Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Summit Camp, Greenland

I woke up earlier than usual this morning. Actually, it was warm in the tent this morning. I had a light breakfast, chatted for a few minutes, and headed out to the Quonset Hut. Before stopping there, I checked in on Lora. Lora's science partner was the one sent out by medivac. She has double duty, and I was trying to lend a hand. She trained me on a couple of pieces of equipment. The equipment measures nitrates. For the most part, my responsibilities will be to fill bottles correctly, make sure things are bubbling, and to be sure nothing overheats or freezes.

At this point, the atmospheric scientists are "on hold". The wind is blowing from the north bringing diesel fumes from the camp generator, and gasoline-powered snowmobiles over the measuring instruments. The wind is expected to shift to the SouthWest (SW) later in the day. Then, wind will blow fresh, clean air to the measuring instruments over the clean air sector.

Before lunch, I changed a compressed gas cylinder out. They are the heavy cylinders I have been dragging. The pressure is high in the bottles. I am learning to become more comfortable around them. Then, it was off to revisit the meteorologists that launch balloons. Unexpectedly, I got the chance to launch today. I was a bit too fast for the camera man. The two investigators are in a gentle competition to see who can launch the balloon that will rise the highest. Actually, there is an art to balloon filling. Too much helium and the balloon rises too quickly to transmit sufficient data (resolution is too low), or it could pop! If too little Helium is added, then the winds could quickly push it out-of-range before it rises high enough.

The wind is picking up, and shifting directions. The atmospheric scientists are scurrying to their experiments. All-in-all, a pretty typical day at Summit Camp. For excitement, if there is a break in the line for me to fit into, I will do my laundry and shower.

I just wanted to report that shower and laundry were done, and I am on the evening "shift". It feels great to be clean, and put on clean clothes! The washers I have encountered in Greenland have all been front-loaders. The one I used seemed to do a great job on my clothes. It used much less water than top-load washers, less soap, and the clothing seemed much drier upon the completion of the cycle. Drier clothing into the dryer meant faster drying, and less energy used. I wonder about top-loading washer's longtime reliability, and my understanding is the initial cost is greater. Regardless, I thought I would pass my observations along.

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