It was a lovely and beautiful day at Summit Station. We woke up early in the morning in order to enjoy this wonder of nature. Whilst taking a small walk to the Big House, we found ourselves amazed at the heat inside the outhouse. The breakfast food was good old regular American breakfast. After a lovely breakfast, it was time for the morning meeting in which we were introduced to many of the sweet staff members that lives in camp. We then got the chance to learn how to and experience the launching of a weather balloon. Lana talked to us about the equipment needed in order to talk the data measurements from the atmosphere. The balloon normally reaches up to about 24-25 km at about 5 m/s. Today, Hasib launched the balloon and it reached 28 km which is a record. It normally takes about 1 hour and a half for the balloon to reach optimal height. The data that is being collected by the weather balloon is transmitted directly to a computer in the Green House.
After we let the balloon go, we went to the MSF building, which stands for Mobile Science Facility. It is called that because it got skis on the bottom, so it can be moved. Hehe…. We were given a few microscope slides, so we could pick up snow samples, for photographing for later use. The camera was like a microscope, so you could really see the snow crystals in it, which was sooo cool! It happens that the Summit camp was built because of ice core drilling: the Greenland Ice Sheet Project II, or GISP II, borehole is near by.
There is a firn core drilling site going on now about 5 km west of the Big House. The cores are cut into 2.5 cm thick disks ("hockey pucks") and left to melt overnight in order to be easier to be transported to the U.S. The MSF where they store these samples is relatively new, being setup in 2010. It´s feature list includes: Lidar beams, Sodar equipment, and other equipment to take weather measurements.
After lunch we got divided in to two groups. One group got a tour around the camp site, and the other went to see TAWO. Afterwards the groups switched, so everyone got to go both places. TAWO is a building lying half a mile away from Big House. TAWO stands for Temporary Atmospheric Watch Observatory. From this building, different weather observations are made, like temperature and pressure. A lot of data collected there are from the atmosphere and its combination of atoms and molecules. For example, they measure the carbon dioxide and oxygen levels that are in the air and compare it with the levels in the general atmosphere.
On the other side of the TAWO building, there is a “clean snow/air” area. The area is marked by blue flags, so after the flags coming from the Big House, you will be in the “clean air” area. This area has no pollution from the actual camp and no pollution from generators and vehicles in the camp, so it is completely white. Two science assistants, Sara and Domi, run TAWO and collect data from all of the instruments. A couple of times a week, they take samples from the snow to see the structure of the snow and compare with the lower snow. In order to do this right, the snow has to be completely clean, because they want to measure on snow that has never or almost never been in contact with humans. There is one exception though, when there is northern wind, then the pollution from the camp gets blown to the clean area, and if that happen the measurements can’t be used, so that day the clean air people have a nice day off. When they take these samples of the snow, they wear completely white suits to prevent pollution of the snow and air.
Afterwards the guided tour at TAWO, we got send straight back of the long, long road (for some people), back to Big House, where the next tour started. The managing leader of the Summit Station, Emily, gave us a tour around the camp. She talked about the logistics and the operations that are going on here at Summit. She showed us the Green House, the fuel tanks, and the mechanic's workshop. The Green House is where many of the scientists sleep at night. It is also a place where some of the scientists set up their data collectors. There is even a medic station!
There are a total of 2 fuel tanks that are working at the moment which are being fueled by the airplanes that come in. The mechanic’s workshop is where machines are being repaired. This is also where the generators are located; the waste heat is used to melt the clean snow for water.
Emily even mentioned there was a sauna, and we all got surprised. A sauna? Up here in the middle of the Greenland ice cap? Wow! Emily said that we could use it whenever we wanted to, which was pretty cool. We were all starving by then, so we went back to the big house to get dinner.
Later that evening, we got the chance to learn the history of Ice drilling. Lynn showed us three short videos about the National Ice Core Laboratory (NICL) and the cores from both Antarctica and in the Greenland Ice sheet. We all headed to bed early because we knew that we were going to have a long, hard working day tomorrow.
Word of the Day:
Snowflake/nittaalaq/snefnug/copo de nieve
Chocolate Cake/sjukkulaat kaagi/chokoladekage/Tarta de chocolate
Meals of the Day:
Breakfast: Cereal, Yogurt, Juice, Tea, Coffee, Cocoa
Lunch: Lasagna, Roasted Mushrooms, Chipotle Coleslaw, Gingerbread cookies, Bread
Dinner: Rice, Green beans, Stir-fry with Steak, Salad, Wheat Bread, Sweet Potatoes, Chocolate Cake
Breakfast: 7:30 am
Temperature: -18 degrees C = 0 degrees F
Wind speed/direction: 3 kn 166 SSE
Wind Chill: -22 degrees C = -8 degrees F
Pressure: 685 mb
Pressure Altitude: 10,439 ft
Lunchtime: 12:30 pm
Temperature: -9 degrees C = 17 degrees F
Wind speed/direction: 7 kn 193 SSW
Wind Chill: -14 degrees C = 6 degrees F
Pressure: 685 mb
Pressure Altitude: 10,447 ft
Dinner: 6:00 pm
Temperature: -10 degrees C = 14 degrees F
Wind speed/direction: 9 kn 197 SSW
Wind Chill: -17 degrees C = 1 degrees F
Pressure: 684 mb
Pressure Altitude: 10,466 ft