Post from a Scientist: “Tales of the Arctic – in Russian and English”

Никогда не думала, что смогу так быстро привыкнуть к новым людям. Я имею в виду моих девчонок из «клауд тим» и руководителя Ирину Репину. Мы вместе сидим за столом во время обеда, полдника и ужина (завтрак я обычно благополучно просыпаю), вместе ходим на измерения, обсуждаем лекции, смотрим фильмы, играем в игры, обсуждаем жизнь «вне» – прошлую и будущую (настоящей жизни «вне» нет). Подходят к концу моменты экспедиции: кому-то грустно, кому-то радостно (мне однажды приснилось, что я на берегу в Киркенесе выхожу в интернет, ахахах), кто-то об этом совсем не задумывается, а мне будет тяжело расставаться с девчонками и Ириной Анатольевной. Почти каждый вечер она проводит для нас «сказки на ночь», за эти полчаса она рассказывает очень занимательные и полезные вещи из мира физики и климатологии. Каждый раз я, слушая её, задумываюсь, как же, наверное, интересно быть её студентом. По сравнению с остальными проектами наш, мне кажется, будет самым «достоверным», никаких моделей, рассуждений о космосе и веществе, а только обзор прошедшего, нахождение взаимосвязей и причин. Мне это очень интересно. Когда приеду в Питер, мне будет не стыдно перед людьми, которые меня отправили в НАБОС-2013, потому что я узнала много нового (не только английских слов J ) и практически полезного. А ЕЩЁ Я ВИДЕЛА БЕЛУЮ РАДУГУ! Говорят, это очень редкое оптическое явление. Оно наблюдается только в полярных широтах, и такого цвета радуга из-за низких температур и, соответственно, мелких капелек в воздухе, через которые плохо преломляются солнечные лучи. Белых медведей видела, моржа видела, белую радугу видела, что же ещё… что же… ах, точно! – северное сияние, ну посмотрим-посмотрим…

 Скоро уже буду дома, увижу своих любимых людей. Безумно скучаю по Тасе, сколько же всего мне нужно ей рассказать… и по Юрчику и Вике, мне их просто не хватает, не хватает их споров и обсуждений – люблю просто сидеть и слушать их, наслаждаться моими лучшими друзьями. Но, с другой стороны, не хочется покидать этот милейший корабль, надеюсь, что это не последняя наша с ним встреча (хотя он уже старичок). Здесь очень интересные люди, вроде бы узкоспециализированные, но тем не менее разносторонние. Мы прослушали лекции и по климатологии, и по моделированию, и по биологии, химии, геологии, океанологии. Всё было безумно интересно. Год назад я бы и подумать не могла, что здесь сейчас окажусь, что в сентябре буду лепить снежки и скользить, как на коньках, по пеленгаторной палубе НИСа!  Вот это жизнь!

Me, on the ship’s top deck, with beautiful clouds behind, Photo from Anna Gnevasheva

Me, on the ship’s top deck, with beautiful clouds behind, Photo from Anna Gnevasheva

ENGLISH SUMMARY:

 There are a few days left till the end of our expedition. Our group project is to observe the Arctic boundary layer – a thin layer of the atmosphere located right above the surface of the ocean and sea ice. My part is to analyze synoptic (large-scale) weather maps and evaluate the relationship between the boundary layer and clouds. Since we are collecting observations until the end of the cruise, so we will have to analyze our data later at our universities and research institutes back home. I guess our project will be the most reliable because we will be using direct observations instead of models or predictions. Every day we have very interesting meetings with Dr. Irina Repina. She usually tells us a lot about climatology and physics. We call it  “the tales before bedtime.” Sometimes she tells us about her adventures in the Arctic, Antarctic, the Black Sea, etc. I am sure I will miss her “tales” when I get back on land.

 Life on the ship is very unusual. I am really amazed how quickly I was able to connect with new people. Our boundary layer team is really close. We work, eat and play together. We perform cloud observations, discuss lectures, watch movies and talk about our “real” lives. As the end of our expedition approaches someone feels sad, while someone feels happy. I had a dream the other night that I was back in Kirkenes surfing the internet!

 Last year I could not have imagined that I would be here.  I have learned a lot during this summer school. Our instructors on the ship know a lot about many different subjects – we had lectures about climatology, meteorology, modeling, biology, chemistry, geology, oceanology, etc. It was amazingly interesting. Also, I could have not imagined having snowball fights and sliding across the helicopter deck in August.

 P. S. I HAVE SEEN A WHITE RAINBOW (on photo 2)! It is a rare, beautiful natural phenomenon which happens only in the polar region. This rainbow has a white color due to the low temperatures, so sunrays are not very intensely dispersed by the small water droplets in the air.

 - Anna Gnevasheva

A white rainbow. Photo from Anna Gnevasheva

A white rainbow. Photo from Anna Gnevasheva

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35 Responses to Post from a Scientist: “Tales of the Arctic – in Russian and English”

  1. Yennyfer Jimenez says:

    How much effect do you think the change between the climate now to where you go once the expedition ends will be?

