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30 June, 2000

A Day in the Life...

What is a typical day in my life here at Summit? Well, there is no typical day. Everyday is different. Today, I awoke at 7:00 am in my overly warm Arctic oven. This tent is double layered so works like an oven. During the evening (this term is somewhat ambiguous since we don't have night here), the sun is in the north and lower on the horizon. Temperature cool down to -25 to -30C that makes the temps inside the Arctic oven quite cool. One of the first things Nick said to me when we met in Colorado was the hardest part of the day is getting in and out of your sleeping bag. Maybe getting into it is hard but I jump out in the morning because I am roasting.

After dressing which takes 5 minutes from all the clothes we wear, I walk over to a research weather port and put on a sterile white space suit (or so I call it). I need to collect rime samples for my rime study. Since I've started this study, there has been little to no rime. I need to be somewhat sterile because of the chemical analysis that will be conducted on the samples (thanks to Matt Arsenault from the University of New Hampshire). I collect only one bottle again from my Teflon sheets. I may have to rethink this study. Breakfast is available from 7-8 am. Sarah, our chef, leaves our breakfast needs up to us. She cooks us full gourmet meals for lunch and dinner so we're on our own for breakfast. Sometimes she'll prepare a homemade pastry. Yum.

I collect weather data by observation every 3 hours (for 21 hrs-I don't take the 4am observation) and 7 am is one reading. I keep a detailed journal of the cloud cover, precipitation (sometimes diamond dust which falls only when the sun is shining) and sun motion. Nick provides the meteorological data that coordinates with my cloud study. From my observations, cirrus clouds are by far the most prevalent at the Summit. There are no cumulus clouds because in order for cumulus to form they need vertical development. This is non-existent at Summit because it is too cold. I do notice that there is a fog bank in the northern region of the sky. Maybe we will get some real Arctic weather.

This morning was devoted to writing my journal and data analysis. I have collected so much data that its mind boggling plus I have another week left of data collection. Lunch was a Mexican extravaganza. We eat too much here. This afternoon, I will collect snow samples for Hans again. He has let me take over his research examining hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in the top 5 cm of the snow. This involves collecting snow sample (14 total), analysis using a H2O2 analyzer (which takes about 2 hrs in a science trench 4 meters below the snow surface-temp -5C), then analyzing and plotting the data using EXCEL. While I was collecting the snow samples, the weather turned into a snowstorm. Finally, it's Arctic weather. It was hard to determine where the sky ended and the snow began. That's called a white out.

Hans' research took all afternoon. It was lucky that I was in the science trench all afternoon because it got really difficult to walk around camp. I kept tripping over large pieces of snow that appeared after being moved by the snow cats (driven my Tim). Dinner was grilled tuna and salad. Oh yes, I forgot to mention that I was able to work out for 1.5 hours. Nick actually joined me. Hooray!! It's Friday night and the big entertainment was watching the movie Grand Canyon. We watch movies almost every night. It was dismal weather with wind, snow and cold so skiing was out of the question especially in white out conditions. Bed at 1:00 am is the usual for most people and that includes me too. Tomorrow is another day in paradise.

Ciao, Cathi

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