8 July, 2000
A Mouse Again
I am a Mouse again today. In journal dated 6/13/00, I explained what a Mouse does. It's been almost a month since I was a mouse. How time flies when you're having fun. I thought it was going to be a good break from science but today's duties were dispersed between doing science and keeping the Main House clean. I was torn as to which direction to turn, science or mouse. Being a mouse is important to the working of the Camp. This duty is assigned by the camp manager and you have no choice when you have the duty unless you switch with someone. Science on the other hand is why we are here and today, everyone is beginning to pack for our departure on Tuesday. Nick needed me to pack, I needed to run the analysis on my snow samples (stupid machine really made this a time problem now) and I need to wash dishes and keep the House clean. Where do I turn?
I began to juggle my day between all the things I need to get accomplished. After washing dishes (total of 4 hrs between breakfast and lunch dishes), I was able to sneak some time to help Nick realign the instruments on our monitoring tower so we could begin calibrations. It was nice to get out of the House because it was very warm out (-4C) but the wind was strong.
This afternoon, Dr. Ohmura ,from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, gave a research talk about the Swiss research purpose at Summit. Dr. Ohmura is a great speaker. He is so knowledgeable and really helps everyone in camp understand what is happening in the field of meteorology and climatology. (He's also Koni's colleague and friend.) He has helped me understand the cloud types and why these types are present at Summit. I rely on him to explain the strange cloud phenomena that occur here also. He reminded us about the importance of research on this polar ice cap. Greenland is the 2nd largest ice cap next to Antarctica. It stores much of the Earth's water in the form of ice. Changes in this ice cap can be indicative of global warming, sea level rising and ozone depletion. By monitoring closely the changes that occur, if any, we can prepare civilization for a potential climatic problem. We get so caught up in our own research that we sometimes fail to remember what the whole purpose of why we are here.
After dinner, and of course 2 hours more of dishes and getting water, I cornered Hans into getting the analyzer working again so I could complete the analysis of my snow samples. I began running the analysis at 9:30 pm in the science trench. Was it cold down there at this time of day (-5C but if felt like -25C). I almost froze after my 2 hours stint in the trench. We tend to go to sleep really late here so it is easy starting an experiment at 9:30 pm. Somehow I was able to sneak everything into the day that I needed to get done e.g. mouse work, packing, analysis, and of course, a workout and a sauna. I tend to workout each day to keep my sanity. It gives me time to regroup and to face the stress of this environment. When faced with situations such as this in remote areas, it is important to maintain some sense of self that you had back home. It makes the transition to civilization more tolerable, or so I am told. We'll see in a few days when I return to the land of color again.
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