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> May 30, 2006- H20, H20 everywhere but not a drop to drink, How do cats and pigs help us survive at Summit?
post May 31 2006, 05:12 PM
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High Temperature: -12 degrees Celsius
Low Temperature: -28 degrees Celsius

H20, H20 everywhere but not a drop to drink -
How cats and pigs help us survive.

Today, my journal will focus on the most important job at camp, the water maker. Without water, we would not be able to survive here. The air is so dry at Summit that our paramedic, Andrew, suggests that we drink at least 5 liters of water a day.

So how do we get our water? We make it, of course. You already know that if you leave an ice cube out, it will quickly melt. Here, we have lots of snow that we can melt. However, even in the bright arctic sun, Summit snow does not melt because the temperature is always below freezing. I guess we could start a fire and put the snow in a big pot to melt. However, a fire is not the best solution. The fire would create a lot of air pollution. Once the fire went out, the water would quickly refreeze. I personally know that water freezes quickly. On my first night at Summit, I brought a water bottle into my tent. Within a few minutes, ice crystals started to form in my water. Yikes, that was fast.

So, how do we get our water? It’s simple. We use cats and pigs. You seem confused. Let me explain. First, we need to scoop up the snow to melt it. At Summit, Brad will start collecting snow with a huge caterpillar bulldozer (called a “cat” for short) right after breakfast. Brad then dumps the snow into a snow melter that uses the heat from our camp’s generator to melt the snow. The generator is the machine that generates electricity for the camp. As the generator motor is working, the heat from the generator is used to melt the snow. Isn’t that a clever use of the heat coming from the generator’s motor?

IPB Image
Brad dumping snow into the snow melter at Summit, Greenland. Shannon is in the background helping.

So how do pigs help with water? A pig is a huge water jug on skis. Once the water is melted, it is transferred to a pig for storage. The pig is moved to the Big House and the Green House where the water is pumped into storage containers in these facilities. It is quite a bit of work for water. Thanks Brad and Shannon. You are life savers.

IPB Image
Can you tell why this huge water container is called a pig?

Before I close, I want you to look at these cool clouds that were in the atmosphere today. Do you remember the name of these thin, wispy clouds?

IPB Image
Cirrus Clouds over Summit, Greenland

Arctic fact of the day: There has been only 1 death by polar bear in the last twenty five years.
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