Tuesday, February 24, 2009
2 days ago
I've been having a few issues getting posts uploaded in reasonable amounts of time, so here are catch-up posts for the past few days.
Two days ago we had a fantastic night of data collecting - 8 hours of a beautiful clear starry night. It was our best day for power too - my magical mix gave us 58 W somehow. The highest we've gotten previously (this year anyways) was around 53 or 54 W. Not too sure at the time why it was working so well that day. Turns out the laser was building up to laughing at us today when we are stuck here at the lab under clouds (read this as: Not taking any data above about 2km so we turned off the laser) for another 8 hours minimum not doing anything until the day shift comes to take us back down. Anyways, the 2-days-ago night was fantastic. The other thing to make it fantastic was that Bernard (from EC, on nights with me) had ordered the final one of the ozonesondes that we get to decide when to send it for that night. There are other O3 sondes starting again today, but they've been only on Wednesdays until today). This gives us something to compare our data with.
At supper (which is my breakfast time which explains why I hadn't heard the news) the next day, here's how things went:
"Hey so Emily, Bernard told you what happened to your last sonde, right?"
"Uh... nope. What happened?"
"The data's gone. There's no data."
"Really? Not joking?"
"Nope. The computer that takes all the data from the sonde crashed at the end and lost the file with your data in it". I found out later that this apparently happens fairly often.
"Oh." Then there were sad faces. Our perfect night of data had no sonde to go with it :( I guess we were the last to find that out because we have to sleep all day. I spent lots of time that day wondering how it makes any sense at all to send a thousand dollars worth of balloon+sonde up in the air (which by the way aren't recovered because it's too expensive to go and find them as they drift really far) and then have a computer at the lab that is prone to crashing be the problem so that you end up with zero data.
The fun part of this day was that I finally got to try the hot water thing! That's what the picture is from. Cristen, Felicia, Rodica (all from UofT) and I went to play outside and tried it. In -40C or so weather you can take a cup with a bit of hot water in it, and toss the water out of the cup. All the water evaporates and never hits the ground - it's really cool and looks like you've gone up in a puff of smoke! Pretty awesome. I've been wanting to try that ever since I knew I'd be coming up here.
We had good news again that night in the truck on the way back to the lab when Bec radioed to say that they'd managed to recover our ozonesonde data file from the computer!