Polar Date:  July 22, 2008

SNOW!!!  The rain turned to snow overnight and researchers, grads, undergrads, teachers, staff, in fact, everyone was energized and excited to wake up to a winter wonderland in July.  

Snow on the WeatherPort.
July 22, 2008 brought snow to Toolik. When I stepped out of the tent I was greeted with a scene from a typical Michigan winter morning. The WeatherPort is dry but not warm. My roommate Rebecca and I have not obtained a portable tent heater yet, I think we'll be getting one for tonight!

Ironically, Christmas in July will be celebrated on Friday, so the snow put everyone into the Christmas spirit.  Everyone, that is except for the terrestrial people who had to put their plant counting on hold. The aquatic people were excited to get into the boats and take change-of-weather-samples.

There was talk of needing to collect plant specimens quickly before they changed color.  I was hoping that the specimens would be collected, but also I wanted to see the tundra begin preparation for the long winter by changing into its autumn colors.  Donie thinks that could happen with the freezing temperatures and lack of sunlight due to prolonged snow cover.  The normal time for autumn to begin at Toolik is only a few weeks away!

Will I have to leave before I see this?
 

Toolik Fall Tundra Picture.
This is what the the tundra will look like in a few weeks when fall arrives. The picture was taken by Jorge Lopez who came to Toolik Lake in 1998 on another ARCUS project called STAR (Students in Arctic Research).

Business continued much as could be expected, except people were bundled up and scurrying instead of strolling between buildings.  Boardwalks were declared off-limits, as they were snow-covered and slippery with many reports of brave researchers falling off the edges into the cold squishy tussock.

The view looking toward the snow-fences at the Itex plots across Toolik Lake.

The kitchen geared up for a lot of hungry cold people and served a lunch of chicken or vegetable pot pie, veggie pea soup, and tomato salad.  Lots of hot chocolate and tea kept our chilly hands warm.

Yi Wei went out to the snow fences to collect thaw depth data and he took my camera with him.  I have to confess that I was not eager to brave the elements since if there was no walking on the boardwalks; the alternative was to walk through the equally slippery cold and wet tundra.  I will admit to wimping out.

Closer View of Fence Plots.
It's easy to see in this picture how the shrubs are capturing the snow on their branches.

Snow Fences with Snow.
As you can see, the fences are beginning to bend a bit as the wind comes from the North. At some points during the day, the snow was blowing horizonally through camp. At the time Yi Wei went up to the fence plots, drifting had not yet happened.

This journal was posted before dinner came around; the only thing known at the time was what was posted on the menu board – spaghetti and meatballs.
Signing off from Toolik Lake, and remember,* "There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth. We are all crew”. ~Marshall McLuhan, 1964
*

Date
Location
Toolik Lake Field Station
Weather Summary
Completely overcast and cold, snow.
Temperature
30.2
Wind Speed
8

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