Monday, December 10, 2007

December 11, 2007
McMurdo Antarctica

Time: 8 am
Latitude: 77° 49.98’ S
Longitude: 166° 49.10’ E
Temperature: -2°C (28 °F)
Wind speed: 0-1km/h (mph)
Wind Chill:
Clouds: partly cloudy
Wind direction: calm
Relative Humidity: 52%
Barometric Pressure: rising
Precipitation: 0

Yesterday a couple of our colleagues; Dave, Rebecca, Ursula, and Inger shipped out on a C-130 flight to the WAIS Divide camp. There are already a few folks there setting up camp and these four have gone to help. They arrived here in McMurdo
a week before we did so they finished all their classes and it was time
for them to get to the deep field camp. Certainly I am hoping they get
my tent setup in timefor my arrival.

Antarctica is a place
that things happen. Last night after supper John, having never been on
skis before, set out with me and did an outstanding job skiing on his
new cross-country skis. We went over 2 miles back and forth on the snow
road to Willey field airport . Now he is ready for skiing in the deep

Well, today is happy camper school. What that means is that we pack up our ECW
(Extreme Cold Weather) gear and take it over the Science Support Center
where we will have a few indoor classes on cold weather survival and
then off to a camp on the ice shelf where we will build shelters,
practice what wenned to know to live in extreme conditions, and learn
to work together in the “field”. I know that I often use the term
“field” – what I mean by that is our locations both here inMcMurdo and at the WAIS Divide camp as working environments that are not in the city but away in a wilderness environment. Often we call one, McMurdo, the field and places like WAIS Divide camp the deep field since it is another 6 hour plane ride out in the middle of nowhere West Antarctica.

Camper school will last for two days. Tonight we will sleep in a Scott
tent, which is a design based on the original tents used by Antarctic
explorer Robert Falcon Scott in the early part of the 20th century, or
we may sleep in am igloo or snow cave that we have to build. Either way
it is a great opportunity to practice skills with the wilderness
experts.Everytime we leave a camp like McMurdo or WAIS Divide we are required to carry with us a bag of our ECW
clothes just in case we are stuck away from our regular shelter.
Sometimes flights or snowmobile trips from one camp to another have had
to stop and take shelter at another camp along the way or even build an
emergency camp. If you did not have yourECW gear, though we wear much
of it most of the time, you might be stuck in a very bad situation. All
that being said the NSF and the Raytheon folks do a great job of keeping everyone safe.

Here is a picture of new arrivals getting off a C-17.


Anna said...

To Zach:

Hi. My name is Anna, and I'm a freshman at Camden Hills Regional High School - Camden, Maine, that is. If I read your journals correctly, you're also from Maine. About a week ago, my science teacher told me about your blog and that you were on your way to Antarctica to sample ice. I'm very eager to read your journals and I'm also very excited to follow your study. I've basically taken your blog on as a project, and I hope that I'll be able to ask questions. My goal is to maybe someday be able to work in the field as well, taking ice samples, learning about global warming, and such. This will definitely be an awesome learning experience, and I thank you for keeping your journals as a blog. I hope everything is going well in Antarctica. Here on the coast of Maine it is currently snowing.

Thanks Again,

zach said...

Hi Anna,

Thanks for the note. Hello to Camden Hills and the rest of Maine. Yes, I live in York County Maine. You are in the right place if you want to go into climate research. There are a number of outstanding "local" and national research programs that deal with glaciers, climate, and geology. I will be happy to help in any way that I can.

You and your friends are also welcome to contact me after my trip this year is over in February. Enjoy the snow.