Saturday, September 28, 2013

Kotzbue in the fall

When I packed for Kotzebue, I imagined doing fieldwork in the Arctic in late September would look something like this:

Screening on our second morning in Kotz
 I was not mistaken. When we got up the first day, this was the view out our apartment window:

To compound what looked like miserableness for digging, this is how dark it still was at 8:30 in the morning (even though there are about 12 hours of daylight in Kotzebue right now - as with everywhere on Earth at the equinox - those 12 hours fall between 9am and 9pm due to Kotzebue's position in the far-west of this giant time zone that includes most of Alaska), so we didn't start work as early as we normally would in the summer.

Much to our surprise, the ground actually wasn't frozen, at least in our project area. I did see frozen ground elsewhere in Kotz. We were able to dig!

Here I am at 9:30 in the morning on our second day of work in a snow squall that necessitated all three hoods.

Twenty minutes later the sun was out and I only needed one hood (you can still see snowflakes on the brim of my hat)!

We actually ended up being very lucky with the weather. Even though it was windy, we were fairly protected being back ~50 meters from the beach. The snow was dry and didn't last past the morning on the first two days. Other than that, it was either cloudy or sunny and even though it probably never got above 38 degrees, we were able to stay warm because we were dry (and we went back to our apartment for lunch everyday)

On our last day we had time to go sightseeing before we flew out in the evening. It was lucky that we were done with the fieldwork because despite being a blue bird day, it was freezing cold and the wind was howling.

We drove the loop road out of town and got to see Kotz from the inland side. Unfortunately we didn't see Russia.

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