Monday, October 25, 2010

Encore des loups

Wolf. There were a bunch wandering around the runway today so we drove up to see them. We went for a walk this morning to find the muskoxen (which are my favourite), but the pictures didn't turn out so well. Even at noon, it's not super bright out anymore, now that the sun has not come up for a few days.

Low-tech zooming - being quiet and letting the wolf wander up to you.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Water Survey

Today Colin and I went out onto the sea ice with a group of people from the station to help out with the weekly Water Survey. Of course, this is the Arctic and it's winter, so most of the "water" isn't very liquid. It was pretty cold out, so we did the throw-the-cup-of-hot-water-in-the-air-and-watch-it-sublimate trick. It had nothing to do with the water survey except that we were outside and it was fun. That's Colin in the picture.
I had a turn too, but it looks like someone made my head invisible in a poof of magic smoke. Actually, come to think of it, all bundled up in my snowsuit my entire self could have become invisible and the picture would look the same, I think! Anyways, that was just for fun. Next came the work.

Every Friday, the met tech has to take an auger onto the ice, drill a hole down to the bottom, and measure the ice thickness. We drove out in a truck to a spot about 100 m off shore. I asked how they do the first few measurements in the fall, when they're not too sure whether the ice is thick enough to walk on yet. Answer: whoever measures the ice does so with a rope tied around them. Not kidding.

Result: 48 cm. Plenty for trucks. You measure by dropping this metal stick down through the hole. The stick has a wire and a tape measure attached, and you yank those until the stick gets caught horizontally across the bottom of the hole. Then you measure. Then you let one end go down so that you can pull the stick back up through the hole.

The hole in the ice filled in pretty quickly with slush. I tested with my hand to see how cold the water was, and let me tell you - I'm glad I wasn't swimming in it!


The hills behind 0PAL are beautiful. There is Blacktop off to the right, and you can see station creek just over to the left. You can see them, can't you? Yeah... neither could we through the ice fog which thwarted our lidar observing efforts for days and days this week. We blame it on some EC people trying to get a plane to fly them from Resolute (where they were stranded for 4 days or so) to Eureka. They eventually got here and it cleared up for a day or two. Then, they got the brilliant plan to go home again. On a plane. The threat of that plane made the weather not cooperate for enough more days that in the end, the plane was cancelled and the EC crew will fly south with us on the 26th. Did I mention that everything we had to do this week depended on clear skies?

Sunday, October 17, 2010


The wolves are back in Eureka and we drove up to the dump yesterday to have a look. They were pretty filthy from snuggling in the dirt, but so cute! Well, the babies are cute anyways. Not sure that's the right word for the awesome adult wolves. There were maybe 15 of them around, mostly snoozing in the sun. There was a herd of muskox too. The picture from yesterday shows the muskox and a wolf not 20 feet from eachother, but neither seems particularly bothered by the other.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Look closely

Appearances can be deceiving

1) Colin does not actually fit into the space that we're working in. He's too tall, so it's pretty funny to watch him squash to get around the telescope and onto the laser table. From where he's standing, the roof is about shoulder height on him.

2) I'm smiling because I've just managed to unscrew the thing that was stuck into this spot, and have not yet realized that the new thing I want to screw in there is not going to fit. By 3 mm.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Saran wrap is birefringent. Turns out.

... but shiny new 0% reflected polarization pellicles are not! Isn't it snazzy? That little golden circle of cellulose is the key to our depolarization measurements (and my general happiness). Colin and I managed to get it aligned (again) yesterday :) This means that our depolarization measurements (water clouds vs. ice clouds) might have a chance of telling us something useful!

0pal, bigger and better

Last year, 0pal was a collection of shipping containers connected by a plywood bridge. The bridge is gone. Long live the Giant Building they Built Inside 0pal! The new construction, which links the two halves of the 0pal lab together, looks great. It's awesome. High ceilings, lots of windows, and it's a nice shade of blue. There's a ton of space inside, and I'm finding that the cubical (where we used to enter the CRL container) is feeling warmer now that we don't open the doors directly into a flurry of snow and wind. The building was put in this summer, and is about 8000 times fancier than what I had figured was going in. Quite a nice upgrade - it makes our lab feel like it's in a real building.

This is Colin (with the Muskox in Cabridge Bay). He's from Dal and works on the CRL also. We're up here working together for 2 weeks to install lots of bits and pieces in the lidar.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Guess who's back? (and I don't mean me)

Parkas on a rainy day in Yellowknife. More importantly, we had an old friend on the plane with us from Yellowknife to Eureka.
Remember Brutus? The lead wolf from the pack who spends some time on Ellesmere, some on Axel Heiberg? He met a sad demise earlier this year, but I am happy to report that he has been autopsied (result: natural causes), taxidermied, and brought back to Eureka. Here he is, all unpacked.Brutus has a shiny new display case at the weather station and a nice plaque to go with it.