nk - Measurementes have officially ended today at 11:17 a.m. with the
of the remaining green channel. We suspect this is a problem with the
can be fixed. However, end of measurements were planned for this weekend
The lidar has taken 99 measurements during the last five months, total
amounts to 755 h. The timestamps of 119.912.309.894 photons were
The campaign was a huge success. We are looking forward to analyzing the data in detail during the next months. Benedikt will disassemble the lidar during next week. The instrument and container are expected back in Germany at the end of November and January, respectively.
nk - During last week, the lidar was running with both the green and greenlow channel utilizing the FPGA. The greenlow channel stopped working during during yesterdays measurement, however. Still one week to go, then it will be time to prepare for the shipment back to OP. The night are getting shorter as we head towards summer, which is also seen nicely in the temperature measurements: The stratosphere becomes warmer, and the mesopause colder.
nk - Turned out the electronics board is mounted upside down and we just switched two IO ports yesterday. Connecting the right cables to the right ports - it seems to work! One channel, the APD (upper altitude range, 532 nm) is up again. The measurement is running now. Breakdown of crictical components can't stop us!
nk - But... we still have another FPGA installed, which might be able to count photons, too. The software was adjusted to make it do that yesterday, but todays quick test was not successful.
nk - The technician from the manufacturer of the board confirmed our suspicion that it is probably a hardware defect that we cannot fix on site. It might be that the computer power supply is faulty, which would be easier, but doesn't matter because we can't change it on site anyway. A spare part is at Oberpfaffenhofen, and if its the counter board, that's still on guarantee - but no way to make the lidar going during the next days with the counter board.
nk - Data analysis proceeds and we can present some statistics on the measurements in Lauder so far. The total measurement hours tally 710 hours now! The laser emitted 252'603'449 shots and the total photons detetected are 117'133'603'150. That makes 436 photons returned from one laser pulse, which consists of about 1'000'000'000'000'000'000 photons - quite a photon gradient!
nk - Lidar measurements were abruptly stopped today by problems with the counter board. The PCI board is still detected, but does not pass the I/O test during initialization. It is probably a hardware problem, meaning we can't use the board any more. We are investigating a workaround using our other FPGA for photon detection.
nk - You might wonder that we're still here! Dismantling and shipping
lidar back to Oberpfaffenhofen was actually planned for Sep 24th.
as it was running so well and everyone was very happy.. our campaign was
extended until the end of winter, i.e. the breakdown of the polar
final date for shipment is now November 14th. Benedikt's visa was
although the weather gets slightly worse at the end of winter and the
become shorter, the measurment hours counter clock is still ticking..!
In the meantime several software updates were installed, in order to take the lidar one more step towards autonomous operation. So far, it could be operated from a distance, but it still felt better if that distance was not greater than a hundred meters. The problem with 'global' operation (i.e. us at Oberpfaffenhofen, the lidar at Lauder) is the unreliable internet connection. What if it starts to rain, or the sun rises, and our connections doesn't come back again so we can turn the detectors and close the hatches? Our solution was to install timers that keep counting towards zero, and if they are not resetted manually, they will automatically turn off the detectors, stop the laser and close the hatch. This was successfully implemented and tested by the three of us (Bernd, Natalie and Benedikt) during the last weeks. As a side effect, some software bugs were fixed and the software has not shown any segfaults for a time now.
nk - We have crossed the 500 hrs mark of lidar measurements in Lauder!
working very hard and uses every opportunity for lidar measurements.
the beginning of measurements in June the average measurement time is
Disregarding short gaps due to travels or laser problems (end of June,
of August), the average measurement time is even 7.1 hours/night.