    • lindsay says:

      Hi Yennyfer, actually I think you’re thinking about weather, not climate. Weather is what we see over short time scales, like hours or days, and it refers to features that happen over relatively small distances, like miles. Climate refers to conditions over long time scales (like decades or more) and big (like global) scales. But the weather will probably be getting less cloudy as we make it back to the port in Norway!

  2. Daniella Guilarte says:

    Dear Lindsay and everyone on the ship, now that your expedition is coming to an end what would you be able to say was the most interesting thing you learned and what was the saddest thing you saw and/or experienced?

    • lindsay says:

      Hi Daniella, for me I think all the different kinds of ice is amazing – there is “grease ice” which is newly formed ice that is so thin that it doesn’t look white yet, striped ice from when ice formed in layers over time (different layers might have had sediment or algae mixed in), ridged ice sheets from when two ice sheets merged together, blue and teal colored melt ponds on the ice sheets… It’s so beautiful! I think the saddest thing for me was definitely seeing the swimming polar bear. Even though he was so adorable, and I’m sure (I hope) he was fine and was on his way to ice somewhere, the image in my head of Arctic ice decreasing over time made me sad for the future of polar bears. I hope we can do something to help the climate! One of the scientists said that the most interesting thing for her is also the way that ice forms too, and she also liked the idea of “rivers of water vapor” in the atmosphere that we learned about. She said the saddest thing onboard was the lack of fresh green vegetables!

  3. Ronesha Ellington says:

    I am a student from LEOM High school and my question is: That even though you prepared to go on this expedition you still are going over different lectures. Why?

    • lindsay says:

      Dear Ronesha, part of the goal of this expedition is to combine the observational research science with learning. There are scientists onboard, and there are graduate students onboard, and they all have different specialties. Which means that there are lots of learning opportunities – scientists and students alike can learn about different fields, and students can learn the processes of the observations and experiments onboard. This is important because the more you learn about science, and specifically climate, the more you realize that everything is connected – the atmosphere, the ocean, the land, the sea, the ice, life, etc. if you want to figure out “the big picture,” you need to have all different kinds of people contribute their own piece of the puzzle!

  4. Ronesha Ellington says:

    If anybody wanted to relive the expedition that you when on how would you describe it and what advice will you give?

    • lindsay says:

      Hi Ronesha, wow, interesting question. We were just talking today at the cafeteria about things (possible in current reality or not) that we wish would be invented, and one of the things was something that could share your memories and emotions with others. I wish I could do that with this trip, more than with just words and photos! But a couple things I think in terms of advice are: come prepared for the unexpected, take a minute when you see something you have never seen before to realize how amazing it really is, be willing to sacrifice a little sleep to make sure you learn everything you possibly can that the amazing things happening on and around the ship – and bring comfortable clothes to wear inside the ship, not only warm clothes to wear outside the ship! If I had to describe this expedition in a sentence, it might be something like “the most rare opportunity that I never thought I would have, that I hope has inspired some other people to learn more and care a little more about the planet.”

  5. ludus says:

    Dear braveExplorers ! Our fussy and vain country do waiting for all of you. Happy returning home!

    • lindsay says:

      Thanks Ludus, it’s with mixed emotions that we will return in a couple days – happy to be on land and talk to our families, but sad this amazing journey will have ended! Thanks for contributing to continuing the story of Chilly and Willy along the way!

  6. Trinity Carmichael says:

    Is there any tools you use on your expedition that is compare to the RAFOS float?

    • lindsay says:

      Dear Trinity, the RAFOS float is used for acoustic navigation purposes, and we don’t use that in the Arctic because the sea ice would make it difficult to use underwater acoustic signals to communicate with the float. However, we do put acoustic sensors on the top of our moorings (which are the instruments placed along a cable between an anchor at the seafloor and nearly the surface) to help us locate the mooring later. RAFOS floats were previously used in the waters near Greenland which connect the Arctic and the Atlantic though.

  7. Trinity Carmichael says:

    IN MY CLASS WE READ ABOUT DR.BOWER SHE STUDY SWIRLING MASSES OF WARM SALTY OCEAN CURRENTS SHE HAS A CHALLENGE WITH HER EYES BUT DID NOT LET THE EYE CONDITION STOP HER I WANT TO KNOW DO YOU HAVE SIMILAR CHALLENGE WITH YOUR BODY?

    • lindsay says:

      Hi Trinity, someone else also just mentioned Dr. Bower as well. I only know a little bit about her, but she sounds like a truly inspiring person, not just because she is visually impaired, but because she has worked so hard to give others a chance to get excited about science, who may not otherwise have had a chance to do that in such a unique way. I don’t have any problems with my eyes, but she proves to me that it doesn’t matter what situation you may or may not have, and that really you can find a way (even a different way) to do almost anything. I hope to visit your school when I am back, so maybe we can talk more then!

