Woohoo! I have landed in Alaska! I stayed in Anchorage last night and completed the final leg(s) of my trip bright and early this morning. My plane left at 6 am, made a few stops, but then I finally made it!! This is my first Arctic field campaign as a graduate student and I couldn't be more excited! I’m going to try and blog each day about what I’m doing and learning, and also tell you a little more about the project I am working on. You can ask me questions here in the comments, tweet something out to me and tag it #NGEE2014, or post on my blog’s Facebook page!
My journey north to the Arctic began with first packing everything I’ll need for my week long stay on the Barrow Environmental Observatory (BEO). The weather in Barrow can be, to say the least, slightly unpredictable. During the winter months (October-May), you can count on snow or ice covered terrain and as low as 57 °F below zero temperatures (-60 to -80 °F with the wind chill). But in the summer months (June-September), the “Land of the Midnight Sun” can reach a balmy 60 °F during the day and dip below freezing at night. It could rain, or snow, any day of the summer. Since I couldn't pack like I normally do (something like this), I went ahead and checked the forecast for this week first.
Sunrise will be around 6:15 am, sunset at 10:45 pm; temperatures with highs in the 50s, and lows in the 30s; and a chance of snow this weekend. Packing for this kind of weather means multiple different layers, protective gear, and appropriate footwear that can shield my feet from the pools of melted ice water that saturate the North Slope soils are a must.
Can you believe I fit all of this…
Hopefully, I won’t be needing that bug net! Sometimes, it can get like a bit swarmy. They’re not kiddin’ around when they say it’s their state bird! Thankfully, that video was taken a little further south near the Toolik Lake Field Station at peak season. Barrow is much windier, and it's later in the year, so I should be okay... :/
And, I'm totally not kidding about the necessity of a constant water supply up here. So dry! Oh, and did you know they make paper that you can write on in the rain?!? It's kind of amazing.
Once I was all packed, I headed to the airport. After a few delays, I eventually made it to Anchorage where I ate dinner at Moose's Tooth Pub & Pizzaria (nom nom...) and promptly paaassed out. Then, I started my day today with a few short flights from Anchorage to Fairbanks to Prudhoe Bay and finally, Barrow!
Umiaq picked us up at the airport, led us through the safety orientation (including what to do in case of a polar bear encounter), and issued us permits for access to the work on the BEO. After a quick visit to the local grocery store for lunch, I was finally able to settle into my home-away-from-home. :)
There's so much more to tell you! But, alas, I need some sleep. Check back tomorrow for more about my first (and second) day in the northernmost city in the U.S.!
Welcome to Think Like a Postdoc. If you're a fan of science as much as I am, and/or are curious about getting a degree in a STEM field, or pursuing an interdisciplinary graduate degree (all from the perspective of a graduate student), then you're in the right place. Think Like a Postdoc also includes posts about my current lab and field research, including analytical chemistry, Arctic biogeochemistry, and energy & environmental policy. Comments and questions are always welcomed. And please tell me what you want to hear about next!
Questions to Ask Before Choosing Grad Program
First Semester of Grad School
Field Work in Alaska
Science Conference Dos and Don'ts
Women in STEM Series
Things I've Learned in Grad School Series
Blogs I Follow
Mass Spectrometry Blog
The Grad Student Way
Anthony's Science Blog
The Thesis Whisperer
Fossils and Shit
Science Communication Breakdown
Science Communication Media
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