The instrument is still in very good shape. As the data is very interesting, it was decided to prolong Benedikts stay until mid of November.
nk - The three of us will be leaving Lauder tomorrow. Work on the container hardware is finished. Some things remain to be done to make operation fully autonomous, but Benedikt will be here to continue lidar operations until end of September. The last Deepwave radiosonde was launched two nights ago in the storm. We started to fix the hatch of the lidar container with ropes so it won't break.
nk - Everything has been working very well during the last days, or
I should say. We could take measurements almost every night and have
crossed the 200-hours-of-measurements mark. We observed a deep
minimum in the mesosphere which troubled us. Consequently, Benedikt and
changed the setup of the telescope from biaxial back to the original
alignment and carefully aligned the beam. However, this caused no
the measured temperature profiles, which is very good as it means we did
have an issue with the beam overlap and all instrumental issues have
out. Comparison with ECMWF data also show a very good agreement - so
what we are
seeing is indeed real. New Zealands atmosphere continues to surprise us!
be heading towards a stratospheric warming event
during the next days. This is a dramatic and very rare event in the
hemisphere and we would be very lucky to witness.
Meanwhile work on the container software continued. The weather station including temperature sensors, wind speed and direction sensors, rain detector and allsky camera are connected now. The wind speed sensor was soon put into real action as a storm hit us today. We didn't really see that coming. It was very windy for a couple of hours, and the antenna of our wlan network broke. Bernd replaced it in the evening when the wind subsided. Now the night is clear, calm, warm and with beautiful stars. The midnight balloon is safely on its way up.
nk - Yesterday was the last day of the official campaign. Today, the German Falcon and the American GV HIAPER are on their way back home. Currently the Falcon is flying from Sydney to Darwin. It will arrive at Oberpfaffenhofen on July 28th. The personnel in Christchurch is busy packing the equipment to be shipped back, and will then leave New Zealand during the next days.
nk - Benedikt and the three of us are now the last group still at Lauder
while the official campaign is slowly coming to its end. The gas and balloon equipment
was brought to CHC yesterday, Sonja and Romy also drove back to CHC. Meanwhile we have
adjusted our schedules with two nightly operators, which makes life much easier. Work on
container control system proceeds well, also. We try to automate the lidar operation as
much as possible while we are here. Unfortunately there are no measurements tonight due to
clouds, and we had some snow last night. There might be something interesting happening
with the polar vortex and the stratopause altitude right now - we will see.
My thoughts are often with the victims of MH17. Many of us have travelled on the same route during the last weeks. I feel paralyzed.
nk - Benny has set up the spectrometer and performed a test on Friday. He was
using the 40 cm telescope
with a 4 um fibre. Luckily, there were clouds which helped the
alignment. The detector recorded the backscatter signal
from the cloud, yet there were too few photons for detection of a
Rayleigh signal. The conclusion was that the setup
with the fibre is not suited for atmospheric measurements and the
spectrometer will be shipped back
to OP where work on this new technique will continue.
Saturday was a wave event with radiosondes every 1.5 hours. Although the sky was partially clear, this one cloud just above the lidar container did not move the whole night and we didn't get more than a few minutes of lidar data. Sunday, unlike Saturday, is a rainy day with no measurements at all. Monday, on the other hand, was again a 14 hour night with just perfect signal. We also launched the midnight radiosonde; this time by ourselves, as Markus, Maria, Tanja and Martina left for CHC, just as Benny went to catch his flight back home from Queenstown.
Sonja, Romy and Benedikt arrived on Tuesday to continue the radiosonde launches during the last days of the coordinated campaign with the aircraft. Benedikt will stay here until end of September to continue lidar measurements.
sg - The intercomparison flight was successfully conducted on Thursday. The Falcon and the GV
flew some circles at different heights over the east coast of NZ, whereas both aircraft flew
quite close to each other. After the intercomparison flight the Falcon came back to CHC
while the GV moved towards the Tasmanian Sea to collect additional data
that went into numerical forecast models (e.g. dropsonde data).
The next day or better friday night followed a gravity wave mission with the Falcon and the GV flying tracks over Mt. Cook. The Falcon took off at 16:30 NZST and the GV joined at 18:00 NZST. While the Falcon (and the crew) was refueled at 19:30 NZST, the GV flew one leg southward over the ocean east of NZ and looked for trailing waves in the lee of the island. When the GV was back again on the track over Mt. Cook, the Falcon took off again (20:30 NZST). The Falcon is sometimes right below the GV, when both aircrafts are flying on the same track, so no dropsondes are dropped from the GV during such periods of the flights (lucky us!). Besides the airborn measurements, radiosondes were released in Lauder, Hokitika and Haast. Lidar measurements in Lauder were not possible due to clouds.
