On board: Al Howland (pilot), Amélie Kirchgaessner (co-pilot/mission scientist), Barbara Brooks, Tom Lachlan-Cope
The intention of the flight plan was to measure high sensible fluxes at the ice edge in an area north of Svalbard, forecast by the Met Office model. Satellite imagery indicated cloud streets which looked like they would nevertheless allow a descent to low level. After a beautiful transit, we arrived in the area, to find that the clouds extended all the way down to the deck, so we could not get low enough to perform the flux measurements over open water. We did an 30-minute low level run at 100ft over the sea ice northwards, followed by a spiral ascend to 3000ft and a descend to 200ft heading back southwards along our track.
The next part of the flight was dedicated to aerosol measurements. Two legs were flown in the sea smoke parallel to the ice edge W-E at 100ft, returning at 150ft. At this point, due to strong tail winds, we were given additional science time. This was used to fly one leg W-E over the sea ice at 100ft, returning E-W at 300ft over the sea smoke of the open water. We then headed back towards Longyearbyen airport (LYR), flying a saw tooth pattern. Both, top and bottom limit of the “teeth” were determined by the thickness of the cloud at the respective location. After each ascent and descent respectively 2 minutes were flown straight and level. This brought us to the northern end of Wijdefjorden, where we descended to 100ft under completely cloud free conditions, to sample some turbulent fluxes over open water before we reached the edge of the Fjord ice. We continued at low level for a scenic flight home, spotting some seals, a couple of walruses, and plenty of polar bear tracks, before we ascended to 5000ft for the transit back to LYR.