Thursday, June 07, 2007

I'm mmmeeeellltinnnnnngggg....

It was a sweltering eight degrees Celsius (that's 46 degrees Fahrenheit) outside yesterday morning, well above freezing. Two of the five lakes we visit regularly have melted, and there are brown patches all over the landscape. We even saw a flock of ducks flying over the crater rim - the only animal life I've seen on Devon Island, aside from the odd speck of a bird in the distance. Spring has most definitely sprung.

This isn't entirely good news. Several of our science projects are about observing changes in the permafrost during the seasonal transition, and the seasons have gotten a bit ahead of us here. We have been in a mad rush to get pre-thaw samples, and will be very busy for the next few weeks, now that the thaw is well under way. To make matters worse, the snowmobiles will be useless when the brown patches outnumber the white - but the ATVs won't be able to replace them as long as there are deep snow areas between the hab and our sample sites. We're hoping the vehicular transition period will be short.

Here's a snapshot of the temperatures so far. These are 16cm and 32cm deep in the ground, so generally colder than the air temperature. Note the very regular daily fluctuation, up until a few days ago - then everything gets messy, as the upper layers start to thaw. If you're wondering about the jump in the Trinity Lake data, we had to move the sensors there a couple of times.

It's getting toasty!

21 comments:

Greg said...

The FMARS movie posting doesn't seem to be working, trying it here...

FMARS MOVIE 2007

On July 7th, 2007, Kathy, Melissa and Matt fail to return from an EVA to Trinity Lake. For unknown reasons, all communications go down, so an emergency is declared back at FMARS Operations.

Kim, Ryan and James launch a rescue EVA, leaving Simon alone to mind the store. He falls asleep across a table in the Ops room, snoring lightly. It's always nice and warm and muggy and sleepy in the upper atmosphere of the FMARS Hab.

The rescue team arrives at Trinity Lake and begins following three sets of footprints over a small hill when suddenly, a US Army Blackhawk helicopter rises into view in front of the trio, shocking them aback in a frosty rotor-wash of snow and icy wind.

"KIM BINSTEAD, RYAN KOBRICK, JAMES HARRIS," the loudspeaker voice booms at them from the chopper, "DEVON ISLAND IS NOW UNDER MILITARY QUARANTINE. PLEASE RETURN TO YOUR CAMP AND AWAIT FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS."

Scared out of their wits, and with no other option, the crew turns to make a hasty retreat back to the Hab, every mind churning with urgent questions. Where are our comrades, what the hell is going on, are we in any danger? We don't have a damn protocol on file for this!

As the trio trudges through the snow, the chopper overflies them and they observe 3 yellow, body-size bags strapped underneath the helicopter body. Kim says they look like the biohazard body bags she's seen before. This does not reassure Mel. Matt responds by chambering a round into his shotgun with a classic Hollywood "chick-chook" sound effect and accompanying stern facial expression.

Back at FMARS, after frantically cycling through airlock, the team enters the Hab to find Simon on the floor unconscious, an Epi-Pen dangling from the thigh of his jeans.

Ryan, first to step out of the airlock, crouches down beside Simon and checks his pulse. "I have a very weak carotid pulse," he says to Kim, who is by now also hovering over the supine body of their teammate. "Looks like he tried to inject himself with the Epi-Pen," Kim responds, "did he get it into the muscle?" Plucking the injector tube from Simon's denimed thigh and examining the business end of the auto-needle she suddenly exclaimed "It didn't trigger, it didn't go in! I'm stabbing him with it now."

Thwunk!

Simon suddenly jumps alive vis-a-vis the Pulp Fiction scene where Mia convulses into startling wakefulness after getting the heart-stab needle from Vincent Vega.


...Another instalment of FMARS MOVIE 2007 coming soon! Next time:

What really happened to Kathy, Melissa, and Matt - the lost EVA team? Are they OK; were those really their body bags on the army chopper? And what about Simon back in the Hab - what caused his anaphylactic shock? And most vexing of all, what the hell is the US Military doing here on Devon Island, enforcing a quarantine?

Space!

Greg

Kristin Van Bodegraven said...

It was almost 7 degrees C here last night. I thought I was going to die.

Greg, I like you. You are detail oriented.

Kristin Van Bodegraven said...

I have just now paused to consider the picture of temperature. Retorts including prose on dance and recordings of roasting spring to mind, but frankly right now I'm too overwhelmed with the concept of the cuisine of Netherlands (which if you think about it is as difficult to wrap your head around as a picture of temperature) to speak with clarity.

