Thursday, February 5, 2009

exciting times

One of our projects out here is to place an "Ice tethered profiler"
on a relatively stationary ice floe. It's deployment will involve a
fair number of people, ski-doos, a winch, and assorted other heavy
equipment. The powers that be have decided there may be enough time
for everyone to get of the boat if they so choose. Everyone on board
is excited; both the day and night shifts are awaiting the OK from
the powers that be. I'll give a report on the events tomorrow, but
in the meantime, I'm going to watch some "backing and ramming" as we
get the ship into position, but first some quick answers:

Did you see your shadow?

It's been overcast, foggy and snowing, so I did not see my shadow.
But since it's summer here when it's winter in the US, the shorter my
summer, the shorter your winter. What happened in Pennsylvania? I'm
hoping that it will be spring when I return in March.

How much more winter do we expect? (Yes, I know the hemisphere's are
reversed, but the kids wanted me to ask.)

If I remember correctly, you and your class are located in the
southwest...Is there really even a winter there?

They also wanted to know, if you are sleeping when a calving occurs,
can you hear it through the hull or do the engines make too much noise?

If I was a lighter sleeper, I might be able to hear one, but I could
sleep through a collision with an iceberg.

Calving, though, doesn't happen very often (at least big calving
events). We're in front of an ice shelf now (the Dotson) which
hasn't calved in at least 3 years or so. Some of the bigger ice
shelves break off in huge chunks only every few decades.



  1. I really appreciate your answers. The four students who have been collecting shadow measurements from all over the world to "test" or perhaps it is to confirm the shorter in winter and longer in summer shadow have all sorts of questions. Since they have called our collaborators at Palmer and the Pole, they think nothing of asking questions for me to convey. We had a friend named Phil who was at Mac and was the source of real amusement when he saw his shadow in September. We had to look up Muscatonic Phil to get the joke. I'll keep forwarding the questions.

  2. According to Phil, its 6 more weeks. (Oh man, I realize that its Punxsutawney!) We do get cold here in the desert, and sometimes, if we are really good, we have a snow day.