Wednesday, February 24, 2010

It's been a busy few days

in Eureka.

We arrived a few days ago, and have been working and playing (hockey on sea ice!!) ever since.

This is a wolf we saw today right by the weather station. We followed him for a while, but tried not to get too close because he was alone - and therefore probably HUNGRY!

This campaign I'm doing some hardware work for the CANDAC RMR Lidar which is run by a group at Dalhousie University. The lab is at 0pal (Zero-altitude PEARL Auxiliary Laboratory, where PEARL is the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory). PEARL is the big red lab on the ridge that I was at last year, but 0pal is down near the weather station - very convenient 14-second commute to work every day. The lidar lab is pretty small, on purpose. It all fits within a shipping container that has a hatch in the roof for the light to come in and out. The black foam core things in the front (looks like the top of the table but it's not) cover the lasers, and the big black box that I'm making holes in is called the polychromator. The things sticking out the top are photomultiplier tubes, one for each wavelength of light that is received and counted by the lidar. Part of what I'm doing in Eureka is to move and install a depolarization channel in the lidar so that we can differentiate between water and ice in the clouds. The results of that should be very interesting later, but for now it just means that I have to drill holes through metal plates so that I can hook everything into the box. The primary telescope mirror is at the bottom of the biggest black box (at my elbow), which extends down almost to the floor.

PEARL and 0pal... Yes, Mum, there is one more: SAFIRE. It's a radar, and Zen and I went out there today with Keith when he did his checks on the building. It takes up a whole field, and each antenna is much taller than I am.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


This year, the U of T crew for polar sunrise includes Rodica (on the left, looking interested in the snow), Cristen (centre, gazing at the sunset) and Zen (yes, he's writing "Zen") and Felicia (who didn't come on the walk). We got to Yellowknife around lunch time, which is much earlier than usual. For once, we had a chance to walk around while it was still light enough out to see. We walked downtown and then found a trail around a lake and followed that. We went past a building which has all the flags of the NWT peoples out front, and then went out onto the lake. There were snowmobiles zooming by, and I think I spied a game of soccer down one end of the lake. Around the corner there were a bunch of kids playing hockey. It was nice to get outside after too many days on airplanes this week! (four full ones. 2am until time for bed kind of days). Plus, I just really like Yellowknife. Next morning, we were off bright and early for Eureka.

Tugboats to the Arctic

These are some of my favourite things about Halifax:

Another Polar Sunrise campaign on the way and another trip to the Arctic. On the way, a stopover in Halifax. This trip I'll be working with the Dalhousie University group on the CANDAC- RMR lidar at 0pal, so I went out to Hali for 2 days to learn about their system and to pick up some bits and pieces to bring. Figures that the only pictures I took were of tugboats.