Friday, January 25, 2013


We were sitting in a coffee shop on Reykjavik's main street last week, when there was a flash of light that we all assumed was a camera flash. But then came the unmistakable sound of thunder. The air temperature was a couple of degrees above freezing and a mix of rain and sleet was falling. It turns out that this is one of the rarer meteorological phenomena - thundersnow. Read more about it here:

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The highs and lows of winter fieldwork

It's the middle of January and the December fieldwork is finally finished. This was stripped-down sampling, because of the short days and (often) long walks into the site. It gets light at around 10 am at the moment, dark around 5 pm. That doesn't leave much time, especially with a one-and-a-half hour walk in either direction. Fortunately, we got two days of good weather, and Sveinbjörn was able to drive us all the way into both sites the second day. We did not get the microbial samples or diel oxygen data from OH2 (for want of a $2 screwdriver!), but got the benthic invertebrate and algal samples, and did the salt and ammonium slugs in both the warmed and reference streams. Not bad for one of the toughest times of the year. The heat exchanger is cranking away, with about a 2.7 C increase. Thanks to Jón, Sveinbjörn and Friddi for helping. Alex gets here on 1 February and then we start up all over again. At least we'll have a bit more light then.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Jon starts his sabbatical in Iceland

A new chapter of the project began on 30 December, as Jon Benstead and family moved out to Iceland for the next seven months. We arrived to lots of snow, about 7 hours of daylight each day, and the insanity of New Year's Eve in Reykjavik. Neither words nor photos can do justice to the fireworks over the city - you just have to see it for yourself. Here's Lillian standing next to some of the curbside detritus the next day. Yes, that's 100 2-inch tubes - Icelanders don't mess around!

Heidi has also been settling in. Here she is getting friendly with a local...

Expect regular reports on life in Iceland from now on. There may even be some science every now and then. Now back to preparing for the next bout of winter fieldwork...