01 Oct- SCO-NSF call

Zoe, Jack, John, Bob, Jen, Renee, Pat

We discussed who would be attending the Greenland Planning Conference from SCO, ALEX, and NSF, there are many conflicts with this meeting so achieving coverage may be a challenge. Current plan is to have Zoe present on the Tuesday of the meeting, and Jack will be there for the Wednesday session. Around 10 past, we started into our planned agenda for the call.

Jack asked for feedback on the idea of presenting plans for redevelopment at Summit/ISI at a meeting upcoming in Cambridge, coming up 13-15 Oct. Jen is building a slide deck for briefing of GEO leadership- this will be a slide set that is fully vetted by NSF for release. It’d be great if Jack could get these slides from NSF/ALEX. There was talk of getting this slide deck or something similar up on the SCO website.

Discussion of AGU. We’re still waiting to find out if ARCUS can give us a room, but they haven’t gotten back to us; mainly because they don’t have assurance that they even have a room… Sounds like we can use a variant of the above-mentioned slide deck to give people a jumping-off point for the discussion. Renee pointed out that we should continue to emphasize that this isn’t set in stone- this is the current plan and it can be changed.

Discussion of the call with Nature- mainly we (NSF and SCO) provided background on why researchers go to Summit, and how things have evolved in conjunction with the telescope. We really don’t know how Nature will spin what they write, its meant to be about redevelopment at Summit, with an angle to how things will go with the addition of the telescope.

Pat gave us the latest on SAO; Paul Ho from the telescope team is at NSF this week. We should be seeing a story soon. Current concern is that they may not have enough $$ to test assemble both a CRREL and at Thule. Some concern about import duty on the telescope- if the Government of Greenland charges import duty it could cause big trouble for the overall project budget.

Call ended at 10:33 am.

3 Sept SCO/NSF call

The topic of discussion for this call with NSF was how to move forward with developing the Summit/Isi long range plan into a living document, and the role SCO should take in the development, using the Toolik Long Range Plan as a model. We do have the basis of the science justification for Summit/Isi in the white paper SCO has been working on. Pat would like to see this version of the white paper updated and then combined with the CPS scoping document that should be done by the end of the year. SCO would like to update the current white paper by soliciting community input (this has been done, but a more targeted approach is warranted). Pat would also like us to use the complete Model 5 document set as a basis for the LRP as a whole.

As a separate topic, Renee supports the idea of SCO hosting a meeting at AGU for interested Summit community members. Action item: Zoe will contact ARCUS to reserve a meeting time in the ARCUS rooms at AGU.

9 July. RSL/ALEX and SCO

Discussed the status of the web served Summit GIS and the virtual tour.  Renee agreed that we should hold off on submitting the annual report until mid August, in hopes that both of these will be on-line, so that report can include links to them.

Renee provided some highlights of the RSL/CPS meetings that took place end of June and first several days of July.

She clarified recent reports from CPS that included big changes in the annual capital budgets to anticipate from 2015 out to 2020 or so, in regard to Summit conversion to Isi.  Bottom line is that the budget is expected to be flat for the next several years (losing ground to inflation). Other demands on RSL are likely to cycle up and down, so resources available for Greenland are likely to vary in response, but should be in the range of $2-4M/per year.  It may be possible for RSL to anticipate “big” years for Isi development, if the GLRP becomes better defined, and attempt to ensure that funds are available for procurement or major on-site efforts in specific critical years, but this is likely to mean leaner capital budget years just before and after.

Renee and Jen both noted that CPS and RSL had agreed on a new project management software package that should make planning and scheduling more transparent, and felt this was a very positive step.

Renee noted that the GLRP process does not seem to be working very well, and there was a lot of discussion at the meetings about how to streamline and focus it.  This may mean less frequent teleconferences in favor of regular (frequency not yet defined) longer meetings to really tackle and resolve specific issues.  RSL feels there needs to be a clear document outlining the “plan” and phasing, so that progress can be made as finances allow.  Renee mentioned the Toolik plan as a good example (after the call she sent link to this plan to SCO).

Final topic of the call was science traverse infrastructure.  Zoe had good discussion with Jay Burnside and Pat Smith during the traverse workshop about several different styles of science traverse, and they all felt it might be good to continue this discussion with a wider cross section of the science community.  SCO is going to try to engage the potential user community electronically, likely leading to a virtual workshop to determine if there is a basic core traverse platform that would be flexible enough to be widely useful, and also to assess near term demand for over snow traverses to support science.

2 July. SCO/NSF call

Attending: Jack, Bob, Zoe and Jen (ALEX)

Jen updated us on the CPS meetings that were held at the end of June and the telescope developments.  The meetings went well, and progress was made towards some of the more difficult tasks, i.e. plans for the implementation of common program management software.   We also got updates about the budget (which is expected to be flat in out-years), and GrIT constraints (SCAT makes GrIT expensive, and it is still cheaper to fly cargo up to Summit if the cargo can fit in a plane).  Jen also mentioned ideas to work around budget constraints and the need for large capital investments (i.e. borrowing equipment from the Antarctic division).

4 June. SCO/NSF call

attending: SCO, RSL and ALEX

NSF updated SCO about Isi/Telescope developments. There will be a telescope virtual meeting July 1, which will most likely be a detail oriented discussion of plans to move forward. Isi documents are due to be delivered by the end of the month; Isi development work entails priorities and phasing as a follow up to the charrette meeting. We hope to see more analysis in the next phase of Isi documents. In addition to the telescope meeting, GrIT is conducting a working meeting at the end of June, and CPS will be conducting their year end review. Pat would also like to see a separate meeting to discuss what the telescope has to have to operate regardless of the CPS schedule. SCO expressed concern that the power energy group hadn’t met for months, but there is some consensus that CPS has been working on the power issues and has made some progress. We discussed Pat’s idea for the power system, which would consist of two generators, each of which is the other’s back-up.

