March 11, 2011
My research is focused primarily on sea ice and using airborne measurements to infer sea ice thickness over an area of the Arctic. If only the person sitting in the window seat knew that, maybe he would have understood why I kept leaning over him to get a look out the window.
Stepping off the plane was a shock in itself, all the moisture in my nose immediately froze! The highlight of my first day was definitely getting my “Arctic gear;” so now when I walk to the chow hall, at least I won’t be shivering the whole way. In all seriousness, the gear they issue to us upon arrival is really a lifesaver; the temperatures get to 50 below zero on some days. Having this gear will make the stay much more comfortable.
Our first flight in the P-3B aircraft, NASA’s scientific data collecting plane, won’t happen before Tuesday [March 15], so everyone is anxiously awaiting to finally get airborne and look at areas in the Arctic that are changing quite rapidly. Understanding the change happening in the Arctic is very important because the poles serve as harbingers for the Earth’s climate system. Basically this means that the poles give insight into what changes will happen around the world before any other place on earth. Being able to come to the Arctic and study this first hand is quite humbling since I am only a senior in college. However, I think that having firsthand experience will enhance my future studies as I continue to delve further into polar science.