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17 November, 1999

Data from the Ice...that's nice!

The Geophysical Institute is perched atop a small hill, allowing for a fantastic view of Fairbanks (see photo). As I hike across campus, my mind is deceived by the lack of light. The flurry of activity around and inside the G.I. reminds me that it's close to 9AM already, and that "sunrise" is still a while away. I stop to think about my friends and family back in CT who are four hours further into their day.

I am feeling a little nervous about what I need to accomplish today. I am unfamiliar with the Sigma Plot software and have never calculated "heat fluxes" before! What's worse, I'm working on a Mac rather than a PC. Yikes!! Luckily for me, Martin (Dr. Jeffries) and Kim (an experienced research technician) are both patient AND knowledgeable!

As the day progresses I realize that, not only am I catching on, but I also LIKE what I'm doing. Once the data are organized, they begin to tell a story. Recognizing and explaining the patterns that we see will be the fun part!

Heat Flux, as you know from yesterday's work, is a function of three things:

- 1. temperature gradient between the snow surface and the ice surface

- 2. snow depth, and

- 3. thermal conductivity (calculated from equations that consider snow density)

FLUX = (temp. gradient/depth)(thermal conductivity)

By the end of next week I will make some data available so that you can practice making the calculations and understanding the patterns yourself!

Sunset in Fairbanks: 3:30 PM

Entering data into Sigma Plot

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