For tomorrow two gravity wave flights are planned for the Falcon starting early in the morning (05:00 NZST). The wave event is predicted to be strongest at this time and around noon. Too bad the GV can't fly during the day because of their lidar and mesosphere cameras. But they will conduct a short flight in the evening to monitor strong wave signals which should be present in the upper atmosphere over the south Island of NZ although the forcing in the troposphere will vanish according to forecast models (possibly non-orographic gravity waves). Previous to the flight measurements, radiosonde ascents in Lauder will start at midnight and the crew will have intensive 15 hours because radiosondes should be released every 1.5 hours. Hopefully lidar measurements are also possible during the night.
nk - More fluctuations in personnel at Lauder - it's really nice being hosted by and being host for our colleagues for a couple of days. Andreas and Teresa left on Wednesday for CHC, Markus and Maria made their way back from CHC via Hokitika, and Benny also arrived yesterday. Despite having driven the long way on his own, he took up work on his Fizeau spectrometer the same day. Bernd has installed the interference filters for the Raman channel delivered by Teresa and I modified the software to support 3-channel operation. This work was finished yesterday night and right now we operate the Raman channel for the first time. It was raining lightly earlier and unfortunately the full moonlight causes a high background in the Raman channel. But we still see a weak Raman signal above the chopper opening at 14 km. The next IOP will start tomorrow morning with the first radiosonde launch at 6 LT.
sg - Up to now the Falcon completed five research flights. After the first two "gravity wave"-flights on June 30th, the Falcon took off on July 2nd to investigate a tropopause fold, which was located over the western part of the Southern Island. It was a great situation to study the characteristics of N2O and CO in tropospheric and stratospheric air masses in this region. Two days later on July 4th the atmospheric flow conditions again were good for gravity waves triggered by the Southern Alps. To capture the beginning of this event the first flight of the Falcon was from 14:30 to 18:00 NZST. At the same time a C-180 Hercules of the Royal New Zealand Air Force started from CHC towards Auckland and the take-off was quite entertaining for the science team including Markus Rapp, who had come back from Lauder to CHC the previous night.
While the Falcon was refueled and prepared for the second flight, it was time for the GV to start its measurements. Afterwards from 19:30 to 23:00 NZST both aircraft flew some cross mountain legs over the Southern Alps at different heights. This was the first mission, where both aircraft were up in the air in the same region and at the same time.
In the science meeting on the following day, presentations about preliminary data and the current status of the Deepwave mission were given. In addition talks about the instruments on the Falcon and their potential to measure gravity wave characteristics were presented.
The last days there were no reachable gravity wave targets for the Falcon since the flow direction and speed was not favorable for mountain induced gravity waves over the Southern Island. For the GV the focus lay in the region far south of NZ at around 50S, where a strong jet and gravity waves in the upper atmosphere were present. So two flights, a long one (9h) yesterday and a short one (5h) today, were conducted in this region.
For Thursday afternoon an intercomparison flight, where the Falcon and the GV will fly quite close to each other, is planned. This is necessary to find out, how the data of both aircraft fit together. For the weekend another gravity wave event over the Southern Alps is predicted, which will hopefully be the second good case for a coordinated mission of the Falcon and the GV.
nk - Markus Garhammer and Maria drove to Christchurch today for shipment of one radiosonde station back to Munich. Meanwhile, Andreas and Teresa made their way from Christchurch to Lauder and arrived safely in the afternoon. The night is clear although clouds are expected during the second half. We will have one more radiosonde for intercomparison with the lidar at midnight.
