Field Notes: The Polar Field Services Newsletter

Summit Station Spring

The sun clears the horizon near Summit's atmospheric watch building. All photos this posting: Katrine Gorham

For some of us watching from afar, Summit this time of year has a jubilant vitality—having weathered another very dark and stormy night, we shift gratefully from hunker-down to open-up-and-go mode. The five who are ushering the NSF research outpost into full daylight and preparing the infrastructure for the research season have an impressive tasking list.

Left to right: Geoff Miller (equipment operations), Christina Hammock (science services), Ken Keenan (management), Sonja Wolter (NOAA science services), Lucas Norby (mechanical).

Equipment parked out on the snow cargo berm has to be dug out, thawed, tested, tuned.  Buildings are opened and cleaned.  Summer camp—the flotilla of Arctic Oven tents—is set up.  And then there’s the ice and snow.

It is a colossal job to clear the snow blown over Summit’s winter real estate. Some buildings are nearly buried. And the skiway, nearly three miles of snow and ice, has been largely untended since August. Geoff will groom relentlessly between now and Summit’s opening LC-130 flight scheduled for early April, while each wind storm tries to erase his progress.

Don't adjust your screen. A spring storm wallops the Big House--but fails to keep Christina and Sonja from their science tasks.

For the two science technicians, it’s busy as usual. They continue the year-round circuit of activities in support of the ongoing experiments hosted at the station, assisted by Ken when he can carve some time in his schedule.  In addition, they notch up the activities with “Match” campaign balloon launches. But that’s another story.

Sonja Wolter adjusts instruments on the atmospheric watch building tower.