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24 April, 2002

Why wear thin latex gloves and collect snow in Ziploc bags??? Class 2 chemical samples are collected to be later analyzed in a laboratory for chemical components in the snow. Ions such as Magnesium, Calcium and Iron will be tested for in the snow samples. It will take months for the samples to be analyzed and results to be recorded.

The goal behind performing the Class 2 samples is to determine where the snow originates from in Alaska. Weather patterns are still not fully understood in Alaska. It is not clear whether the same storm patterns affect the area north and South of the Brooks Range. Our traverse sampled snow in these regions to better understand its origination.

Evaporation of water molecules from the ocean will also transport ions that are components in the salt water. Different oceans have different chemical components. An ocean may have a different percentage of Magnesium ions verses another ocean. When it precipitates, these ions will be distributed into the snow pack. By performing Class 2 chemical sampling, the snow can be tested for these ions. This in turn will help better understand the weather patterns in Alaska and the Arctic.


Latitude: 70.47963 degrees North Longitude: 157.41816 degrees West

A warm day of snow science!!! Today was the warmest day we have had since Council. The wind blew slightly and we were dusted with snow. The warmth felt misplaced and unusual.

Our SnowSTAR 2002 trip is coming to a close. Today, we finished our last two complete sites. Our last light attenuation and pentatrometer measurements were taken. Two abbreviated sites were also taken. The beauty and simplicity of working out of a warm house is that we can travel 10-15 miles out of Atqasuk and perform the measurements and later return to a warm house. It makes life simpler. However, the struggles and beauty of tent life is lost. The intimacy with the Arctic cold is lost. Tomorrow, the team will leave Atqasuk and make our last stretch to Barrow. The finish line is in sight.

Temperature min: -18 degrees Celsius Temperature max: -5 degrees Celsius

Glen and I taking Class 2 Chemical samples.

Our house in Atqasuk.

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