Thursday, August 23, 2007

To answer some questions...

Dave asked:

1) It appears as though the staff at your base changes on an annual basis? Are there any processes in place to ensure experimental continuity year to year? I know what it can be like when one set of experiments is repeated by another person!

Traditionally, science contracts lasted two years, ensuring a one-year overlap between outgoing and incoming staff. Most knowledge was passed on in this way, but there are also sizable manuals with (nearly!) everything written down. And of course, the Cambridge staff (who designed and set up the experiments) are only a phone-call or email away.

2) Any more info on those survival bags and general practices for survival when you are out and about working.

Working on site is different to field travel. For site work, we wear PPE developed for the Alaskan oil industry and dress to the weather. For instance, yesterday when flying the Blimp it was -35C with 8knts wind. I wore: Thermals top and bottom, moleskin trousers, fleece jumper, and thick boiler suit. Because the work involved either a lot of movement (when setting up), or standing around (when in flight), I added the thick Canada Goose down jacket when I felt chilly.

The main secret is good glove selection:Dexterity Vs Warmth is an on-going battle, with at least 10 different gloves vying for supremacy. Personally I favour thin thermal liners (worn with my thumb poking through a hole in the thermal sleeve to prevent bare patches) with either leather/thinsulate work gloves or the massive Bear Paw mitts over the top.

The bivi-bags are standard Goretex examples you'd find in any UK supplier.


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