Today I woke up to my tent shaking in the wind. I knew that I could hit the snooze button a few more times as high winds meant no work on the Swiss Tower. We were anticipating calm winds today so we could climb the tower to move scientific equipment to a higher position due to the accumulating snow. The instruments on the Swiss Tower are part of the Baseline Surface Radiation Network project. The data collected will be used to further study the Greenland Ice Sheet and it’s processes such as melting and gas exchange with the atmosphere. The measurements are part of an international effort to record radiation.

With no break in sight, we were given the opportunity to catch up on some much-needed paper work. I spent most of the morning responding to emails and updating my PolarTREC expedition journal and photos. Nico did much of the same, only he had access to a photo editor and was able to take our photos and create some outstanding shots.

Ski-equipped C-130 preparing to take-off
Ski-equipped U.S. Air Force Hercules C-130 preparing for take-off from Summit Station, Greenland.

Snow machine at Summit Station
Snow machine at Summit Station, Greenland. This equipment is used to maintain the 15,000 foot long ski-way at Summit Station.

Waiting for the C-130 to take-off.
Waiting for the C-130 to take-off.

I also used this time to interview some of the people working here at Summit Station. I’ve come to discover that Summit is a very busy place. People are always coming and going. I think that helps keep the full time staff excited about being in such a remote place for extended periods of time. For example, the plane that brought our team here had two high level political officials.

Today was also a flight day. The Air National Guard brought the Phase 1 Winter crew in to begin transitioning Summit for the winter. It was neat to see the joyous exchanges as the new crew arrived and some of the old crew leave. They definitely live like a tight knit family here.

C-130 flying over Summit Station
C-130 flying over Summit Station with partial summer crew and Dutch tech and scientist. They should land in Kanger in about 2 hours.

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Meal of the day: Pizza! This was no ordinary pizza though; it was home made, just like Mimi’s (my wife) pizza at home. The pizza not only tasted delicious, but it made me think of my family, thousands of miles away. We usually have pizza once a week. I can’t wait to catch up with them on the satellite phone this evening.

Well, that’s all for now. Tomorrow we are hoping for better weather to begin working on the 50-meter Swiss Tower. Until then, this is Jim Pottinger signing off from Summit Station, Greenland.

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