Lora said...

Kim is in the hab kitchen according to the web cam! What concoction are you up to now?

Jason said...

Hey Kim
Maybe all that brain power and sexual tension that is emanating from your pod is actually effecting the weather.

I'm still in California but am so ready to be home.

Speaking of home I hear congratulations are in order.

I miss you a lot, I haven't heard any crappy Canadian music in weeks. Not that those two things have anything in common.

Stay safe and don't go crazy.
Big Red PS Do you know any one who wants to buy an MG?

Jason said...

Hey Kim
Maybe all that brain power and sexual tension that is emanating from your pod is actually effecting the weather.

I'm still in California but am so ready to be home.

Speaking of home I hear congratulations are in order.

I miss you a lot, I haven't heard any crappy Canadian music in weeks. Not that those two things have anything in common.

Stay safe and don't go crazy.
Big Red PS Do you know any one who wants to buy an MG?

Jason said...

Hey Kim
Maybe all that brain power and sexual tension that is emanating from your pod is actually effecting the weather.

I'm still in California but am so ready to be home.

Speaking of home I hear congratulations are in order.

I miss you a lot, I haven't heard any crappy Canadian music in weeks. Not that those two things have anything in common.

Stay safe and don't go crazy.
Big Red PS Do you know any one who wants to buy an MG?

Tim said...

Kim: I don't want you to worry that your kayak is sitting bored at home while you are sunning in the tropical climes of the arctic, so I'm taking it on another excursion, this time to Waimea. It's in good hands I promise. I haven't sank a kayak in years! But seriously -- it's best for a kayak to get regular exercise. They start shredding newspapers and eating the furniture if they don't get out.

And congratulations, yet again!

Lora said...

BR,
Randy might be able to help you unload your MG....when are you coming home? There's a serious lack of people to hang out at the pool with!

Kim Binsted said...

Lora: Not 100% sure what I was doing when you were looking, but dinner tonight was very exciting: Thai pumpkin chicken-esque curry (thanks to the resupply flight today, bringing canned pumpkin and coconut milk), rice, and some grape juice that completely accidentally fermented over the last five weeks! Cheers!!

All the congratulations are a bit early, but there is progress, at least. Thank you, Jen.

Greg, your story is eerily specific. Just how many of our reports have you read???

Tim, thank you for exercising my kayak. You might find it's a bit frisky after so long idle, so be careful at first - you wouldn't want it to throw you.

Jen said...

Something damn well better happen with that stupid house. I had to drive into town today when I was supposed to be cleaning my appliance cupboard. Add to the fact that it is 95 degrees, my car AC is on the fritz, and some Hawaiian group was protesting in front of the title office. Fun times!

Kristin Van Bodegraven said...

Jen your appliance cupboard is filthy. You are a bad girl. You deserve a spanking.

Jen said...

It is clean! I got up early this morning and just finished it. It is sparkling and organized. I'm caught up from my day of driving about in the heat!

Katherine said...

Hey Kim,

HA! You're further north than I am!! Too bad you're not flying through Yellowknife though. However, we're not much warmer than you are today....but still, here I was thinking of you jealously hanging out in the heat of Hawaii, wondering for the umpteenth time why I couldn't have followed a more tropical career route rather than remediation of northern mine sites. I was able to put away my snow goose parka a month ago or so. Now we're just preparing for the full on onslaught of mosquitoes. Woo hoo!

Katherine

Kristin Van Bodegraven said...

How do I know it's really clean, Jen? Maybe I'll just spank you on basic principle.

Sarah said...

Some of us have no idea what progress is being made on the house. Details please?

Kristin Van Bodegraven said...

Thank you, Sarah. I'm equally curious. Although I can't spell. Ah, well.

Sarah said...

By the way, there is justice in the world: the guy who canceled my lion book just got fired by Random House. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

Lora said...

BONUS! 1:23 p.m. Monday, June 11, three count 'em three shots of Kim on the Webcam, working diligently on her computer, nose to monitor, quite intent. No other infiltrators, just our Kim.

Kim, could you move the webcam link up further on your blog possibly?

Sarah said...

That webcam is busted or Kim hasn't moved since Saturday.

Kristin Van Bodegraven said...

I think it's all part of the murder plot. You know, stuff Kim and sit her by the computer and know one will notice the difference.