Desierto norte de Chile

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What in the world is going on??

So it has been exactly 3 weeks since my last blog entry. Wow. Definitely the longest time I've gone in over three years between posts. So here are a few updates, odds, and ends from the beginning of November.

1- The VOCALS field project ended up well. You recall I spent nearly 4 weeks in Arica, in the north of Chile, working as a forecaster for the team, analyzing synoptic conditions and giving short prognoses for the coming 24-48 hours. I enjoyed making contacts with lots of people involved in stratocumulus research (from chemistry to dynamics to oceanography), and I especially enjoyed getting to know the small forecasting group. We had several bar-b-ques, including one with a cabrito, or a goat on a stick [yes, I know "cabrito" has a few other less-positive meanings in other latin countries].

2- I left Arica after the 2nd half of the "All-Hands" meeting and drove with Dave, another U-Chile postdoc who came to Arica for the meeting, to the Altiplano. We spent the night in Putre (elevation 3500 meters, or about 10,000 feet) and got up very early the next day to see the sunrise over Lago Chungara. It was amazing to see the 6000 m volcano towering over the lake. And I realized that flamingos are not only tropical birds (well, we were still technically in the tropics at 18S)... it was well below zero when we arrived at the lake and volcano, and there they were just resting in the freezing water.

3- After watching the sunrise and messing around a little on the altiplano (including taking a picture of a weather station at 4350 meters... which has to be one of the higher stations in the world), Dave and I began our LONG trek - by car - back to Santiago. We drove back down the altiplano, gassed up in Arica, and set out for Tocopilla, our destination that night. We crossed the high desert, made our way through Iquique, and successfully managed the Region I fruit/police checkpoint (just played the "dumb tourist" card- which wasn't hard to do because we fit the bill pretty well! -and they didnt give us any hassle at all).

4- My big big news of the past month is that I've been offered (and have accepted!) a tenure-track assistant professor position in the Oceanography department at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis. I think it's going to be a great location to work, and I really like that their emphasis is as much on teaching as it is on research. I'll be teaching several sections of an introductory course this spring, including the labs, and am still working out the details of what I might be teaching in the fall.

5- So given that my first course at USNA is spring 2009, I'm rapidly finishing up things here in Santiago and preparing to leave. It is definitely a bittersweet parting, but I'm trying to make the most of the last 3 weeks (from today, actually 2 weeks 6 days).

6- This week the Geophysics department (where I work) is hosting the 4th annual Humboldt Conference. I gave a talk yesterday on my research and have been helping with the administrative details leading up to this week, and also this week I worked at the registration table. It's been great to make more contacts and learn about the interface between meteorology, climate, geology, and geophysics. It'll also be the 2nd time in 3 years that I'll spend the US holiday of Thanksgiving outside the US. Last time was Nov 2006 when I was in Istanbul (yes, Turkey, how ironic?) Speaking of the conference, I've gotta go get ready for today's activites.

I know that I owe pictures from Arica & the voyage home, as well as several activites of the past few weeks. I'll try to be more diligent in getting them up :)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The day after

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