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Dispatch 6: "Sushi" on Ice

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Mengnan Zhao

September 23, 2015

With increasingly dense ice coverage, the Louis began to show her character of an “icebreaker”. Her specially designed hull enables her to propel onto the ice, and break through by gravity to clear a path. The ice is still thin, but Cadet Navigator Geoffery Oliver showed us a video of a similar icebreaker breaking thick ice. The ship’s hull rose up onto the ice, and then dropped down heavily to break the floes. I could imagine that might be the sound and feeling we will experience in a couple of days as we head further into the pack to begin our on-ice work.

The ice-study-group was excited to begin their measurements. Kazu Tateyama from Kitami Institute of Technology (KIT) is interested in measuring ice thickness. He uses an instrument called the Shipborne Electromagnetic Induction Device (EM), a tube shaped device affectionately referred to as “Sushi”. It is hung from the side of the ship and uses the process of electromagnetic induction to determine the distance to the bottom of the ice. The ice thickness can be determined by comparing this measurement to the distance to the ice surface (measured by a laser).

Kazu and his group have been making these measurements since 2003. By comparing their measurements with satellite data, they were able to revise the algorithm used to calculate ice thickness from satellite data. Kazu is also tutoring a student, Shin Toda, from Tokyo University, who will join another cruise after this one to continue with this work in the Antarctic.

Last updated: October 7, 2019

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