Greetings from Interior Alaska,
Over the weekend I left Barrow and the arctic coast behind and
arrived in Fairbanks. All of the Birch, Aspen and Spruce trees were
a welcome sight after being on the arctic ocean for several days!
The weather here is a little different than what I was experiencing
in Barrow. The wind isn't blowing and the temperature is already
in the high 20's F. It is a bit overcast, but still sunny out today.
Hajo Eicken works at the Geophysical Institute, which is on the
University of Alaska-Fairbanks campus. So, our expedition follows
like that of a research scientist from fieldwork to lab work. This
morning, I met up with Hajo at his cold lab. The cold lab is quite
interesting. It is basically a large walk-in freezer (like that
at a restaurant or supermarket) that is built within a regular lab
facility. There is a band saw, a microtome, a microscope and a bunch
of electronic equipment. They can regulate the temperature inside
the cold lab from right at 0° C to -40° C. The electronic
equipment is actually hooked up to the microscope and once they
have what they want to look at underneath the microscope they leave
the cold lab. Outside of the cold lab they have computers and imaging
software that enables them to sit in a nice warm lab and look at
the ice samples on a computer screen. That sounds much better than
peering into a microscope when it is -40° C!!!
Hajo showed me some amazing pictures of brine pores, that make quite
beautiful photographs. He also showed me some pictures of diatoms
trapped within brine pores. You can take a look at some examples
in the posts in the discussion and the photos associated with today's
Tomorrow we meet with Hajo and we will be discussing the impacts
of climate change on our local communities. See you tomorrow for
our final adventure on the Arctic Alive Expedition.