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Some Tasty Morsels

(CBS)
LABRADOR SEA – I thought I'd start with some lighthearted fare today and write about the food onboard the ship. My theory is that if I'm writing about it then that probably means I'm not eating it. Don't get me wrong – the food is delicious. And therein lies the problem. With three scheduled meals a day and so many choices of entrée or another bun or some potato salad or an extra helping of casserole, I have to force myself to spend a little time in the gym. It'd be easy to return home carrying an extra life preserver around my waist. Randy, the chief cook, is eager to please all palates and no serving is too large. Not that I'm complaining – it's a luxury to have someone (actually a team of cooks) make your meals and clean the dishes all day. I just have to pace myself. And keep my eye on the treadmill.

It's colder today, maybe in the 40s plus wind chill, and we're socked in with fog. Visibility is minimal, so the ship's fog horn has been sounding every few minutes as we go up towards the coast of Greenland. Already had a successful "station" or deployment this morning of the various pieces of scientific equipment, though they've made a few minor adjustments since yesterday.

(CBS/Chloe Arensberg)
For example the light sensor on the rosette was being affected by the light on the camera attached to the bottom of the rosette, so they've separated the two. Generally minor stuff, as I say. At least so far. (It's considered minor if there's a workaround or fix.) Over time these stations can become fairly routine since they're done twice a day, though the increase in ice can make things a wee bit more complicated. Just a bit.

We've spotted a few smaller icebergs, but it'll be a couple days before we're really in the thick of it.

I also spent some time today talking to the chief scientist, John Nelson, discussing the bigger picture of the research onboard. It's intricate and multi-disciplinary work, and while some measurements can be reviewed over a short period of time, much of the data will have to be analyzed later. Scientists are nothing if not methodical. Part of the goal here is to create baseline information and to compare it with existing research. (How do you know where our planet is going if you don't know where it's been?) There are no obvious answers or rationale for the miniscule shifts in our planet. But expeditions like this one are critical to putting all the pieces together. Primarily, Nelson says, because what happens in the Arctic Ocean has a kind of trickle-down effect on the rest of the world's oceans in terms of the organisms, the temperature and the currents. (And a whole lot more that I hope to learn later.) You can hear more about his thoughts on subjects like defining climate change vs. global warming .

I think it's human nature to be a little impatient, and I know as a journalist I have to keep reminding myself not expect any definite conclusions about climate change on this trip, especially not so soon. But my hope is by the end of this journey to illustrate to our viewers, listeners and readers what's being done, why it's so important, and how this web of life in the Arctic ties together with the rest of the world. In other words, why it all matters. We constantly hear about what's happening to our planet in terms of climate change or global warming (this weekend there's even a huge concert to raise awareness called "Live Earth"), but this is where people are rolling up their sleeves and actually trying to understand it. I'm glad to be along for the ride.

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