Friday, August 22, 2014

A Busy First Day in Nome…

Everyone arrived safely in Anchorage yesterday and several members of the NGEE Arctic project enjoyed a leisurely dinner together. Our flight was to leave early for Nome so no one stayed up too late. We knew that 4 or 5 days in Nome would provide lots of time to catch up on science.

Our flight to Nome was uneventful and we arrived as planned just before noon. The scenery was amazing as our plane descended along the coast of the Norton Sound, skimming the Bering Sea, and then landing at the Nome Airport. We could not check in to our hotel until later in the afternoon so everyone spent time gathering last minute items around town and purchasing food for lunches in the field. I spent time doing the same, but also preparing for a public presentation at the UAF Northwest Campus as part of their Strait Science Series. Several colleagues from the project and I arrived a few minutes before the scheduled presentation time and made sure that everything was working properly. The UAF campus was well-equipped and it was just a matter of time before the room was filling up and everyone was ready for my talk. I spoke about how we in the NGEE Arctic project go about improving climate models through accelerated migration of knowledge from field and laboratory studies into plot, landscape, and global models. The talk was well received and afterwards there was good discussion of how local residents could help us identify candidate sites on the Seward Peninsula. Two men in particular had extensive outdoor experience in the area and were very helpful. So helpful that we pulled up Google Earth and they graciously spent time pointing out several locations where we could look for thermokarst formations, shrub expansion, and other areas where the landscape might be responding to rapid environmental change. This proved to be very useful information that we will refer back to their advice as we drive out the Kougarok road tomorrow.