Field Notes: The Polar Field Services Newsletter

A busy, critical, important day

We know a bunch of Americans are clumped together in small, crowded places today. They’re focused on following carefully established rituals under the watchful eyes of—not judges exactly, but—officials.  These officials are good people, and they’ve  lived through days such as this countless times before. They know the rules inside and out; they answer technical questions and ensure the others follow procedures so the day’s efforts will count, that they’ll pay off in solid results. The results are really what this effort is all about–it is the reason we bother in the first place. Good results ensure that we create a solid path forward. To borrow a phrase, this is what democracy looks like.

This is also what Summit Station staff turnover looks like.

Hunkering down and drifting in: the Big House (with Radome 'ball' atop roof) and Green House. Summit Station, Greenland, November 2012. Photo: Ed Stockard. http://www.flickr.com/photos/coastaleddy/

Our good people up on Greenland’s ice sheet are preparing for the next phase of winter, when the deep night dawns and rules for more than 2 months. Unlike many of us on this general election day, if they are just too busy to give a fig about the national, state, and local elections, our Summit teams have great reason: they’re transferring knowledge about how to caretake the many ongoing science experiments they watch for the research community.

The incoming team, accompanied by station management staff who oversee the turnover, travelled via Akureyri, Iceland, Tracy Sheely, PFS/CPS Summit operations manager, wrote about that adventure:

After 3 days of winter storm conditions in Iceland that even closed the commercial airports, the Phase 2 group and full-time counterparts awoke to crystal clear skies on Sunday, 4 November.  They reported to the airport and flew to Summit Station via two Twin Otter flights.  (Two aircraft were scheduled on the same day to take advantage of a good weather window, which can be a challenge to find in the winter months.)  Weather was clear until about 100 miles out from Summit, when we came into cloud cover. The one way trip is about 5.5 hours, including a fuel stop at Constable Pynt in east Greenland.  The Phase 1 crew provided a welcome and orientation to the group, as well as a hearty dinner prior to turnover activities starting in earnest on Monday.

The view out the window somewhere over Constable Pynt, eastern Greenland, en route to Summit Station. Photo: Tracy Sheely

The Summit group is busy today with the important business of protecting and furthering the science mission. If you’re an American citizen, are you busy today furthering the business of our democracy?

Vote!

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