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23 June, 2000

The Wizard of Oz

Today, the Herk came back to pick up a few members of Camp Summit and drop off new folks. Among the members that left were Koni, Don and Jim, all my buddies. I didn't know how much their leaving would make me sad. They left at about 6:00 pm and I was really holding it together until I walked out to say goodbye and saw Jim trudging toward the plane. I just lost it. It wasn't that I wanted to leave, it was just that Don and Jim made me laugh because they were like an old married couple arguing about silly things. I would just laugh every time I was with them. Then, of course, Koni left too. He is the reason why I'm in Greenland in the first place. He allowed me to integrate well into his team. Now it will be just Nick and I. Nick didn't wait too long to rearrange our weather port to his liking. Koni had no t even boarded the plane when Nick retrieved a table that Don and Jim were using and brought it to our humble abode. Just like in the Wizard of Oz, people drop in and out with very little notice. The next time the Herk arrives, all, we scientists, will be leaving this winter, white wonderland.

Along with the new arrivals came more Swiss fellows. There is now a total of 5 researchers. Their purpose for this trip is to construct a 50 meter (over 150 foot) tower that will survey the atmosphere in 8 different heights. They are good friends of Koni. I will be working with them when I can. They speak a multitude of languages so I will be able to communicate with them.

So, what am I to do now? Good question because I was asking it too. My job will be to continue my weather observation and correlate these finding with the radiation data that Koni is collecting. I have my rime experiment too. I will assist Nick in his data analysis. Also , I will have the opportunity to work with other scientists on a more regular basis. Today, I worked with Ted Shultz (from Mary Albert's group-CRREL) and Aaron Swanson (University of California-Irvine) conducting a diffusivity study. After we get results from this study, Aaron will use the site for a study he is conducting looking at organic compound diffusion through the snow.

I wrote about diffusivity a few days ago. Basically, we inject a gas , SF56, into the snow and watch how long it takes for the gas to move through the snow. There are two probes that take measurements approximately 14 cm and 24 cm away from the probe that injects the gas. After extracting the gas from the snow, we can test the amount of SF6 present in the snow. This will tell us how fast the gas travels through the snow. Although SF6 is not usually present in the atmosphere, it is a tracer gas used to determine the movement through the snow. Other organic compounds such as toxic hydrocarbons, Nox, and ozone, may follow a similar flow rate through the snow. This is one study t hat is very important to the scientists here. We conducted two 3 hour experiments throughout the day. It was the analysis that took a long time. But after a long day of research, it is always nice to finish the day in the sauna. You can now guess where I spend some of my time.

Ciao, Cathi

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