciers 1: Nitrogen

The old boys: ahead of the curve!

In the past decade or so, interest in glacier microbiology and "bioalbedo" has intensified, but it is important to remember that these ideas are not new. In fact, the early polar explorers wrote on these topics over 150 years ago and even identified species of algae in cryoconite and the role of ice algae for … Continue reading The old boys: ahead of the curve!