December 28, 2007
WAIS Divide camp Antarctica
Time: 6 am
Latitude: 79° 28.10’ S
Longitude: 112° 3.56’ W
Elevation: 1820 m (5919’)
Temperature: -15°C ( 13°F)
Wind speed: 8 km/h (5 mp/h)
Wind Chill: -4°C ( 25°F)
Visibility: bluebird day (totally clear with no clouds)
Wind direction: W
Relative Humidity: 78%
Barometric Pressure: rising
Breakfast: baked egg- artichoke heart - pepper, sausage-bacon, toast, hot/cold cereal, lots of leftovers
Lunch: roast beef sandwiches, veggies, mashpotaotes
Yesterday was very mild, only 13 °F. Not quite short-sleeve temperatures though some folks were dressed down to their long underware tops.
A C-130 (airplane) came in today. It carried out about 6 people and what we call retro cargo (cargo that goes back, in this case to McMurdo) and brought us about 8 more people and some gear. It was not a particularly sunny day but clear enough to land. Without the direct sunlight the light remains, as we call it, flat. In flat light you can often not even see small snow banks or exactly where the “ground” is. I have often tripped on a small snow mound or fallen down a small snow slope because I could not see the surface. Even on sunny days the snow surface is often so smooth that it is hard to tell where it is without any shadows.
It is a strange feeling when new folks come and old ones go. You become very close here with everyone in camp and are sorry to see folks leave, even if they have only been here with you for a few weeks. It does not take long to become old friends and many people here keep in touch years and years afterwards after only having lived with each other for a few weeks in the field. During that few weeks though you shared a lot of common time. It can also work the opposite way and in some cases you can not wait to get away from some people. I think that the positive happens more than the negative.
Seeing new people come to camp is also a little strange. New people become old friends quickly and the community we have here at WAIS Divide camp is very welcoming.
In 1908 Shackelton captained the Nimrod Expedition to Antarctica. One of the ways that the men entertained themselves on that over-winter expedition was to “publish” Aurora Australis. In anticipation of their publishing this book while they were in Antarctica some of the men had instruction of using a printing press and then transported the printing press with them to Antarctica. This book was a collection of short stories, wood prints, drawings, poems, and other entertainment. Yesterday’s entry of Sharon’s poem Antarctica was another entry designed to make this blog a collection of the diversity of talents in Antarctica. My understanding is that there were 100 original copies published by the crew in Antarctica and bound in packing crates that were used to ship food stuff . If that is true, there must be a few original copies still in private libraries etc around the world. If you have one, I would trade you an official WAIS Divide project patch for a copy, maybe even two patches. Otherwise, you might be able to find a recent paper copy of Aurora Australis available through modern publishers.
I mentioned before about my 3d quadrat and how it does not contain all of the weather equipment that I would normally install in my 3-d quadrat at home. There are a couple reasons for this, one being that my WAIS Divide 3d quadrat is right next to a professional grade weather station so no reason to have double instrumentation. I can justify this because if you look at today’s image you will see that I could move my 3d quadrat kilometers in any direction and guess what – it is still flat, snow covered, the same elevation, and impacted by the same amount of wind. Basically the area around here does not change much for long distances. At my home and at your location every few feet the vegetation, elevation, wind, etc probably changes a lot. The faster the terrain you are observing changes the more measurements you need to take to get a good average or representative data for that area. If your schoolyard has a lot of changes you would need to use a couple of 3d quadrats and get data from each different type of area. Then you would average them together to get the best representative example. More on 3d quadrats each entry. As soon as our young school friends are back in their classrooms we will be comparing measurements using our individual 3d quadrats from many different places. Although the Internet connection here is not very strong I hope that we can create a larger conversation between us all. All are certainly welcome.