Arriving in Barrow, Alaska

Marc Frischer continues his account of his research trip to Barrow, Alaska.

14 January 2012

This morning, we again caught a 6am flight. This time the flights took us to Fairbanks, Prudhoe Bay, and then into Barrow. As usual the scenery from the air was spectacular!

Alaska Mountain Range near Fairbanks

After another 5 hours of flying we landed in Barrow.  It was 11 am but it could have been 11 pm. Barrow is still experiencing 24 hours without the sun though we expect to see the sun for a few minutes when it rises for the first time since November 18 on January 23rd. We should see the sun for about 30 min that day.

Arriving in Barrow

Although the sun isn’t above the horizon, for several hours a day there is some light as the curvature of the Earth creates a long twig light period. Because there is so much white ice and snow which is highly reflective, it’s actually quite bright given that the sun isn’t even up.

After a brief meeting with the rest of the science and logistics support team to get re-oriented and check in, we immediately set out re-locating all our gear and setting-up our various laboratory and field staging spaces. We spent the rest of the day doing that but managed to find all our stuff and get it re-distributed into the right places. Tomorrow we’ll set it all up and make sure that it is all working. One surprise was that the facility where we do most of our water filtration (The Beach Freezer) was practically snowed in with a big drift of snow. The door was accessible though, so no problem.

Marc by the Beach Freezer

[Marc  in front of a snowdrift by the Beach Freezer]

This trip our team consists of:

Tish Yager and Colin Williams from the University of Georgia (UGA), Debbie Bronk, Rachel Sipler, Steven Baer, and Jenna Spackeen from the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences (VIMS), and myself and Victoria Baylor from the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography (SkIO). Next week are also expecting to be joined by one more member of the UGA group.

We are being assisted by a very competent and can do attitude logistics group from UMIAQ and CH2MHILL Polar Services (CPS).  Without this support we absolutely couldn’t accomplish anything here.

Around 5 pm we called it quits for the day and headed out to our favorite Barrow restaurant Arctic pizza for dinner, more planning and to catch-up with each other.

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