Dr. Cotton's journal and slide show from St. Croix during ICE-T

ICE-T power point slides

18 July 19, 2011
 I began my adventure of visiting the ICE-T field program in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands with a flight to Miami.  My layover was supposed to be 5.5hrs but it turned out to be almost 7 hours as they  shut down the ramp ops due to lightning  in Miami  and it took an hour  long to get the plane fueled. I arrived in St. Croix about 10:30PM and after over 30 minutes to get a rental car I attempted to find the Buccaneer Hotel. I felt I must have toured half the island finding my way to Christiansted and eventually the hotel outside of town.  After much meandering around the hilly roads with very few signs I found the road that the hotel is on. It seemed a long distance in the dark following the windy road until I found the hotel sign. I finally got to bed around midnight.

19 July  I woke up about 0600 and took a jog around the hotel campus following golf cart roads. The hotel  is on a hill so it was down and then up. I think I jogged about 2 miles and even though the sun was not high it was a hot, sweaty jog. I then went to breakfast about 0715 expecting to see ICE-T participants to help me figure out where the briefing room was. Nope, no one there but replied to Al Schonot’s(former CSU grad) e-mail asking where everyone was meeting. So I found the room down by the beach.  I got a ride out to the airport with Al Schnot.  He had to escort me to the plane owing to airport security.  I toured the plane and while they were scheduled to take off at noon, just like American Airlines they had a problem with the data system network so I am waited for their takeoff to be escorted off the tarmac and then driven back to the hotel. I could use a nap given my only 5 hours of sleep.
  I met Vanbana(means prayer) who is interested in doing a PhD. She has a EE degree and is getting her MS under Jim Hudson at U of Nevada-Reno.  I will pass the info on to my colleagues at CSU. 
 It was decided to be a down day as several components of the data system were not operating properly. This is the way of field programs.
 I finally got a ride back to the hotel.  After a brief nap I tried to try out the free sit on- top kayaks. But as has been my experience previously I could not obtain enough back support to feel comfortable. I tried various variations on the set up but finally gave up.   I then drove towards town and picked up some breakfast stuff and snacks I could eat.  I was more than bit shocked at the cost of the few number of items. But considering that breakfast at the hotel cost $16 it was worth it.
Aside from the heat and humidity I enjoyed sitting out on my patio viewing the bays and Christensted  . After a cocktail hour including steel drum music, a few of us went up the road and had dinner, It was OK but not great. The no-see-ums were having a feast on us too.
20 July
 I took a jog around the hotel  campus. I am going to have to get up earlier as there were few clouds and the sun beat down on me at 0615! The humidity is really bad.

So far flight operations are delayed owing to the absence of clouds. It was finally decided to cancel operations owing to just shallow cumuli. However by the end of the day I saw some cumulonimbi at both ends of the island.

So I took a drive in search of the place we stayed the summer of 1969. Well the place has changed. There is now an open air restaurant called Eat@CaneBay, where I ate lunch and a dive shop where our old Danish walled place is now embedded.  Several  of the other units are still there but greatly modified as they are now  fully enclosed while the areas were previously screened-in areas and decks were added. The grounds are rutted from driving cars all over the place. The beach has a few widely spaced coconut trees where it was a jungle-like forest along the road previously. I suspect Hugo took out much of the foliage and probably heavily damaged the units that were there originally. I then drove east on the island a ways to see what was there. The road is very potholed at that end of the island, but there are some very expensive looking homes and a large yacht club.

Evening mid-project overview meeting:

Most flights were in the 5000-6000m range.  Ian asked if the lower levels have been sampled enough given what happens in the warm region impacts the evolution of the ice phase.  Some comment  about the importance of the cloud base measurements.
Jeff Stith—showing images from ??? dayRF07) -1C or so seeing graupel  and by -6C seeing small ice crystals likely due to rime-splinter. By -12C dominated by vapor grown crystals. Summary just above 0C some graupel and then colder rime-splinter circumstantial evidence with dominance of vapor-grown crystals at colder temps.
Next slide—doubts we have documented the onset of ice prior to secondary ice formation.
Suggested save enough flight hours for when radar is operating.  Also consider a couple of rapid return Lagrangian exps

Paul Lawson:  overviewed history of CPI which lead to the new 3D CPI. Then some geewiz images of mixed phase clouds.  Regions of all water and all ice can be seen at -12C. Significant SLWC at -20C
Clouds are composed of multiple bubbles. Rapid change for liquid to ice under 2 minutes.