nk - A quiet day today, we did some grocery shopping in Alexandra and walked along the Clutha river. The night is perfectly clear. Some moonlight, but very high and stable lidar signal. Two radiosondes were launched for intercomparison with the lidar. As our small telescope is not used currently, we took the chance to look at the southern sky, including the moon, Mars and Saturn, and the Southern Cross. Billions of stars out there ... I was programming the allsky camera which is part of the weather station. I've seen a picture already, but work is not finshed yet. Sometimes it's very hard to work without being able to access programmers manuals on the internet, as this is usually not available on weekends here.
nk - On a cloudy night (Thursday) we went on the hunt for the
message bug. We catched it at 3 am. When the network
signal was low, the load on the router increased, which caused
large messages to be queued and then there was
the possibility for them to be mixed. This caused the receiving
programs to crash. Right now, it's running for
more than an hour, and I feel quite confident we have solved this
one too. (Update: We have, never crashed again.)
Today was a nice sunny day, relatively warm too, and we were amazed by the clouds. Shortly after noon, thin cirrus clouds started to form and showed small scale features at different scales just like I know from noctilucent clouds. We have never seen such wave structures in tropospheric clouds before. On the Dunstan mountains, we saw strong fall winds taking the snow off the mountains. There were single clouds forming and changing quickly. It was just amazing to watch. Now, finally, it has become dark enough and our lidar is up and running. This will be a good night for waves!
nk - Our original plan was to head back to Lauder on Sunday to be ready for
the nightly measurement,
but on Sunday morning Sonja came with the latest weather forecast saying
it was too cloudy for
lidar measurements. So we enjoyed a free Sunday in the Christchurch
area. It was a beautiful day and
we drove to Akaroa on the Banks peninsula, enjoying the views on a
fjord-like landscape and visited a
historic lighthouse, which was great fun for Felix.
After seeing the Falcon take off to its first flight on Monday morning we left for Lauder, this time driving the alternative route on SH 8, which is only slightly longer and passes some lakes and mountains inland.
Tuesday night we mounted the beam stabilization camera for the lidar. We tested the software that moves the beam in specific patterns to obtain the calibration matrix that maps camera pixels to piezo mirror steps and to automatically find the beam. This worked well, although there are some adjustments to be made to make it fully operational. One more software problem concerns the message transfer protocol which breaks down every once in a while when the network connection is weak. This does not affect the lidar control program and data storage, but only a part of the user interface.
Our director Markus Rapp came to visit NIWA station on Wednesday and Thursday. He gave a talk on IPA activities in general and during Deepwave and was shown around the station by Ben. We enjoyed dinner again at the Lauder pub (darts night today: more than 15 people!) together with the radiosonde team. Wednesday was the first day with a little bit of snow, too, such that the green lidar beam was nice to look at sparkling in the snow, but of course wasn't able to make good middle atmosphere measurements that night. Nevertheless, although its a long way from Christchurch, so far all visitors felt that it was worth coming here.
The DLR research aircraft Falcon arrived in Christchurch at 13:30 LT. On the way from Oberpfaffenhofen (Germany) to Christchurch the Falcon stopped in Catina (Italy), Larnaca (Cyprus), Bahrain, Muscat (Oman), Hyderabad (India), U-Tapao (Thailand), Brunei, Darwin (Australia) and Sydney. The crew of the Falcon experienced lots of different countries and cultures in those 6 days.
nk - We left for Christchurch in the afternoon on Thursday and reached Andreas and Sonjas place at 8 pm. The drive
along the coast on SH 1 was quiet. We've seen the famous circular boulders near
Oamaru from a distance and shortly stopped at the Penguin colony at Oamaru harbour at sunset. Andreas, Sonja,
Johannes and Stefan had prepared dinner and we enjoyed the free evening.
