Saturday, October 23, 2010
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!