Wednesday 7th - Computer Problems

There was a simple task to complete on Wednesday morning; analyse the morning’s sensitive area prediction plots and finish planning a targeted observations flight for Thursday.  This was made slightly more complicated when, at 7:30am, we found out that we had no plots to plan the flight from, or even forecasts to plan an alternative mission from.  Risking a serious bout of repetitive strain injury, we spent the next few hours repeatedly hitting the refresh button on our web browsers, anxious for information. The failure of the hotel’s internet connection at around 9am provided only brief respite, as it was promptly restored by the manager.

As stress levels increased, news slowly filtered through to us that rare computer problems were causing chaos at ECMWF, and that we would get no information any time soon.  This meant that we had to change our strategy.  Clearly, staring at a screen while repeatedly hitting the refresh button in the hope of seeing new data was going to do nothing except ruin our eyesight, give us the aforementioned RSI, and send us slowly mad.  Ian, Nina and Emma held an emergency summit and decided to plan the flight anyway, and cancel it later if no data was received.   


Frozen Lake


Small groups of people had already left to take advantage of the day off to explore the island, leaving a dwindling number of dedicated scientists to man the crisis.  By lunchtime though, even the PhD students decided there was nothing more they could do to help, and disappeared off to Reykjavik for the afternoon. Carling was delighted with the availability of a decent salad for lunch, and an unexpected degree of entertainment was derived from watching ducks on a frozen pond. This may be related to the slight loss of sanity mentioned earlier.

This left Ian and Nina to hold the fort, poised to act if any further data came through. Nothing of significant use materialised, however, and everyone returned in time for dinner to find that the only change in the situation was the cancellation of the planned targeted observations flight for Thursday, as a result of the lack of data.

Tired and a little frustrated, the scientists retired for the evening, hoping that Thursday would bring better news.