Thursday, January 10, 2008

January 11, 2008
WAIS Divide camp Antarctica

Time: 6 am
Latitude: 79° 28.10’ S
Longitude: 112° 3.56’ W
Elevation: 1820 m (5919’)
Ice core: 253 m (760’), 958 AD Beginning of the Viking Age
Temperature: -13 °C (8°F)
Wind speed: 13 km/h (8 mp/h)and decreasing
Wind Chill: -19 °C (-3 °F)
Visibility: 7 km (4.2 miles)
Clouds: clearing, clear with few clouds
Wind direction: W/SW
Relative Humidity: 78%
Barometric Pressure: steady
Precipitation: -
Breakfast: Cereal, French toast, no flight so we are out of eggs for breakfast
Lunch: mac and cheese, veggi soup
Supper: Fried Chicken, veggies, bread

have now changed to having three shifts per day in the drill arch. Both
the drillers and the core handlers have people manning the drilling
core handling 24 hrs. a day. I am staying on days, which helps my writing and
trying to get on the Internet to upload blogs every day at 5 am. My day
shift starts at 7:30 and ends around 4 pm. Today is a big transition
for some people as they move from days to evening shift or evenings to
the late-night midnight. A couple of folks, Inger,
Dave, and Ursula seem to be night people and sometimes stay up late so
are happy to work the midnight to 8 am late-night shift. Since it is always
day here, with the 24 hrs of light, it almost always seems like every
shift is the day shift. The biggest change is that we will only get to
see some people once a day as they are coming off or on their shift. I
had worked with Gabby and Dave but they both moved to evenings so it is
Sylvia,Rebecca , and I on the day shift. Gabby is a graduate student at Princeton
University and the University of Paris 6 in Paris France, and Dave is a
graduate student at Penn State University. Sylvia is a graduate student
at the University of Colorado at Boulder, andRebecca works at Mt Rainier and in Tahoe California.

Last night’s science lecture went well and my hope is that we have been able to recruit more of the staff/science here at WAIS
Divide camp to interact with students/public in their hometowns and get
more images and written reports from people here to add to the web site. This
morning as I was walking around in the powdery snow it was obvious that
the snow flurries we had for two days had accumulated. With the Sun out
again today it sure looks like a great day for a ski but I am exhausted
from my work shift today. It would be the day for a long ski away from
camp until there is nothing to be seen but a dot – but I am just not
going to make it.

I started to build a snowman, turned snow
rabbit, and a snow serpent a week or two ago and the new snow and wind
helped me out by adding lots of drifting snow to both sculptures. The
snowman/rabbit is about 6’ tall and reminds me of an imaginary 6’Pukka
rabbit from an old movie, so I named it Harvey. Harvey stands outside my
tent door and looks off towards “main street” and the buildings of
camp. My neighbor in tent city, Inger, also finished her igloo and she
and her building comrades had an igloo warming party last Saturday.
Almost everyone turned out to see the completed igloo and enjoy some authentic Gloegg, the
Norwegian version of hot-spiced wine. She did a really fabulous job on
the igloo and I am sure that it will be there, though mostly buried,
when they open upWAIS camp next summer. Anais has also finished her bore-hole logging measurements and packed up her remote camp. Our back lit
snow pit is not far from her old camp and on recent inspection I saw
about ½ m (1.5’) of snow covering the plywood roof. At this rate I will
have a lot of digging to do to reopen the pit and recover the plywood.

Today's images are of some of the Igloo Warming goers enjoying a cup of Gloegg, and finally, an image of Sundogs which we saw the evening of the party. I spoke about Sundogs in an earlier blog but basically they are an effect of the refraction of the Sun through high thin clouds. Both images courtesy of Inger.


sbattaio said...

With the extended shifts on the drill it sounds like this is the last big push before closing up the camp for the season. What is involved in shutting things down and preparing them to overwinter until next summer? Is much of the camp left in place or does it get shipped back out via transport plane?

Sue said...

Does anyone stay at the WAIS camp over the winter? If so, how many people and for what reason?

Mark said...

Dear sbattalo and Sue,

Zach has very limited access to the web at WAIS Divide so I thought I would answer your questions. If Zach has connection he can also answer.

We had always planned on 3 shifts when working on the ice core. With this being the beginning of the drilling we had planned to start a little slower, then gradually move towards the 24 hour/6 days per week schedule. Now that all the kinks have been worked out of the system they feel comfortable of working around the clock.

As for shutting down camp: everything is disassembled with the exception of the arch facility. It was designed to be covered with drifting snow. The camp structures are disassembled and placed on a winter cargo line, a fair distance from camp. This is to keep the drifting to a minimum around the camp.

No one stays at camp overwinter. It is far to remote for people to stay. Camp will be closed around mid-February and won't be visited again until late October.