Thursday, January 31, 2008

January 31st, 2008

Time: 7 am
Latitude: 42.40338 N
Longitude: 71.11346 W
Temperature: -2°C(29°F)
Wind speed: 15 km/h (9 mph)
Wind Chill: -6°C(20°F)
Clouds: clear
Wind direction: W
Relative Humidity:41%
Barometric Pressure: rising
Precipitation: -
Animals: 1 dog, 4 rabbits, 9 chickens, 1 rooster
Breakfast: fresh backyard egg, toast, coffee

Well I am back in my office with mixed emotions. Happy to be home but there is always a transition period from being in the field to having to drive a car and go to a grocery store. I will get over it just long enough to start preparing for my next trip.

As I think back and relate parts of my adventure to my family, a few things come to mind. One is the amount of energy, creativity, and professionalism of my colleagues. Not that my office mates are not the most creative people I know but to live 24/7 with a group like we had at WAIS Divide camp is hard to find. Not all of the creativity was directed for the benfit of our science though but often it was directed by our science. One of the things I did not talk a lot about was the ubiquitous Antarctic humor required to live with each other for the last 2 months. On the morning shift we tried to see how much we could make the morning shift drillers laugh by placing notices on the window between the drilling and ice processing portions of the arch. The themes were naturally dictated by the job and the conditions. Many of these could have become outhouse graffiti, and maybe still will....

WAIS not want not
An ice core in the barrel is worth two in the hole
It is better to have cored and lost than never to have cored at all.
I core, you core, we all core an ice core
Gone ice fishing
I break for ice cores
Practise safe coring
All ice cores are not created equal
In case of emergency break ice
I'd rather be coring (preferably in a warm place)

As I reconnect with colleagues and friends many of them have asked me how "bad" things really are in terms of global climate change. The data we collected on WAIS DIvide this season will not even be analyzed for months and or years as the ice still needs to be fully processed in the US after it arrives here this summer on the boat from Antarctica. So no one can give an answer to how bad things are based on the ice core we collected this year. Though, based on everything we know from the science at this point, there is no doubt that there is human induced climate change happening. The way we conduct ourselves for the next couple of generations will determine how bad things get. Anyone not sure how much energy they use in relationship to others should do a web search for a "global footprint calculator", of which there are many available. These footprint calculators will allow you to input your energy use and calculate how many Earths it takes to support your lifestyle. It is takes more than one Earth then there are probably things you might do to reduce your use. For help on reducing your energy use there are a number of sites now that provide information/services. One such group is Cool Air -Clean Planet who is also linked from our outreach web site as a terrific source for educational materials for school, businesses, and individuals.

Wage Peace, and environmental sustainability

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