Back in Sweden after over two months of traveling, 10,300 km driven, 8 countries visited, and countless memories. Here are some pictures of the trip home from Greece to Sweden.
Back in Sweden after many weeks of traveling back from Slovenia. Tomorrow I will start the analysis portion of the data collected. This includes preparing the dead/living wood samples through sanding and mounting methods, then detailed counting and measuring methods to determine ring size and average growth. This process requires a microscope and a lot of uninterrupted time. Once both the dead wood and live wood samples have been mounted and counted, the numbers will be entered into a computer program, which Paul has helped create, and analyzed further. By using the living wood samples as a starting point we will be able to go back in time through many hundreds of years of recorded climate data, the purpose of the dead wood we collected is to allow us to go back even further in time. For instance if we have a piece of dead wood sampled that died 700 years ago but was 500 years old when it died we will be able to go back in time 1,200 years (with living samples as well) and determine the climate of that area and its changes over time. This type of analysis is called cross dating and is extremely important and useful in the earth science field. Because we collected over 70 live samples and 50-60 dead samples there is a lot of work to do before any conclusion climate wise can be made.
As I was deleting photos from my camera I found a couple from the summer school itself. I did not take these photos, seeing as I am a good student and was paying attention, so I asked a professor if he would do the honors.
After the summer school in Navarino Greece, Paul and I made our way back up to Italy by ferry, docking once again in Venice. Because the fieldwork and summer school are now finished, we have a couple weeks holiday before starting the data analysis portion back in Stockholm at the end of July. Two days ago Paul and I climbed Triglav, the highest mountain in Slovenia reaching 2,864 meters. It was good to be back in the mountains to say the least.
For the past 10 days I have attended a summer school which Paul and a few other colleagues organized, aimed at understanding climate change in the Mediterranean region. Because the course was tailored to phd students much of the material was too detailed and over my head, but I have been able to gain a broader understandings for some of the science and its importance. About 15 different scientists from all around the world attended and gave two or three lectures detailing either their research or some broader aspect of their specialty. After everyday it was four different students turn to summarize the lectures in a 30 minute presentation. My section was on the difficulty with modeling and more specifically modeling the Hadley Cells expansion..needless to say I learned a lot. At the end of the course the same groups of students presented a little of what they learned from the course and what the future might hold. This was interesting because it allowed the phd students to talk about their research and how it might relate to the greater scheme of global climate change. Although, like I said, the class was over my head, I managed to learn a decent amount and make some pretty great contacts with professors and students from around the world.
Back at the NEO station once again! It is unbelievably hot here, high 90’s at least, which has given us an excuse to stay in the air conditioning and prepare for the summer school that will begin in a couple days time. Five days ago Paul and I left the NEO station to explore a new site high in the Taygetus mountain range. We followed an amazingly well kept dirt road from Kardamyli to about the middle of the mountain range, where we set up camp at the base of Mount Taygetus, the tallest mountain in the range reaching over 2,400 meters. We camped in a deserted village, one where shepherds live during the summer when they bring their sheep to the high mountain pastures to graze. In the morning we awoke to a huge flock of sheep tramping past our camp, with their bells clanging, the shepherd yelling and the dogs barking…Guess we weren’t as removed as we thought. We got an early start and hiked the western ridge leading to Mount Taygetus. From the highest point on the ridge, and with our backs to the mountain, we were able to see the remaining Taygetos mountain range as it splits the sea in half creating both the Messenian Gulf and the Laconian Gulf. Here it is easy to appreciate how mountainous Greece truly is. The mountains come straight down to the sea, in many places exposing giant limestone cliffs and in others forming amazing beaches that stretch many kilometers down the coast. We spent the afternoon coring on the western ridge where the trees seemed to be the oldest, before heading down to base camp and getting some food and water. I had forgotten to fill up on water because for some reason I thought we would find a spring…we did not. It was a learning experience to say the least and Paul enjoyed a laugh or two. Because the site was not that old and we didn’t expect to find any different data anywhere else in the region, we decided to reward ourselves for our hard work and head for the coast. We made our way down the western coast to Areoploi where we took a pass through the lowest part of the mountain range to Gytheio, where we ordered Octopus and Ouzo (note that we’re going for the traditional Greek experience here…) We made our way a little further down the coast to a campground in Kotronas where we spent the night. We headed back to NEO on the 18th taking the coastal route where we could easily stop and swim whenever it got too hot in the truck. We arrived at NEO late Tuesday night just in time to meet Giorgos (the NEO station manager) and some summer volunteers for dinner by the sea. We will spend the remaining days preparing for the summer school and swimming as much as possible to stay cool. It’s so hot!