On Friday we visited the Deepwave base at the hangar of the US Antarctic Program at Christchurch airport, where we attended the daily planning meeting and talked to our American colleagues. Felix and I also had the chance to see the research aircraft from inside. And something else - we went to see a real Kiwi bird in a close-by wildlife park in the afternoon, which was great.
nk - Last night we tracked and fixed a software bug that affected the storage of the counted photons. It was in an unexpected part of the code, but once we had the thought that this could be the cause of our overlap problem we were sure it must be there and we would find it. Actually, it caused only one bit to be overwritten with zero, such that the last photon of the profile always belonged to channel 0. Although we cannot restore the bit (checksums on the list but not yet implemented), knowing what it did we can at least reanalyze the data we have in a correct way. Work on the software was finished at 3 am on Thursday 26th and subsequent measurements proved that this was the main cause of the remaining overlap problem.
sg - After the transportation of the Vaisala radiosonde system to Lauder and the handover of the radiosonde duty
to our radiosonde crew from Munich and Innsbruck last weekend, we had a busy week in Christchurch. Everday weather
forecasts under the direction of Richard Turner (NIWA) as well as dropsonde quality control during the night-time
flights of the GV filled our days. In addition some special events happened during this week.
First of all we had some personal changes. Philipp Reutter and Stefan Mueller from Mainz arrived in CHC on Tuesday, Johannes Wagner from Innsbruck on Friday. Mareike left today after two weeks of work on the MTP retrieval, radiosondes and dropsondes.
On Friday we had the first scientific meeting with presentations of preliminary data of the last weeks. The next day was the deepwave media event and public open house organised by Alison Rockwell from NCAR. More than 200 visitors attended and the GV was the main attraction for this event. It's a pity that the Falcon missed the event, but the arrival on the 27th of June was announced in the news (see OneNews).
nk - Deepwave was on the New Zealand news today and the local residents
have noticed a "super-power laser beam"
in the sky. Several NIWA employees received phone calls and text
messages from people living at
distances up to 5 km. With a green light and Felix, probably everyone
knows us here by now.
As it was our initial plan, we have taken up remote operation of the lidar. The beam is visible from our kitchen window (meaning WLAN reception is best there) and that's where we have set up our lidar operation center. Besides checking that the software still saves data and realigning the piezo every once in a while the lidar requires no further actions while running. Startup and shutdown still include manual tasks but take only about five minutes. The plan is to fully automate it during the next weeks.
nk - What we have seen last night might have been a real inversion layer, because today it was gone. Temperature profiles seem to be fine up to 50 km, but are too low further up. We realigned the laser divergence and the telescope in all possible combinations for several hours, and managed to get a better result. It is possible to analyze for gravity waves. However the overlap is still not perfect at 80 km. We are waiting for an external beam expander to minimize the divergence further.
nk - Since yesterday mountain waves have surprised us with a variety of wavy
clouds. They were placed horizontally
at fixed distances, did not move with the wind and were sometimes
stacked in four layers. It was beautiful to watch.
Several radiosondes were successfully launched every three hours during that time. The weather also permitted lidar operations. We could activate the gating of the APD, so we had signal in the altitude range 20-80 km. However, when analyzing the data we realized we could not calculate meaningful temperatures. We tried to optimize the laser beam divergence again and the fibre in the focal point of the telescope. This did not improve the signal so we changed the mount of the fibre to the telescope to place it into the center of the telescope axis, but this also did not help.
So we moved to the big telescope which has a bigger field of view and stands closer to the laser beam. It was aligned quickly and temperatures looked better except for a large distortion around 60 km. We saw something similar during test measurements in Oberpfaffenhofen when the chopper was mis-aligned. Bernd could exclude that this was a chopper issue. This means we still don't have a perfect overlap above 60 km.
nk - Signal up to 80 km with APD and PMT.
nk - We have now minimized the laser beam divergence and it is not
possible to see the beam widening by eye. It is also easy to spot
cloud layers: if there is a bright spot at the end of the beam, there is
a thick cloud, if there is a bright spot
in between, it's a thin cloud. Either way, it
makes no sense to continue aligning.
But finally we see some stars. We think we found the focus of the small telescope. With the PMT behind a 8 % beam splitter, we get 0.02 cnts/km in the 40-50 km range, which is a good signal between 20 and 60 km altitude. The channel without beam splitter does not perform better, which means there is another issue, possibly the fibre is not as good.
