Idea for a solution offered.
Solution countered with another idea.
Questions asked aloud for consideration.
Clarifications sought from outside source.
Silent processing of answer.
Silence broken by another idea offered from outside source.
Smile and gasp upon hearing new ideas.
In unison, "We will talk to the pilot."
Our two project lead scientists, Dr. Mark Behn of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Boston College and Dr. Sarah Das, of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution have been colleagues and friends for close to twenty years. It is something to watch them process and carefully create plans and solutions building on the other's ideas. Problem solving surrounding logistics, preparing gear, and transporting everything to the field dominates the attention of the entire team today.
We spent most of the day at the Ilulissat Airport on the outskirts of town in the storage section out back. We are studying glacier dynamics, or how glaciers move, and using seismometers to figure out what is going on below ice that is over 1000 meters thick. All of our cargo was unloaded and stored in a warehouse attached to the airport for us to review, repack and test. We inventoried all gear to make sure it all arrived, organized arrays, or different sets of stations, and got to work preparing gear that was needed to run a huddle test.
There are a number of reasons why pre-field logistics are important to work through. It avoids us getting to the field and forgetting something, making it difficult and sometimes impossible to get the data needed (the whole point of being here), and beyond checking everything we have, it allows the PASSCAL field engineer to build up the system the way we are planning on installing in the field. It is easier to work out in back of the airport in the shipping container workspaces than out in the field, so our engineer, Kirsten Arnell is housed there for the time being, configuring systems, and checking sensors for possible damage during transport here.
Kirsten is an incredible example of a female polar scientist. She grew up in Canada and was influenced profoundly by her geographic surroundings which included mountains, glaciers, and snow. She decided to go to school to study earth and climate science and while at Columbia University, declared a major in mechanical engineering too. She and Dr. Das credit the Juneau Icefield Research Program as life changing and it led her to wanting to work in the field, taking her from the ice fields of Alaska to Antarctica and the Arctic combined, 18 times! As a teacher on this program, I have to be careful of the voices that creep into the brain about me not knowing what I am doing. A great method that worked yesterday was simply doing what I was told, asking how I could be of assistance and finding things to do. Kirsten was an immense help, explaining the technology, how parts differed, and giving clear directions about what she needed and how to do it. And before I knew it, I too was working as part of the team preparing equipment. It feels awesome, truly.
Story of Inventory In Photos
Well it has been quite a few days for your teacher. Traveling through a number of countries and getting settled here, along with prep for the field work has us busy. Along with that, internet was an issue until today. We as a team will be getting to your questions that you have been doing such a good job of posting along the way. Thanks for being awesome as usual. We have three women that are a part of this team. What would you like to know about being a female polar scientist? Post your questions below! Miss you all!