We went over two possible garage concepts: 1) two separate garages at AWO and a separate garage at the telescope or 2) a surface garage separated from Summit, with a taxi service running to the station. This would increase fuel usage, but eliminates the problem of people using the vehicles for joyriding, and not knowing how to operate the vehicles.

Also discussed were the NOAA concerns over the distance between Summit and AWO; currently NOAA would like to limit the distance to 1km so that techs can walk between the two locations without the need of a commuting vehicle. Jack has been working to get consensus with NOAA and ICECAPS groups, who have come to an agreement that the balloon launching can stay at the main camp.  SCO has also been engaged with the astrophysics group to determine the need for radio silence.  The astrophysics group is working on a 2 page position paper about it.  We also discussed the need to include a member of the astrophysics community in SCO.  Finally, we agreed to begin to distribute the 2 page executive summary of the white paper.

Wed 7 May. SCO/NSF Call

attending: NSF, SCO
White paper executive summary: This summary is meant to serve as an introduction to Summit for new users, as well as policy makers, and upper echelon NSF folks.  The astrophysics discussion needs to be moved up, with an addition of a message of how exciting the interest from the astrophysics community is, and how welcome they are.  In addition to the site characteristics of Summit mentioned in the white paper, a discussion of how the location allows for different angles of the sky to be imaged, as well as access to a different location on the planet to try to detect nutrinos.  We discussed creating a table of interested parties from the astrophysics community, based on tenants currently at the South Pole.   In order to disseminate the executive summary, SCO will either post the summary to the list of Summit users or post it on the GeoSummit website.
8 May. GLRP
Value Engineering (VE) report: creative idea #4, revision #2 seems like the best option, which is a reduction in square footage to 28’ x 44’ with a mezzanine, and repurposing of current SOB mechanical systems.  The current configuration is for two smaller vehicles to be stored in the facility, with 2 doors so that access to the SAR vehicle is not blocked by the second vehicle.  The vehicles can be removed so that larger tractors can be repaired.  The garage and SAR floor plan is 20% complete.
Engineering: the current plan is to have CH2MHill do some of the upfront engineering.   CH2MHill is renaming what in the past has been called a “charter” to “engineering project definition form” which is in line with the Antarctic program.

10 April. GLRP/Isi Mobile Garage Value Engineering Exercise

Attending: SCO, NSF, SOA, CPS

This meeting is a revisit of the requirements gathering exercise for the Isi Mobile garage, with the main goal of closing the budget gap between the cost determined for the initial concept for the garage (cost estimates have been provided by CPS and a second engineering firm) and the budget. It should be noted that this gap was projected to be substantial, with RSL looking for procurement cost not to exceed $750K and a strong preference for something closer to $500K expressed.  The concept design that came out of the series of exercises over the past months was almost $900K over the RSL ceiling, hence more than $1.3M higher than ideal target.

15 possible options for reducing costs were discussed, with two major cost-savings options discussed at length: 1. reducing the square footage and 2. creating a series of smaller buildings to house the separate components of the garage, assuming that the individual pieces could be procured in different years to spread the cost.  The main consensus was that breaking the project into smaller pieces to spread the cost was not viable.  Therefore we need to redesign the concept to include just a single working bay in the garage based on the width and height of the widest and heaviest tractor, and the length of the longest tractor. This should reduce the overall size of the sled mounted garage by approximately half compared to the concept, which included space to store the 2006 Tucker and 953 loader, and also a maintenance bay for the largest piece of equipment on station.

Noted that if cost scales directly with square footage of heated space, this reduction in scope would still leave budget gap of well over $100k so other possibilities moving forward to reduce costs include having a separate generator module, removing the mezzanine, reducing the R-factor to R40 or below, and using non-metal flooring for areas outside where the vehicles would be moving.

While not discussed very much during the call, the reduced scope of the new garage concept does not include any shared space for science, especially including balloon launching.  It has been recognized that Isi will probably need some kind of surface science space for summer campaign work and year-round balloon launching, but we need to find an option to support these functions during the transition to Isi from Summit (as soon as SOB is decommissioned, possibly as early as 2015.


9 April. NSF/SCO teleconference

Attending: Renee, Pat, Jack, John, Zoe, Bob

Renee provided an update on recent NSF travels to Europe.  The Joint Committee is asking for a document to demonstrate the benefits the telescope project would provide for Greenland (i.e. a Benefits Impact assessment–which in the past has typically been for industrial interests looking to begin work in Greenland).   NSF also discussed including more Greenlandic training through the Danish Technical University and about plans for Station Nord.

We discussed the Summit/Isi white paper updates.  Pat thinks that the white paper most needed at this point in time from an NSF-standpoint is a 1 page executive summary, with maybe a second page to include a graphic.  We discussed disemminating this document on ARCUS and/or ArcticInfo, as well as posting it on the GeoSummit website.  Action item: SCO (Zoe) will contact the ICECAPS PI’s and explain the intended audience for the existing document, as well as a plan forward (i.e. multiple documents) regarding an email that was sent to NSF earlier.


We discussed the issue of granularity, using two recent cases where changes to logistical plans were called out as “scope creep,” where we saw significant attention being paid to these changes in the facilities reports for what we perceived as minor changes.  In both cases, the logistical were more involved than we perceived, but we discussed the need to have some flexibility, especially for PI’s first visiting Summit, to have leeway in their planning and last minute help with logistics.  We are not aware of any instance where a PI was not able to obtain the last-minute or late requests, but want to make sure that the issue is brought up, and that PI’s are not blamed for all changes/budget increases associated with them.