Right now we have recorded the first 100 MB (June 18th, 1:23 LT) of measurements for this campaign. We also started the NIWA aerosol lidar, which can provide data for the troposphere and lower stratosphere. The plan for tomorrow is to integrate the APD and then run two channels with the APD measuring until 80 km.
Work on soft- and hardware continues besides making measurements. A fan was added to the receiver electronics, the weather station including all-sky camera was mounted on top of the container, the touchscreen inside is working. Switching relais for heaters etc inside the container is integrated into the framework of the lidar control software. The container is still not connected to the internet, which makes it hard to work on the software when relying on svn servers or installing libraries. The WLAN signal is very weak in the office, in the container, and in our house.
nk - After thinking hard (and a phone call to Christian) we came up with a
brilliant (that is to say: easy) idea to reduce the laser beam
divergence. Bernd adjusted the beam
expander inside the laser with the laser beam in the sky, I looked
through the astronomical telescope
at the point in the clouds where the laser beam ended. Within 30 seconds
the beam diameter was reduced
to 20 %. Finally, this looked like a decent lidar beam. Now we are
measuring in clouds up to 50 km with the small telescope.
The ultimate goal is 80 km, of course, but we'll have to wait for clear
sky conditions to finish aligning the
telescope. If this doesn't make it, we can change the fibre. The next
step then is to switch to the large telescope.
The balloon launches yesterday were very successful. During last night, the temperature increased from 1 to 12 deg, so we had a nice day and had a walk on the Rail Trail (with views of the wavy clouds above the mountains). The second radiosonde group (Markus, Martina, Tanja and Maria) arrived safely in Lauder today. The first group will return to Christchurch tomorrow. This evening, all of us including Hamish went to the Lauder pub together. We just might have doubled the population of Lauder!
sg - After a nice drive from CHC to Lauder with a stop at the Moreaki Boulders we (Mareike, Sonja, Neal, Azusa) arrived
at NIWA station shortly after sunset. Hamish from NIWA showed us around and helped us to set up the radiosonde groundstations.
We were glad to see that the helium Bernd had ordered for us at around 11:30am the same day, had already arrived. The one we brought
from Germany is still in CHC and we hope that it will be transported to Lauder during the next week.
After everthing was set up we got some sleep before starting with the radiosonde ascents with the Vaisala system at 5am the next day. So it was a short night for all of us. The preparations for the first launch took longer than we had expected but everything went fine and the first sonde reached a height of about 35 km. So we are now launching sondes every 3 hours in a team of 2 people so that the other two could rest inbetween. It's planned to release sondes the whole night until 6am NZST.
Meanwhile we detected that the Graw sounding system doesn't work. The sounding-software doesn't receive a signal although we can see/hear it in the mircophone recorder of the laptop. We'll contact the graw support later and will try an update of the software.
nk - After having slept few hours during daytime on Friday, we hoped that the missing signal was due to icing on the beam guiding mirror only. This however was only a part of the problem, as tonights test have shown. We continued changing fibre and PMT inside of the detector. The second fibre yielded better results, however this was not a perfectly clear night and adjustment is very difficult in cloudy conditions. Another issue is putting the fibres inside the focal point of the telescopes. It seems we have not accomplished this yet. However we now feel that this is an alignment issue concerning the telescope rather than a technical problem.
nk - Tonight (12./13. June), we installed the receiver, started the data acquisition software and sent the first laser beam into the sky. This was all working well so far, except that we did not get a lidar signal upwards from 50 km, which was true for both telescopes. We were worried, because the laser beam seemed to be more divergent than we were used to and this would have been a serious problem. On the other hand, the night was exceptionally cold with ice forming quickly on all surfaces. The inside of the right part of the container was glowing green.
nk - Yesterdays cooling system test was successful. Including the laser pump
the container consumes 3 kW power and temperature inside the container
Work continues in the right part of the container where the telescope is being set up. Our last equipment arrived today, twelve days late, including the last telescope parts and hatch motor. (And our personal gear, including a Spätzlereibe, so for celebration we had Käsespätzle for lunch - but more important: our clothes and Felix' toys). The hatch motor was installed today and the hatch opened smoothly.
