Monday, December 3, 2012

Living the life on the high ice ...

Tim Godaire learns a useful science skill: High angle rescue. (The snow, ice and crevasse version of high angle rescue is a required skill for glaciological fieldwork.)

One advantage of becoming a climate scientist in today's changing world is that you're likely to travel and camp out. The greatest changes are taking place in the high latitude areas of the northern and southern hemispheres, so that is where many young scientists are heading.

I was lucky enough to do quite a bit of this kind of thing when I was a young serviceman, mostly because there was an interchange between the RAF Mountain Rescue system and science and science training organizations. The science organizations used MR "troops" for rescue and logistical services on the ice, and as leaders for expeditionary training.

Some of us volunteered for the British Antarctic Survey, and could be seconded to that organization for a year or more. For my part, I worked with science training organizations such as the annual NORPED expedition to Norway's ice caps, or the British Exploring Society, essentially a science training and youth expeditionary arm of the UK's Royal Geographical Society. I spent time on ice caps in Norway and Iceland and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

I'm thinking about this now because of our recent graduates, Tim Godaire, now at UMaine's Climate Change Institute, arrived for a visit with the news that he would soon be heading to Alaska for some training work, then possibly to Greenland the following year.

I was over the moon to hear that he would make it to the high latitude country so quickly.

Here's a study in pictures of the BAS's current work at Lake Ellsworth in Antarctica, which has been in the news lately because of the discovery of specialized bacteria in the waters of the frozen lake.

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