In addition to carbon cycle relevant measurements of atmospheric greenhouse gasess, my field research is closely linked to the laboratory analysis of stable isotopes in ice cores from polar regions. More recently we have been investigating the role of water vapor isotopes in the atmosphere above the greenland ice sheet. This is important because not only does the atmosphere transfer climate information to the ice sheet via precipitation that eventually makes up the ice core record, but the ice sheet exchanges water vapor with the atmosphere between snow storms, and possibly during them.
To do this we have employed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV's) or drones to collect air samples that we analyze. In 2018 we deployed a multi-rotor drone to prove the concept of remote sampling capability to ~500 meters above the ice sheet at the EGRIP Ice Core site in NE Greenland. In 2019 we used a fixed wing (3 meter wing span) UAV to collect samples 1,500 meters above the ice sheet, well into the planetary boundary layer. Results from these studies will deepen our understanding of the ice core record as well as shed light on direct sublimation of the ice sheet and the surface mass balance of Greenland.