A special thanks to Julia Bradley-Cook for posting the pictures and short text I was able to send via iPhone WiFi while on the trek to Pyramid Research Station and the Changri Nup Glacier! Of course, while at our remote field site, I had no access to internet, so the science update on the blog is a bit delayed!
To pick up where I left off, after Pheriche I spent one afternoon and night at Pyramid Research Station. Pyramid is owned and operated by the Italian research project EV-K2-CNR.
The Pyramid Research Station viewed from the ridge above.
The research station is maintained year-round and hosts labs, several atmospheric/meteorological monitors, a seismic station, and other scientific facilities. It also provides invaluable support for fieldwork on Changri Nup. In addition to hosting our research group, the Pyramid staff monitor the instruments deployed on Changri Nup year round. Additionally, one of the science techs accompanies our research group to the field.
Me outside the atmospheric research laboratory at Pyramid. Note the elevation!
Inside this building are several instruments, including some for analyzing black carbon, dust, and particulate matter. Right outside this building is a meteorological station, and it’s also where the Pyramid Staff collects air samples. (See the following three pictures, in order.)
Instruments for analyzing atmospheric particulate matter.
The met station at Pyramid. I will likely be using some of the data collected here in my energy modeling for nearby Changri Nup glacier.
Sonam, a Pyramid science tech, taking an air sample.
Pyramid has lodging for ~20 scientists and, much to our delight after trekking for 5 days, solar-heated water for showers and a cook!
We certainly had our share of Italian food, with a Nepali twist: all of the cheese was nak cheese (a nak is a female yak). Here, Mike with his nak cheese pizza.
The Pyramid staff includes an Italian director as well as a rotating Nepali staff of about 7: the station manager, science techs, and support staff. The afternoon at Pyramid was very busy. We met up with our porters and saw our scientific instruments for the first time since Kathmandu. Josh and I were busy programming the temperature sensors as well as charging batteries for the ToughBook computer and ground penetrating radar control unit. We also had to acquire and prepare two bamboo stakes for holding 17 sensors which will record temperature and humidity at various depths in the debris over the next year.
Pema, the Pyramid manager, and Mike are inserting small wires into the holes that we drilled for attaching the temperature and humidity sensors. We had to paint the bamboo white so that it will absorb as little additional heat as possible and not affect the data.
I actually got (had) to spend a little more time at Pyramid than some of the other group members. I went to Changri Nup Base Camp with the rest of the team, but my Hanover-accustomed blood couldn’t quite adjust in only 5 days to being at 16,500 ft. After the first day, when I did deploy my surface temperature sensors in time for the satellite data acquisition granted by NASA, I had to hike down with two porters and spend time at Pyramid getting oxygen and waiting for my blood oxygen levels to reach an acceptable level. But I ascended back to Changri Nup after only a few days and had a week of exciting fieldwork deploying more temperature and humidity sensors, measuring debris thickness with radar, and experiencing first hand what it’s like to walk around on a debris-covered glacier.
Check back in a few days for more details on the Changri Nup fieldwork!
A preview of fieldwork: Josh walking over the debris cover on Changri Nup.