Felix discovered several sheep (didn't want to be petted) a few meters behind the lidar container. The balloon starting place is actually completely surrounded by sheep. Radiosondes were delivered today also. Ballon gas from the overseas container is still to be delivered.
The weather is improving with no fog and patches of clear sky. You can see the mountains again. There are scheduled flights of the HIAPER aircraft to Tasmania tonight and the night after.
mk - After an eventful flight we arrived in Christchurch. Our long flight
around half the world led us to Dubai, from which the connecting flight
led us to Sydney. During the start we were able to make out the shape
of the Burj Khalifa in the dust. 1.5h into the flight an anouncement
from the captain informed us, that due to a medical emergency we needed
to return to Dubai. Since the aircraft carried enough fuel for a 14-hour
flight to Sydney, we would be to heavy to land, so fuel would be released
through pipes on the back of the wings. (Spectacular sight! - I still
hope I won't have to watch it again... ) We returned to Dubai, and -
still sitting in the aircraft - "enjoyed" the 1-hour break for
re-fuelling and catering (we already had had a meal). This brought
our total time in this particular aircraft up to 19(!) hours.
Finally arriving in Sydney, we were glad to find a place where we could strech out our legs, while waiting for the last connecting flight to Christchurch. It was already Monday, when we finally cleared customs and arrived in our holiday house, which will be our home for the next weeks.
After a couple of hours of sleep, filling the pantrys in the kitchen with enough food for a week, and having breakfast (around noon), we drove to the Antarctic survey building at the Christchurch airport to meet our American colleagues at the hangar. We made introductions and got the grand tour of the office spaces and the hanger.
However, we still don't know where to find the overseas container... See pictures
nk - Work on the lidar container itself is finished. The climate control
system ist active. The container is isolated, heated,
dehumidified and the cooling system was filled with water and tested
successfully. The window can be opened automatically.
The hatch motor and parts of the telescope are still not delivered. Hopefully this will arrive on Tuesday. However there was no lidar weather since last Tuesday (fog and light rain) and probably won't be during next week too, so we have not yet missed any chances for measurement due to the delayed shipment.
Andreas and Sonja were expected to land in Christchurch tonight after their flight from Dubai was delayed and they missed the flight from Sydney to Christchurch.
nk - Just a short note of some practical stuff: A large supermarket is located
in Alexandra, which you
reach from Lauder in about 30 min. It is called New World and is at your
right if you just stay on the main
road and go to the right in the roundabout. There is a gas station in
Omakau (11 min), and also a small supermarket.
There seems to be no mobile phone access at Lauder. You can buy telephone cards at the Omakau store to use with the landline phones in the hostels for making overseas calls (5 c/min to Germany). Garbage is collected right next to the lidar building, recycling containers can be found in Omakau (before leaving Omakau, to your right), next to the wool storage.
Food in the Lauder pub is very good (darts on Wednesday night) and there is a popular question night in the Chatto Creek pub, half way to Alexandra, on a Friday night.
nk - The lidar container was delivered this morning and set up. Right now it
is being connected to power. Everything looks fine so far.
Overpasses of the GV on its first flight are planned for 18 and 22 local time today. We would be able to run the NIWA aerosol lidar, but the weather does not permit lidar measurements today.
Today is Day 0 of the Deepwave campaign. There are daily planning meetings at Christchurch at 13 local time (telecon) and status reports are available via the field catalog.
The laser and receiver were delivered today also. The parcels sent three weeks ago by air freight are with customs at Christchurch.
