20 August, 2001
Greenish Yellowish Water
Monday, 20 August 2001
Life on Board
Even though we have had aerobics class several times each week, one of the women in the Physical Oceanography group, Anna Nikolopoulos from Stockholm University, and I decided to make a new workout class: Boxaerobics! Neither of us has ever taught it before, but both of us have taken the class at our own clubs for years. So, we decided to make a boxing tape using some of the CDs onboard and create a workout. Today was our second class and people seem to really like it. It is different from the regular aerobics class and these days, anything new or different sounds pretty good. It is great sweaty fun and you get to work out all of those aggressions!
Where Are We Now?
Yesterday was just a packing up day. Today, I got my GPS back from Tuomo after he successfully mapped out all of his ice drilling sites. At 1:00 pm, we were at 88o11' N by 8o51' W. We ran the gamut of weather today, starting off early with fog and no wind, like being in a whiteout. Then the wind came up and the sun came out, but shortly thereafter, real clouds moved in and it started to snow lightly. The wind dropped off by mid-afternoon, the temperature went up a little and it started to snow those big, clumpy snowflakes that fall straight down and stick. It was really pretty, like a Christmas scene except that it is August. Because of all of the variable conditions, we turned the ship 90 degrees at 4 pm so that the bow was still facing into the wind. Even though most of the scientists are starting to pack up their equipment, the aerosol sampling group will take measurements until the last possible moment. We are still scheduled to depart this site tomorrow morning at 10 am.
Scientists at Work
All over the ice, there are beautiful turquoise pools formed by the ice melting. Amazingly, these pools are called melt ponds. They usually have very low salinity since most of the salt has been rinsed out of the top layers of ice, concentrating further down in brine pockets. Two of the scientists in the Remote Sensing group, Bertil Hakansson and Maria Lundin from the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, found and sampled a greenish yellowish melt pond during their daily travels around our ice floe, where they constantly monitor the radiation or energy reflecting from the ice. All of the biology/chemistry scientists got really excited about this melt pond and wanted to collect samples from it before we go. That would have been a great idea except that it is a couple of kilometers away and both of the snowmobiles were being used to bring equipment off of the ice from the ice camps. So, Johan Knulst and I got out skis and sleds (or sledges, as they are called, for hauling stuff), loaded up sample bottles and plastic bags, and followed Bertil and Maria out across the ice floe. Actually, Maria and I pulled the sledges out with the understanding that the guys would pull them back.
When we located the pond, Maria and Bertil went off skiing and Johan and I dragged an empty sledge partially out onto the inch-thick ice covering the pond to get away from the snow-covered edges. These ponds are usually only a foot or two deep so we weren't in any danger, but we preferred not to take a subzero bath. Sitting on the sledge, we filled about 90 1-Liter sample bottles in 3 wooden cases. We also had 2 large water containers (called carboys for some odd reason) to fill. A scientist from Estonia, Kalle Olli, had found some fresh-water organisms, flagellates and ciliates, in the small sample collected earlier by Maria and Bertil so he wanted us to also collect some of the surface ice so he could look more closely at these organisms and try to determine their origin. So, we also had 10 large Ziploc bags for ice samples.
OK, budding scientists out there, do the math. We had about 120 Liters of water, 10 bags of ice, 2 carboys, and 3 large wooden cases. Water weighs about 2.2 pounds per liter. Would you want to drag it 2 kilometers across the ice on skis in heavy snowfall? I didn't think so. With this in mind, we left the wooden cases and the carboys next to the pond with an orange rubber boot stuck on a stick next to the pile of samples for a marker. Thankfully, we were able to talk one of the snowmobile drivers into going out and collecting it later in the day.
Tomorrow we leave!
Vi ses! (See you later!)
From Deck 4 on the Icebreaker Oden, packing it up, north of 88, Dena Rosenberger
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