27 May, 2000
Like the patter of rain on a roof, the wind-driven snow awakened me this morning. Although it wasn't truly colder in temperature, the wind let me know that I should dress with another layer today, (wind chill put it at -40 C today) especially since I was going out about 3 kilometers away from camp to help dig a 2 meter deep snow pit. There were 3 of us going, and since we could only take 2 SkiDoos, I got to ride on the equipment sled. We used a saw to define the edges of the pit and snow shovels to clear the area. Within 3 hours we had a pit 2m x 2m x 2m.
So why dig a snow pit? I was helping Dr. Eric Steig of the Dept. of Earth and Environmental Science at the University of Pennsylvania. He and graduate student, Dave Schneider, are studying the man-made contaminants in snow layers and ice cores of Greenland. To access the layers, it is necessary to dig the pit so the layers are obvious in cross-section. They also are studying the water vapor and measuring isotopic composition to better understand ice core records of past climates. They are making sure what current readings of the isotopes in ice cores actually mean in terms of what was in the air when the ice core was formed years ago. Tomorrow we will go back and begin to take some actual readings.
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