Today was our second scheduled sampling day. We started off the day with the most amazing start of the twilight time ever.
I managed to take a picture but it doesn’t begin to do it justice. The temperature has actually warmed up quite a bit, which means it can snow, and it did.
But that didn’t stop from heading out to our ice camp and sampling.
This time I decided that I’d better drive my own snow machine.
I tried to get Zac to take the sled musher position, but he declined. Actually, he was going to ride the sled (I think he was going to fake falling off to even the score), but he was drafted to drive Tish Yager (our lead PI on this project.) Does anyone else think this wasn’t the best idea? But Tish was smarter than I was and opted to ride on the back of the snow machine instead of the sled. Even so, having heard the story of the previous day’s adventures, she held on so tightly that if she fell so would Zac. They arrived at the camp intact.
Today, on their own initiative our fantastic support team had actually gone out to the camp early to set things up, so by the time we got there the propane heaters were running and the tents were already warmed. This really made our jobs a lot easier. The YSI instrument even seemed to behave itself today. I’m still not confident in our results, but at least they were in the right range today. The good news is that the salinity gradient we thought we observed and that worried us appears to have been an artifact of the misbehaving instrument.
We finished sample collection in record time, just under two hours and headed back. Zac and I spent the rest of the day filtering water in the temperature controlled room. Under normal conditions I would call this room a cold room since we have set the temperature to match the ocean temperature which is -1.8°C (~29°F), but compared to outside air temperatures it is a warm room. Outside temperatures today were about -20°F and the wind made it feel like -40. Strange to go into a freezing room to warm up, but that is what we did today.
Everything went smoothly filtering water and we were done by dinner time. Having missed lunch again and spent the whole day at below freezing temperatures, dinner was again large and satisfying. Today at the cafeteria they had salmon.
Tomorrow will be another lab day. No weekends for us I’m afraid.
Tags: alaska, arctic, arctic ocean, barrow, climate, Environment, global climate change, Global Warming, ice pack, Marine Science, Oceanography, Research, salmon, Science, skidaway, Skidaway Institute, snow machine