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1 July, 2000

It's the Weekend

Our time at Summit is getting short. We will be leaving on July 11 to fly back to Kanger then according to the flight schedule back to the US on July 13. Of course, this is only contingent upon the weather and no unforeseen mechanical problems with the Herk. We are suppose to be flying back with ice cores which means our flight back to the US will be quite cold-6 hours in an ice box. Brrrrr. Nick and I agreed that we ought to bring our sleeping bags to stay warm on this flight. Can you imagine fully dressed in arctic gear and stepping out on a runway back in the States where it will be 90 degrees. I can't wait.

There is a big push for science at Summit these last few days. We were asked to stop all experiments on July 6th because we need to pack all the gear to bring back to the US. Nick and I will go into calibration mode which means we need to reorient our data towers putting all the instruments on the same level to make sure that they are still measuring the same. We then need to get the towers ready for the winter over. We will have to disassemble one tower and pack away the instruments. This should take us approximately 2-3 days. The other scientists have quite a lot of instruments to pack so I'm sure we will be helping them pack their gear if time permits. All the science gear must be put on pallets by Sunday so the camp staff can secured this delicate equipment for shipping back to the States. There is a lot to do and not much time left.

Besides my own research projects, I have been working with Dr. Hans-Werner Jacobi from the University of Arizona (as mentioned previously). After our small snowstorm yesterday, there was an accumulation of approximately 1cm of new snow. Hans asked if I would take snow samples of this new snow for a 36 hr period, every 4 hours. He is investigating how much H2O2 and HCOC is present in the new snow and how the concentration changes over the 36 hr period (Sat 8am to Sun 8pm). I agreed to help with this experiment. I was excited to be able to follow through with a complete experiment myself. First I dug a small snow pit (50 cm deep). I took samples of the fluffy powder snow and funneled it into 2 jars. I began collecting snow at 8 am Saturday. According to the planned schedule, I needed to take samples at intervals: 8am, 12pm, 4pm, 8pm, 12am, 4am, 8am, 12pm, 4pm and 8pm. Although this doesn't sound difficult but I was on a schedule, something that I haven't had since I left teaching on June 5th. I felt like a real scientist especially when I had to take samples at 12 am and then get up and take samples again at 4 am. The 4 am reading was very cool. I was the only one awake in camp. I had to hike about .5 k to the snow pit (on the other side of camp in the clean zone). The sun was bright in the northern sky and the day was crisp with a light wind. The only sound was the generator, a soft hum breaking the silence. Of course, I went back to bed and woke up to take the next reading and my weather observation at 8am . Monday morning I will begin the H2O2 analysis of these snow samples.

Since it was the weekend, there is a much more leisurely pace. I was able to complete my day with a great workout that included spinning on the bike (45 mins), lifting and ballet (30 mins) all before dinner. The night was beautiful so a nice ski was in order followed by a sauna. Who says that field camp is hard?

Ciao, Cathi

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