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4 August, 2003

Meeting the team and learning the Basics!

The University of Illinois at Chicago is situated within blocks of the water front to Lake Michigan. It is a beautiful campus and city; I have had a chance to visit the "Field Museum" and the "Shedd Aquarium". The main purpose of my visit to Chicago, however, is to meet the research team I will be joining in Antarctica.

There will be four team members during this field season: Principal Investigator (PI) Peter Doran, Phillip (Phil) Allen, Roman Borochia, and myself. Today, Peter began by showing Phil and I (Roman is currently out of town) a PowerPoint presentation that provided insight into how we will get to Antarctica, what life will be like while we are there, and of course about the work we will be doing. It will be quite an adventure!

One of our tasks while in Antarctica will be to retrieve data from the weather stations which have been monitoring conditions such as temperature, wind speed and direction, and relative humidity at their respective locations. Retrieving the data will entail removing data storage modules from the weather stations, downloading the data from the modules to a computer, changing batteries, resetting the modules, and reconnecting them to the weather stations. We must be proficient with this procedure so we can work efficiently in the field and be able to trouble shoot any problems that may occur. So . . . Phil and I started our training with the basics; hooking up a temperature/relative humidity probe to a "21X" Campbell Scientific datalogger and programming it to record measurements every 2 seconds and then to send the collected data to a storage module each hour. Learning the language of the datalogger provided the first obstacle, but with a little practice, and correcting a few errors, we had the system up and running. The datalogger was set to collect data throughout the night; tomorrow we will retrieve the data from the storage module and progress to the next level of programming.

1) The water front area of Chicago.

2) Principal Investigator: Peter Doran, left and Phil Allen, right.

3) The "21X" Datalogger.

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