Arctic Sea Ice, Barrow

Meghan Taylor here! I am in Barrow, AK this week to obtain cores of sea ice on the Chukchi Sea, offshore from town. We start at the UMIAQ hangar to pick up our snow machines. UMIAQ is the native corporation that manages permitting and logistics for scientists working on the sea ice. They also provide us with an armed guard who stands watch for polar bears. His name is Mike and he likes to play reggae music from a radio in his coat while we work.DSC01528 There is thick ice fog on the shore to day and everything is hazy. The ice fog was dense and close to the ground so that you could still see that it was a bright, sunny morning 40ft above you. DSC01530   Here we are filling a couple of sleds with gear needed for today’s field work. DSC01534   This is me, geared up for a ride on the snow machines. Our site is about 7 miles away, which is a 30 minute ride on the skidoos. We cover up because we are riding in temps around 1˚F, and you don’t want any skin exposed! DSC01541   Here you can see the edge of the sea ice. This lead was solid sea ice just a few days before, and has just opened up. There are faded prints, barely visible, of polar bear tracks here. Our bear guard thinks that they are a day or two old, where a polar bear pulled itself out of the ocean and walked towards shore. Now that the ice is breaking up, bears will become more common near town, but Mike says that their presence is more noticeable after the whale season starts and the the first whale of the season is taken. DSC01567   DSC01569   Me again, and another researcher, Andre. He will not let me drive! It is nearly 8:30 pm here and still fairly bright and sunny. It does not become truly dark until after 9:30 pm in early spring. Long daylight hours are conducive to a long day on the ice: I had no idea of the time until someone starting passing out cookies and I realized it was well after dinner. Next time I’ll post some pictures of the really nice ice core we got, and some of the other field work going on out here.

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