Two Down, One To Go – January 29, 2011

Due to a minor communications mix-up between Barrow and Skidaway, this blog entry is out of date-sequence. Sorry.

Today we spent most of our day in the lab processing samples, planning for upcoming trips, and discussing our science.  After getting Zac started in the lab extracting RNA from yesterday’s samples, it was off to a meeting with the planning logistics team from CH2M HILL Polar Services (CPS) (Faustine Mercer, Steve Hastings, Josh Bacon, Dominique Fox, and Karl Newyear).

Meeting with CPS logistics planners

CPS is the Arctic logistics provider for the National Science Foundation (CPS) that we work with to make these expeditions possible.  We’re already starting the planning process for our upcoming Spring and Summer trips.  The most important decision was to identify suitable and available dates. However, although we’re now completing our third trip and have a good idea of what is needed, we still anticipate another long planning process ahead of the next trip, probably in April, so it was good to get the process started while we were all together.

After the meeting and a quick lunch it was time to head to the BARC building where Lollie gave a lecture in the Barrow Community School Yard Program sponsored by the Barrow Arctic Science Consortium (BASC).

Lollie’s Schoolyard lecture

Lollie presented a truly inspiration talk describing how she has incorporated her experiences as a PolarTREC teacher into the classroom and how the research experiences she has had have profoundly influenced her and her thinking. PolarTREC is a US National Science Foundation supported program that facilitates the integration of K-12 teachers into ongoing polar research.  I was truly impressed by Lollie’s achievements and message.  I think she is going to post the talk on her website so check it out if you are interested (Arcticnitro).

After Lollie’s presentation we finished-up in the lab, cleaned-up, and staged all our gear for tomorrow’s field work. If all goes well, tomorrow will be the third and final sampling trip of this expedition. The weather looks like it will cooperate too. Its warmed-up considerably and although most of today the wind was blowing so hard it actually made it feel like -41°F for most of the day and obscured today’s sunrise with blowing snow.

Jan 29 2011 sunrise obscured by blowing snow

By this evening the wind had subsided and it is considerably warmer. Right now it’s a comfortable 2°F with 6 mph winds. Tomorrow the forecast is for temperatures between 5-15°F and 5 to 15 mph winds. Almost tropical in comparison to conditions earlier this week!

We finished our evening by going into town to buy a few supplies,

Can you believe a gallon of milk is $10?

eat dinner and talk science at the famous Pepe’s North of the Border Mexican restaurant, always a favorite of our team.

Science talk in Pepe’s North of the Border restaurant

After eating we stuck around for almost 2 hours sharing ideas, discussing our findings, and planning new experiments.  I know that sounds geeky, but it really was fun and productive.  So, full of new inspiration (and Mexican food) we’re looking forward to getting out on the ice tomorrow.



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