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20 April, 2003

First Trip on the Ice

Today in Kotzebue


A temperature of 7 degrees met us as we left the house we are sharing. The skies are crystal clear and brisk. I can see across the sound to the mountains on the other side. They look very close, but looks can be deceiving.

What science is happening?
Today we went out to sampling site T405 out on the ice over the Kotzebue sound. The first order of business was to drill a hole with a special auger that saves the ice core. We are looking for the algae at the bottom of the core, but today we are out of luck. The ice is clear to the end. The weather is not warm enough to have algae yet, however that is a new piece of information that we need to continue. We finish with the large auger and make two drill holes. We were going to drop a piece of equipment called a CTD diver. As we have been working we have had a lot of company from local residents and have decided that this expensive piece of equipment would not be secure at this busy location.

We did put some traps out to see which animals are active at this location at this time of the year. Tomorrow we will do some other tests, here, but for today we have stirred the water column up too much with our drilling to get accurate results.


Classroom Connections: After we finished our work for the day, it was decided that I should get some experience driving the snow machine. We zipped across the Kotzebue sound. With the mountains in view, the other side appeared to be relatively close, but that was an illusion. Actually, it was 16 miles travel on a highway marked only by willow shrub branches. We explored the country, bluffs and outlying camps for several hours and then zipped back. I was pronounced a snow machine expert.

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Questions:
1.) If I traveled on my snow machine at 42 mph and went 16 miles across the sound, how long did it take me to get there and back?
2.) We saw many caribou tracks (and 4 caribou) and some recent brown bear prints. What do you surmise has happened recently?


Words to know
CTD Diver-
This piece of equipment test Conductivity (the amount of saline or salt in the water) Temperature and Depth of the water.

Reflections
To be involved with scientists is very different that one might suppose. I assumed that I would need to be very formal and focused and serious to be considered a part of the team, but the one thing I am trying to get my students to understand is the one thing that I have come to understand myself, that scientists are just people. Iím having a wonderful time, Iím working hard but Iím also making good friends with some good people.
Links

Learn more about our project here
View curriculum for this project, ďAsk a ScientistĒ and learn about other Arctic Real Time research at Arctic Alive
City of Kotzebue Webpage
Listen to the local radio station KOTZ live


Terry and Melinda Renoylds are aurgering an ice core. This auger will pull up a core of ice. Lisa is looking for algae at the bottom of the core but there is not enough sun light at this time of the year to grow algae so we were dissappointed today.


After all the holes are drilled, the ice is measured (118 cm), and traps are layed to see what species are present at this time of year.


Terry and Melinda Renoylds are aurgering an ice core. This auger will pull up a core of ice. Lisa is looking for algae at the bottom of the core but there is not enough sun light at this time of the year to grow algae so we were dissappointed today.


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