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27 June, 2001

My first look at Greenland Snow 6/27/01

After a very long day yesterday learning to use the instruments, we finally dug out some snow samples from the freezers to melt. Some the samples are stored here on the campus of the University of Arizona, some are in a large warehouse in Tucson. (pictures below)

Once the snow samples were located it was time to melt them. I volunteered to take them out to the roof top to speed up the process. The roof top was a balmy 100 degrees F. (picture below) With the ice melted, the instruments warmed up, and the calibrations complete, we could begin our analysis. The process of analysis was quite time consuming. Each bag, collected by Manuel in Greenland last winter, contained a small sample of melted snow. For this test we wanted to see if the plastic bags storing the snow had altered the chemistry of the snow in any way. It took approximately four minutes to measure each bag. Dee and I worked in tandem, Dee and I moving the bags through the process so that each bag was measured for exactly three minutes. Dee ran the computer, I moved the bags into position on her command.

The water that was drawn from the bags went through a series of small tubes to the different analysis instruments. Dee was able to see the graphs on her computer showing the concentrations of the chemical compounds. In this test we were looking for the concentrations of two chemicals Formaldehyde and Hydrogen Peroxide. These two compounds will be the subject of the studies that I will be doing in a few weeks in Greenland. This was my first dress rehearsal with the instruments. I was excited to see some real results. I am even more excited to be preparing to take snow samples through the whole process on my own in just over two weeks.

Manuel and Dee are searching in the freezer for just the right snow samples.

Markus is in the warehouse where the snow samples and ice cores are kept in Tucson amongst the chicken patties and bruegger's bagels are the boxes of ice. The guy who drove the forklift thought we were pretty funny coming in here in our shorts and t shirts. After 5 minutes in here I could see why he was laughing at us. It was cold!

In this photo I am moving the melted snow sample into position to be measured using the instruments on the bench.

Here I am on the roof outside the lab, watching the snow melt. It was important to keep it out of the direct sunlight and not let it get too hot.

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