Monday, July 16, 2012

Jet lag and a run along the Arctic Ocean

Flying to Barrow is never easy. There are always multiple plane changes, layovers, occasional delays, 18 hour flight times at best, and a 4 time zone difference between east Tennessee and the North Slope of Alaska. Yesterday's flight for Jonathan and me was no different. We did manage to arrive in Barrow only a couple hours late and were met by Alistair and Victoria. We took a few minutes to orient Jonathan to the town and then it was off to the apartment.

Jet lag is always an issue when you cross so many time zones, although sometimes is seems a little worse than others. The 24 hours of sunlight does not help as you wake up and have no visual cue as to whether it is midnight or 7:00am. Last night was such a night and I found myself up far too early to disturb others. My solution was to slip into my running gear and head off for the run along the Arctic Ocean.

The sea ice broke up last month, but there are still large chunks of ice drifting in towards shore. It was pretty amazing to see all the shapes, sizes, and colors of the ice. I now know where the term "blue ice" comes from. Although it was cloudy and overcast, the light transformed the ice into many colors, green and blue. The birds, white gulls, rode the ice chunks as they moved into and along the coast by moderate winds.

I managed to run from our apartment out to the Barrow Arctic Research Center (BARC) where we have a lab and then past the bowhead whale display (i.e., jaw bone) outside the tribal community college.


Well, today will be a busy day as Victoria and Jonathan begin vegetation surveys on our field plots. Alistair will continue his plant physiological measurements, focusing on biochemical controls on leaf photosynthesis. I will help where possible, but also need to discuss logistic issues with our UMIAQ partners and track down materials and supplies shipped to Barrow by our LBNL colleagues who arrive tomorrow. I want everyone to get off to a productive start.