  8. Brandon Aristide says:

    Dear miss lindsay have you faced any vicissitudes during your trip if so.What were they ?

    • lindsay says:

      Hi Brandon, there have been lots of challenges during the expedition, but I would not call anything a hardship. The biggest challenge I think for me as well as the scientists and the students in the summer school onboard was learning so much and trying to everything possible – because we had lectures to attend (and present), scientific observations and experiments to assist in, projects to work on, and for me, I was trying to be everywhere and also document and write about everything. So I guess a big challenge was finding time to sleep! :)

  9. Tristen Perez says:

    Dear Lindsay,
    Are you excited for or dreading the day the expedition ends?

    • lindsay says:

      Hi Tristen, that’s a hard question! I am of course excited to see my family and friends again, and to have easy access to communicate via email or phone, but I’m also sad to see this expedition end. It has been such a super cool opportunity, and one that is so rare, and I feel so lucky to have been here and learned so much, that it’s hard to see the expedition end too!

  10. Stephanie Kelly says:

    Hi Lindsay, this question is actually for Anna. I was wondering if after this experience and with it all coming close to an end if she was interested in continuing research related to synoptic weather maps and the relationship between the boundary layers and clouds, it sounds like something that requires a lot of hard work, time, and dedication. I feel like what you guys are doing is very good for the scientific community since this project is supposed to be the most reliable because you’re not using models or predictions. Its all really cool, I love it!

    • lindsay says:

      Hi Stephanie, I spoke to Anna, and she said thank you for the kind words! She said that she has always been interested in the atmosphere and clouds, so she will definitely continue with this line of research!

  11. Marlene Bell says:

    Hi Lindsay,
    Seeing a white rainbow it pretty cool. Is this your first time seeing a white rainbow?

    • lindsay says:

      Hi Marlene, it was the first time for many people on the ship to see a white rainbow! I talked with Irina, and it was her first time seeing one too!

  12. Erica Moore says:

    When you came across this rainbow what was your first thought since it’s rare?

    • lindsay says:

      Hi Erica, I spoke with Irina for you, and it’s such a rare sight that many people on the ship had never seen one before. So it was that great feeling of seeing something so rare, and feeling really lucky to have seen it. It was also great to see it because that meant we also had some sunlight, when we had had so many days of clouds.

  13. Bethanie Isaac says:

    What makes the white rainbow so rare and why does it not show colors? Is it due to the fact that it is in the polar region?

    • lindsay says:

      Dear Bethanie, the white rainbow only has been seen only in the polar regions (Arctic and Antarctic). Scientists have considered multiple possibilities for this phenomenon. One theory is that water droplets are smaller in cold temperatures. Another possibility is that the polar regions have lower concentrations of aerosols (small particles like salt or dust) in the atmosphere. Aerosols are central to the condensation of water droplets. Either way, light will not refract as much through small water droplets. (Refraction refers to when light bends as it passes from one material to another – since different colors refract at different amounts, we see a colorful rainbow.) So you might see the rainbow shape, but no color.

  14. angel arbelo says:

    Are you guys learning each other languages and are talking to each often?

    • lindsay says:

      Hi Angel, actually yes! We started a Russian language course, so I learned a little Russian, and some of the Russians got some practice in English too!

  15. Jose libre says:

    Is the longest and hardest part of this expedition going to take place back home or was it on the ship? I’m asking since once you arrive home, will you be applying all your newly found data into new experiments and future models you’ll create.

    • lindsay says:

      Hi Jose, good questions, I think the answer is it’s difficult both during and after, but all worth it. The scientists are all bringing back water samples and data, and there will be a lot of analysis going on, and still a lot of teamwork even across large distances!

  16. Kayla Tojeiro says:

    Hello Linsey , I was wondering what inspired you to do your final expidition on Artic layers ?

    • Kayla Tojeiro says:

      Lindsay , what was your hypothesis for the project of the boundary of Artic layers ? Was it right or wrong ?

      • lindsay says:

        Hi Kayla, the idea of the project is to learn how the two different instruments, the meteorological temperature profiler (MTP) on the ship and the radiosonde weather balloon instrument in the air, compare in accuracy in different conditions. What they found was that the MTP matches well in clear conditions, but not in cloudy conditions, so the next step is to improve that.
        I have always loved exploring and learning new things – what better way than to go on a research ship in the Arctic. Studying the atmospheric layers are really important to scientists because everything in the Arctic – the air, ocean, and ice – are all connected by climate.

  17. kaleb bellamy says:

    what makes white rainbows white

    • lindsay says:

      Hi Kaleb, there are a few ideas about that. One is that water droplets tend to be smaller in the polar regions, making the refraction effect (which is when sunlight hits a water droplet and bends, spreading out the white light into all the colors) smaller and less colorful.

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