Tuesday, December 25, 2007

December 26, 2007
WAIS Divide camp Antarctica

Time: 6 am
Latitude: 79° 28.10’ S
Longitude: 112° 3.56’ W
Elevation: 1820 m (5919’)
Temperature: -14 °C (7 °F)
Wind speed: calm
Wind Chill: °C
Visibility: cloudy, 2 miles
Clouds: thick stratus to the ground
Wind direction: N
Relative Humidity: 86%
Barometric Pressure: falling
Precipitation: 0, snowing lightly
Breakfast: eggs, sausage-bacon, toast, hot/cold cereal, lots of leftovers

The glue on my 3-d quadrat seems to have hardened properly so I installed it outside the communications building as close as possible to the meteorology
(weather) station. Since there is already a professional grade weather
station here, I have decided to use it for most of the weather data. All of the data should come from inside the 3d quadrat but you use what you can - and the meteorology station is right next to the 3d quadrat - and I did add my 2
data loggers to my 3-dquadrat, one on the snow level and one at the
top, one meter up, a wind indicator (flag) on the upright bamboo poles that support the 3d quadrat, and a snow depth indicator. The data loggers I am using automatically record temperature and light intensity every hour, 24 hrs a day, for about 3 months. The relative humidity, additional temperature, and barometric pressure will come from the WAIS meteorology station.

Yesterday I was also back on snow pity duty. Inger and I added a lot more inside
space and smoothed the walls on the snow pit we started two days ago.
Ken brought his movie camera out and we added a few more film clips of
the digging to the collection of science process videos he is making.
All in all, the additional snow pit work took the better half of a day.
It is actually a great job being off the station and just working on
snow pits. Though you are 2 meters deep in a snow pit it is actually
warmer than being on the surface with the wind. And you are largely
also out of the Sun, which is very important in a place where the Sun
is always out and there is no shade –except in a building or in the
snow pit. After going to the beach in NZ and all the Sun I have gotten
here, my nose has been burnt and peeled twice. I guess I need more

Since yesterday was the 25th and Christmas here in
Antarctica, Ken the project director gave glass science beakers to all
the staff. It was a very nice surprise and a terrific gift for a
science group. Lots of folks here have also gotten boxes and mail on
the last plane. Most of it was Christmas gifts and “care packages” from
home, all very much appreciated and largely shared with everyone else

Today’s images are of Inger clearing off the snow that
drifted on to the plywood that we used to cover our snow pits. Without
the plywood covers the 2 m (6’) x 3 m (9’) snow pits would have been completely
filled in by drifting snow in less than a day. The two things you can
always count on here is 24 hrs of Sun at this time of year and blowing
snow. The other is of my 3d quadrat. You can see it placed next to our station weather station. What you may not be able to see in this image are the two data loggers and snow depth indicator. The last image is one of the scientists here with their ski-sail enjoying the almost constant wind.


Anna said...

Hey Zach,

Sorry I haven't commented in a while. Been busy with school and the holidays, but I've been able to keep up with the reading.

Just wanted to say Merry Christmas, because here in Maine it is Christmas day.

I had one question in mind. Do you interact at all with foreign scientists who are also doing studies in Antarctica? I mean, Antarctica isn't controled by one nation right, so I'm sure other scientists do research there.

Anyways, hope everything is going well, and happy holidays!


zach said...

Antarctica is all about International cooperation. We have 1 French and 1 Danish scientist in camp working on this program. If I can ever access the Internet I will post a link to the International Antarctic Treaty, or you can google it.