Welcome to my adventure!!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Typical Day Here In Churchill OR How Fast Can You Get Into and Out Of 4+ Layers of Clothes?

A couple of people have asked about the daily routine here at the Northern Studies Centre; so here goes:

We wake around 6:30 am to go to breakfast at 7:00 am. The meals at the Centre are great - lots of carbohydrates. The kitchen makes lots of dishes with carbs for the energy and so we can stay warm when we are out working in the cold temperatures. After breakfast we have a briefing to discuss the weather as well as the sites that we will be going to. We have been lucky in that we have not been getting the winds that had been forecast. The lowest temperature that we have had, to date, is air temperature -31C with slight winds to -42C. The weather is a huge part of the logistics of our work.

After the briefing, we then usually have 20-30 minutes to change into our field work clothes. I have been wearing 3 or 4 layers on all parts of my body. After changing into the inner layers we wander throught the Centre to the classroom/labratory where all of our outer layers are kept drying. That phase of dressing usually takes 10 minutes; in addition, there is a fine balance between dressing and becoming too warm. Too warm is very easy to do, given all of the layers. We usually start moving outdoors to minimize the sweat.

Then we are off to the work site in the qamutik (the wooden box behind the snowmobile). See the previous post about the winter amusement park ride as well as what we do in the field. We come back to the Centre for lunch. Of course, we have to take off our outer layers and let them dry out a little. After lunch, we have another briefing for the afternoon's work activity. And then we get dressed again, and go back out in the field. We come back to the Centre, we take off our layers and if there is time before dinner, we start on our lab work and data entry.


All of the samples that we collect during the day have to be melted and tested for pH and conductivity. At the end, all the data has to be entered into the computer.


After dinner, we attend a lecture by Dr. Peter Kershaw, the project scientist, on a variety of topics related to our work, including snowflake formation and evolution; peat polygonals; climate change; arctic landforms, and how to build igloos. Afterwards, it is back to lab work and data entry. By the end of the evening, we are completely exhausted and usually go to bed so that we can start the process all over the next day.
The team is a great group of people - the variety of accents, customs, and personalities as well as antics, jokes, and humor keeps each day full of fun. Dr. Kershaw also brings a wealth of knowledge and a unique sense of humor to the experience. Tomorrow, I will share the igloo building lesson and results.

3 Comments:

At February 20, 2009 at 11:23 AM , Anonymous Nancyp@roadrunner.com said...

Hi Anne,
Wow! Sounds wild! I am enjoying the winter here - low 30's is great! Keep warm - see you when you get back!
Nancy P

 
At February 20, 2009 at 12:14 PM , Blogger Ms. Anne Green said...

Nancy - We could have really used snowshoes the other day on our way out to the field work. Since most of the landscape here is tundra, any parcel of trees really allows the snow to pile up. Our fearless leader, Dr. Kershaw takes great pleasure in giving us sites with huge amounts of snow AND no snowshoes. One group yesterday had to dig a snowpit with 248 cm (a little more than 8 ft) of snow. Wait until you see the photos!!

 
At February 20, 2009 at 8:28 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting! I am getting tired just reading about getting into and out of all of the clothing. Keep up the good work!
Elaine

 

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