Dave ?  UW RF01—again emphasizing cloud bubbles—Radar reflectivity—a bit of new instruments u

Jim Hudson—finding much lower conc’s of CCN aloft compared to lower levels.
I lost most of my notes from here on, but it was mostly presentations of what my instrument did or did not do. I gather the University of Wyoming radar only operated the first day but it has been fixed and hopefully will be operational for the remainder of the project.

I got up a bit earlier to jog hoping to finish before the sun rose. The problem is here in the tropics there is not much of a twilight. It is either dark or the sun is blasting down at you. But I got my jog in before it got too bad. Still in this humidity it is hard to push myself for much of a jog.
I am not sure what to do with myself today as it is a hard down day so not much activity with the project.  
I had picked up a brochure at the St. Croix Yacht Club yesterday that advertised 100% sailing to Buck Island National Park and back. So I called them and was able to get on a 1PM departure.  I met them at the Yacht Club and was sculled out to their boat on a mooring.  Two black brothers, one 72 the other 68 with me in between, were the entire operation. They had a 37 foot trimarran that they built in two years and it was designed by a friend of theirs.  The rigging on it was extra heavy duty and they sailed it like choreographed dancers.  First there was no motor.  So they sailed it on and off the moorings.  The boat really took off and they snaked it through these small cuts through the reefs. We made it to Buck Island and there were no other groups there yet. We donned our snorkel gear and followed the 72 year old brother, named Lawellon, through the labeled path through the reef.  The colorful fish was fantastic to see. The reef however was another matter as it was all dead! In 1969 the sea fans, elkhorn  coral,etc were these gigantic colorful corals but now they are like going through a graveyard.  What happened? I’m not sure anyone knows.  Note this is a National Park and rigidly controlled so whatever it is, it is beyond the control of the local Park Service. Some argue it is temperature, others it is a natural cycle. It kind of reminds me of pine bark beetle in the Colorado Mountains by our cabin.  When we got back to the boat several large groups had arrived in stinkpots(power boats) so we got out of there fast!
We stopped off at a nice beach on the west end of Buck Island and the newlywed couple went ashore to walk around and I hung out chatting with Lewellen and his brother(I couldn’t quite get his name with his accent but Lewellen was spelled out on the brochure).  On the way back to the Yacht Club we saw a number of sea turtles, some quite large.  It really was quite a memorable outing, especially sailing with these two sea-dancers.
I returned quite tired and having quite a bit of sun. I showered and hung out my bathing suit and shirt to dry. Hopefully they will be dry in time to pack up for tomorrow’s flight back to Colorado. I then took two of Sue van den Heever’s female students out to dinner at a restaurant I passed. It was interested that they advertised a singer on Saturday night named Lewellen; yes it our captain! The food was good but we were attacked by no-see-ums.


  I took my last before sunrise slog(for soggy job). It seemed even harder to push myself around the jogging course. Now to make breakfast and begin packing. The WiFi seems nonfunctional  so I may have difficulty making my soaring forecast.  I actually had to go down to the ops center and use the ICE-T wireless to make my soaring forecast.

After packing I checked out and headed to the east end of the island and then drove down along the south coast. The south coast is much less developed. At the very east end there are lots of cactus but further west it turns into more tall grasses and not so many trees.  The road finally passes through a refinery area which is not very pretty. I eventually ended up in Fredricsted which is very different in nature than Christiansted and the northeast coast. For one thing the town is not as touristy-developed and the plant life is more tropical jungle.  At lunch time I found an open air deli on the beach which was quite good. My mushroom/cheese sandwich was quite tasty. Fortunately I selected a table under a roof as it began to rain heavily.  I also observed some children getting sailing lessons using sailing dinghies. I drove further north along a beach road which got more and more potholed.  Eventually I decided to turnaround. I then took a winding road that went through a tropical rainforest with lots of vines hanging down and large fichus trees. Finally I found my way to the airport where I checked in for the long flights in those torture chambers called airplanes.  

My flight from St. Croix to Miami went well. But after we got on the plane to Denver thunderstorms rolled in again with lots of lightning and pouring rain. As on my way to St. Croix, the ramp operations were shut down including refueling and baggage loading. So again the flight was delayed about one hour and I finally made it home at 1:45AM.
  Overall this was an interesting trip but I didn’t get to experience ICE-T operations as there were none while I was there. Hopefully the remainder of the project will go well.