Monday, June 17, 2013

Time to travel...

Almost two months ago, I traveled to Alaska with ORNL's David Graham and other scientists from UAF and LBNL to collect permafrost cores from the Barrow Environmental Observatory (BEO). That was a very successful trip thanks to good weather and even better planning that allowed us to acquire more than 30 quality cores. For those of you who don't know, the BEO is a 7,450 acre research reserve outside of Barrow, Alaska and it is there that the DOE-sponsored NGEE Arctic project is conducting research to understand the many facets of climate change in the Arctic and to incorporate acquired knowledge into climate models. We are entering the second year of our studies having established our first research site on the North Slope of Alaska.

This afternoon, Rich Norby and I left Knoxville on a sunny Father's Day for Anchorage where we will embark on a two week trip that will take us to Toolik Lake in Interior Alaska; to Barrow; and to Nome on the Seward Peninsula. Our research objectives at each of these destinations are different and I'll be sharing those with you as the days progress.

This trip, unlike previous visits to Alaska, will introduce us to areas of the state that we have either not seen before, like Toolik Lake and the Brooks Range, or will allow us to expand our experience in areas that we have visited before, but not explored in any depth. For example,  we visited Nome and Council on the Seward Peninsula in August 2011 during a site selection trip as our team prepared for Phase 1 activities for the NGEE Arctic project. This trip we will stay in Nome, but rather than revisit Council, we will explore potential field sites along the road that leads out of town to Kougarok via the Taylor road. Our Chief Scientist, Larry Hinzman, has worked along this road before and we are anxious to see this area ourselves. These may be sites that we want to consider for Phase 2 activities for our project. Time and discussions within our team and with sponsors at DOE will decide future directions.

First things first, however; a safe trip to Anchorage, a flight to Prudhoe Bay, and then a pre-arranged shuttle to Toolik Lake on Monday evening.