Just reading the blog from our colleagues Gijs DeBoer and Matthew Shupe who are over at Oliktok Point in Alaska. (Check them out at http://ciresblogs.colorado.edu/alaska-unmanned-3/)
Looking at their pictures of an open ocean and a wet and brown tundra the contrast could not be any greater. Looking at a map (see www.iasoa.org) we don’t seem very far apart, but oh yeah…..we are 12 degrees farther North. In the Arctic, latitude REALLY matters.
I wish we could post pictures (restricted right now because of the Canadian military internet) but since I can’t I will have to try to be descriptive. Unlike Oliktok Point, there is snow from horizon to horizon here. The sun, although below the horizon now for the winter is still providing a lovely blue-grey-pink twilight for several hours of the day. The ocean ice is think and jumbled and piled up against the shore. It feels like we are on an remote human outpost on an ice planet. Yesterday when it was cloudy, the sky, the ocean and the ground were all the same misty, soft blue-grey color and you could not see any boundaries – sort of like being inside a giant globe. Even the animals (foxes, hares, polar bears) are the same color.
We went out to the GAW station today (6 km from the base) and started sorting out our equipment. Our plan for this trip is to do some minor repairs on our radiation measurements (incoming/outgoing shortwave and longwave), bring in our all-sky camera for the winter (nothing to see in the dark) and install some new sonic anemometers (for measuring detailed wind speeds and multiple levels). All this is so can continue and augment our efforts to understand how the atmosphere and the surface are exchanging heat and energy back and forth. We working on all the gritty details of moving software between computers, figuring where and how to mount the instruments and plugging things together and hoping they will work.
Sara and I have brand spanking new and enormous Canadian Goose coats that are keeping us snug and warm. Chris, a veteran of a 4 month Summit Greenland deployment looks much more nonchalant (and maneuverable) in a puffy jacket and wool cap.
Time for bed. Sunday will be another work day.
The Arctic Team
(Taneil, Sara, Chris)