By Katrina Bennett
Our plane flew in low to land in the small town of Nome, Alaska, the typical September morning fog lifting and sunlight pouring through the small portholes of the plane. I could see the familiar sights of abandoned dredges, the boats of placer miners suction-dredging for gold in the harbor, and the mouths of rivers meandering to the coast through the flat expanses of coastal wetlands.
Because of the pandemic, I had not been to Nome in two years, and as I exited the plane the wind blasted my face, reminding me that I had left behind the comfort of my pandemic home office in New Mexico where I research changes in Arctic snow and climate for Los Alamos National Laboratory. My work is part of the Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiments (NGEE) Arctic, a program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). In preparation for the NGEE Arctic’s return to the field after our forced hiatus, we had spent a good deal of time before we even packed our equipment and our suitcases running through ‘what if’ scenarios on risks to our physical safety from viruses, car accidents, or bears, as well as potential pitfalls that might affect our physiological safety, well-being, and ability to work efficiently and comfortably as a team.
I pulled on my puff jacket, my KN95 mask hiding a huge grin, and stepped into the sunny but not-warm-for-a-New Mexican weather. I was thrilled to be back in Nome and our remote Alaskan research sites.
Read the rest of the story as it appeared in Real Clear Science.