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26 April, 2002

Despite the fact that we have arrived at our destination point some work still needs to be finished in Barrow. I will be here until Monday, the 29th of April. The team is tired and the warm showers and bed provided by NARL is much appreciated. Members of the team will scatter back to the safety of their families depending on their flight plans. Today Jon and Glen returned home. I would like to acknowledge all of the work Glen has put into the TEA journals. Many of the photos in the journals have been due to Glen's patience and persistence. He also has accompanied me on late nights proofreading the journals to ensure an accurate education of the science. He also provided the daily latitude/longitude coordinates and the temperature readings. The journals would not have been posted without his assistance! Once again, teamwork by SnowSTAR 2002!

Spring is beginning to arrive in the Arctic. The snow will eventually melt and the tundra will be exposed. Today the temperatures were above freezing. The snow became a slushy, melty mess. The wind blew at sustained 40 miles per hour winds causing sublimation to occur. Sublimation is when the snow in the solid state of water transforms to the gaseous state of water. Despite the wind, the last Class 2 chemical samples were taken. They were shipped to Fairbanks with the other samples for later testing.

There is one measurement in which there has been no lesson and that is the penetrometer. The last two lessons will be on the penetrometer.


A dull, computerized, buzzing sound fills the quite, Arctic landscape. It hums as it penetrates the snow with its rocket point. "Stop", "Stop", - Ready for Data. "OK"- Taking Data. The metal rocket point begins to move down and penetrates the snow pack. Two people hold the devicethat appears as a white sled, down so it will not be knocked loose from hitting the dense snow pack. One person sits in the heated sled running the computer that collects the data.

These are the sights and sounds of the Penetrometer. The penetrometer measures the hardness of the snow pack. It is a computerized controlled device. The hardness of the snow correlates with the density of the snow within the layers. The harder the snow, the more dense the snow. Hardness has many applications. It can give us many clues and answers to the mysteries of the snow and how it affects our entire global climate. It is a key component of understanding how snow interacts and plays a role with our environment. The hardness of the snow can play a factor in how the snow is transported across the landscape and air. One application of hardness is that it can give clues to the mysteries of caribou migrations and populations. Caribou can stand on hard snow without breaking through the layer. However, on less dense snow they have trouble walking and break through the snow pack.

Matthew and Glen running the Penetrometer.

The point on the penetrometer that impacts the snow.

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