College of Science

Postcard from Chile: SNS Professor, Dan Fernandez, documents his travels to South America

My goal is to establish stronger collaborations with Chilean researchers involved with fog research. Chile is a leader in terms of the length of time and number of people who are and have been involved in fog research. This is for good reason. The country extends over 2000 miles of coast and has extensive medium-to-tall coastal hills where the fog forms readily. In so doing, I have traveled by bus or rental car from Santiago to the northern part of Chile (the Atacama Desert) a distance of over 1200 miles and have met with I think many Chilean researchers involved with fog or dew (and one who does mercury research), who have been very gracious and open about showing me their experimental sites. I have visited over 6 locations where active fog collection is taking place at either a small or a large scale and I attended an environmental forum sponsored by a company/Foundation for Desert Studies who is making beer from fog. The name of the beer is "Atrapanieblas" which means fog catcher. It is quite good! I also visited the driest spot on earth here in the Atacama and stayed in a research site that is completely solar and the water we use comes from fog collected. During this trip I have presented five times on the research that my group and I are doing in California. I used the presentation I gave to the AMWS class in January. I gave it in Spanish four of the five times. As a result of my trip, we are looking at several joint projects and now a handful of Chilean researchers plan to be involved in weekly teleconference calls with our (primarily) US research fog research group.

Dan Fernandez
Chile landscape