Monday, December 31, 2007

January 1, 2008
WAIS Divide camp Antarctica

Time: 6 am
Latitude: 79° 28.10’ S
Longitude: 112° 3.56’ W
Elevation: 1820 m (5919’)
Temperature: -10 °C ( 13°F)
Wind speed: calm
Wind Chill:
Visibility: clear clear clear
Clouds: Clouds building on the horizon -Storm moving in
Wind direction: N
Relative Humidity: 80%
Barometric Pressure: falling
Precipitation: 0
Breakfast: breakfast burrito

Happy New Year!!!
like today have not been happening often, but today was clear, getting
clearer, and actual clouds instead of overcast skies. This is all well
and good but Ken (Chief scientist) and I were trying to film more
around camp video. The Sun casts a few shadows off the snow piles and
is nice to have instead of the usual cloudy flat light we get around
here. Unfortunately, because we actually had real clouds and not just
an overcast sky, our video background kept changing. If we were able to
do all our video in one take then all would be good, but the more film
takes you need the more the background changes and the harder it is to
splice the pieces together. I am not complaining about seeing the Sun,
even if the Sunburn on my nose is finally healing.

Observations on the 3d quadrat
today include a sharp decline in the relative humidity and the clearing
sky. At the same time, the temperature did not change much. These dry
days often produce “sundogs” on rings around the Sun and “diamond dust”. Sundogs
are bright spots that appear at the four “corners” on a circle around
the Sun. They are produced by the refraction of the light through high
atmospheric ice crystals (basically cirrus clouds). Diamond dust is my
favorite atmospheric cold weather phenomenon and I often saw it last
time I was in Antarctica. The only other time I saw it outside of
Antarctica was one winter on a mountain in Northern Idaho. Diamond dust
forms when the relative humidity is low and the air temperature so cold
that any available atmospheric moisture is frozen directly out of the
air. I am not sure if it can happen when the Sun is not shining (winter
darkness in Antarctica) but I have only seen it on sunny days as the
light reflects off the ice crystals as they fall to the ground. I will
be looking for Sundogs and Diamond dust today. Both are every difficult
to photograph so I will probably not able to add images to the blog.
Those of you with 3dquadrats should pay special attention to the
temperature, the cloud type/cover, and the relative humidity. Take
careful observations and look closely at the relationship between these

Today’s big news was sighting of a LDB (Long Distance
Balloon). These balloons are about 130 m (400’) in diameter and float
with the atmospheric air circulation at an altitude of about 33,000 m
(~100,000‘). These balloons carry a 8,800kg (4,000 lb) payload of
astronomy instruments. They float for months until the scientists
decide to bring it down for recovery. We are not sure when this balloon
was launched but it may have been back in October fromMcMurdo.

images today are of part of the cargo line with today’s clouds in the
background, a nice weather day football game during lunch, and one tent
that is being slowly covered by snow for the last few weeks – soon it
will have to be shoveled out.

1 comment:

MRMacrum said...

I discovered your blog when I decided to find some other Mainers with blogs. Apparently you are another Mainer who couldn't handle the winter here. Just had to vacation in another one of those vacation hotspots further South. Some guys have all the luck.

Anyway, Happy New Year from Maine. Loser. I hope you lose your tanning oil.