Monday, April 16, 2012

Colleague from Korea and More...

Most of my postings this week have focused on participates involved and activities related to the NGEE Arctic project. I should mention, however, that we hope to engage a range of national and international participants in our science. Although we are working now in Alaska, ultimately we will want to make statements about the fate and function of the Arctic in a changing climate. This will take an effort that involves a much larger community from around the world.

It was along these lines that we were joined this week by SungJin Nam, a researcher from Korea. SungJin contacted our team several months ago and asked if he could join us to learn more about sampling permafrost in the Arctic. SungJin works at the Korea Polar Research Institute where he has gained the majority of his expertise working in Antarctica. This week was his opportunity to see how permafrost cores could be taken using a small drill rig and the SIPRE coring device. SungJin hopes to use similar approaches as he and others at the polar institute expand to include research sites in Alaska and elsewhere in the Pan-Arctic.

SungJin will travel to Fairbanks tomorrow for a few days and then onto Nome where he currently has an established research site. In appreciation for adding him to our team this week, SungJin presented us with pens embossed with his research organization logo and topped in the shape of a penguin. Science allows ample opportunities to meet new people and make new friends. It's a fun part of our job. I have a grandson, James, who will enjoy one of these pens when I get home.

Most of day was spent locating and establishing survey benchmarks in and around our research site. These will be useful as we begin to measure surface topography in an area that encompasses thaw lakes, drained thaw lake basins, and polygonal ground. We are using these landscape features to guide both our measurements and models.

Craig spent much of the afternoon using his TOPCON system to located sites where we will establish survey benchmarks. As I mentioned yesterday, this system provides very accurate location of points that we will later use for elevation measurements in the surrounding landscape.

David took the opportunity today to organize all his permafrost cores for shipment back to ORNL and LBNL. All samples were assigned unique plot and sample identifiers in the field and these were then linked to bar codes. Although it will be a challenge, we want to maintain close tracking and accountability of samples taken in the NGEE Arctic project. This applies not only to permafrost samples, but other field and laboratory plant, soil, and water samples we might take in the coming years. Our goal will be to complement our measurements and models with a data management system that will facilitate data integration across the project. This will be an important capability that we will use to ensure we achieve our project goals.

The spring festival continued throughout the day. Unfortunately, we were working on the tundra and missed all the activities. UMIAQ staff told us it was a great day for the community. Maybe tomorrow we will be able to enjoy some of the festivities. The finals of the snow machine races are Sunday at 3:00pm and I'd like to see that if we have time...