I work as an engineer in the Polar Oceans team. I develop instrumentation to collect oceanographic data from beneath the floating ice shelves that surround Antarctica, to help us gain an understanding of how the ocean interacts with these ice shelves. I develop electronic hardware and write the software to make this hardware operate.
Two strings of instruments were installed under the Ronne Ice Shelf in 2014/15, employing inductive modems to communicate with a datalogger on the surface. This logger (based around a Microrobotics VM2 microcontroller) stores the data and sends data back to Cambridge over the iridium satellite network. These systems are powered by solar photovoltaics and battery storage. Eight more similar systems will be installed in 2015/16 – with four under the Petermann Glacier in Greenland, and four under the Filchner Ice Shelf in Antarctica.
Before working in Polar Oceans, I worked as an engineer for the ‘Technology and Engineering’ Team, helping to build a new Superdarn radar to be installed at Halley station. I have also ‘wintered’ at Rothera Station, maintaining the suite of scientific instruments there, as well as carrying out field work – installing and maintaining remote scientific instrumentation. These instruments include high precision GPS stations measuring isostatic uplift, low power magnetometers and VLF radio receivers measuring ionospheric activity.