The second group from IPA, Andreas and Sonja, are in transit to Christchurch during the next two days.
nk - Second day with fog, and no signs from our equipment. The ship with the lidar container apparently has reached New Zealand on May 31th, which is eight days late. We do not know at the moment where the container and all of our other parcels are. Had we known the shipment was delayed, we would have had more time to work on the sodium system and have travelled to New Zealand later.
nk - We went for a walk on the Otago Central Rail Trail starting from Lauder towards the river bridge on Saturday. The railway was build in 1900 to support the gold mining in the Dunstan range. It was operated until 1991. Now the trails are removed, and the track is a popular biking trail. (Gallery)
Probably the largest gold mining site in the 1860s was St Bathans close to the mountains, which is just a 20 minute drive from Lauder. The mine has filled with water and now makes up Blue Lake. It is possible to walk around the lake and few of the historic buildings are left. (Gallery)
nk - After sunrise we finally got to see our surroundings. A hilly, green landscape with cows showed in front of our kitchen window. Snow-capped mountain ranges in the background. A beautiful picture, a wonderful day, with sunshine and not a single cloud. Mike gave a talk on his instrument and science, Ben Liley from the station here gave us a tour on the different instruments hosted at NIWA station.
Scientific measurements at Lauder date back to the 70s, the station and buildings were built from 1961. When we returned from the pub this evening, where we again went to with our American colleagues to eat and play some dart (and today we weren't the only guests!), the aerosol lidar was running - the familiar view of a 532 nm lidar beam into the sky with a bright Milky way, this time from the Southern hemisphere.
None of our parcels have arrived yet. It's the Queens birthday on Monday - so we might have to wait until Tuesday for this to happen.
nk - We had a long but quiet trip via Singapore to Christchurch and on to Lauder, where we were greeted by our American colleagues Mike Taylor, Dominique Pautet and Neal Criddle. The flight to Singapore was relatively turbulent such that Felix had to be on my lap almost all the way. We slept some hours at the Singapore transit hotel which was a very good idea. The flight to New Zealand above Australia was very, very quiet and we reached New Zealand at sunrise. It looked quite small in west-east direction with the Alps in the west and flat land, green and with bush fences on the eastern side. We saw a strongly meandering river and the first sheep even before we landed. Winter has not arrived yet, the countryside still looked green.
After pickup of our rental car we went to buy groceries (which is just north of the rental car pickup, called the Hornby Hub, and from there you are already on right track down the coast to Lauder). Well, it was perfect summer weather when we arrived, almost 20 deg and sunshine. Just after we left Christchurch however a cloud drew nearer and when it hit us, it was frighteningly windy. There is not much to protect you on that coastal road from westerly winds. After some hours we turned towards east and the road led us into mountains and over a pass. This is a fascinating, otherwordly landscape and very very lonely. We didn't see a single house for quite a while. We did not stop in order to reach Lauder before the forecasted snowfall which might have caused the road to be closed. We made it shortly after sunset.
We found NIWA station after driving past (which probably everyone does the first time when its dark) and met our colleagues there. They showed us our house, we turned on the heaters and left for the Lauder pub to have something to eat. Lauder has an estimated population of 19 (including sheep, Mike said), but we didn't see a single light turned on in the houses of Lauder at 7 pm. There were three guys at the pub but left shortly after we arrived, so we were the only guests.
nk - The last days before our departure were quite busy and we've had some bad luck. Christian fell ill and unfortunately couldn't come with us to New Zealand. Packing the shock-sensitive and prime instrument parts took longer than expected on the weekend. Bernd finished working on the receiver and the laser the night before we left. It was decided last Friday not to bring the OPO which produces the sodium wavelength to New Zealand. However, we will have a powerful Rayleigh lidar with 12 Watt at 532 nm. The last parcels were ready to be send by airplane on Tuesday morning.
nk - The first group of us will travel from Munich to New Zealand on May 27th and the last lidar equipment will also be sent on May 27th. From Christchurch airport, it will be a 5 hour drive to Lauder and we plan to arrive there on May 29th.
nk - Welcome to our homepage about the DLR IPA contributions to the Deepwave campaign in New Zealand. The campaign starts in about three weeks from now and we are busy preparing our instruments and arranging for transfer of equipment and personnel to New Zealand. We plan to provide you with news on operations and data during the campaign.