Tuesday, January 15, 2008

January 16, 2008
WAIS Divide camp Antarctica

Time: 6 am
Latitude: 79° 28.10’ S
Longitude: 112° 3.56’ W
Elevation: 1820 m (5919’)
Ice core: ~ 420 m (~1,260’)
Temperature:-13°C (8°F)
Wind speed: 25-30 km/h (18 mp/h- gusts to 25)
Wind Chill: -23°C (-10°F)
Visibility: 1.6 km (1 miles)
Clouds: stratus and ground blizzard still , but blue sky above 1000'
Wind direction: N/NE
Relative Humidity: 87%
Barometric Pressure: steady
Precipitation: - 0
Animals: 6 Skuas, 12 Weddell seals (all in McMurdo)
Breakfast: no hot chocolate
Lunch: shrimp and scallop in pasta, pesto pasta
Supper: Steak, potaotes, Asian noodles, veggies

I mentioned, we got a big storm starting two nights ago. It was (still is)a
good Antarctica storm with high winds, snow, and believe it or not –
blue sky and light clouds above ~1000’. It is kind of strange to get a
glimpse through the ground storm and look up to see blue sky. It means
that there certainly will not be a plane again today. It may seem that
I mention the planes too often but there are a bit of the blood around
here. It is the planes in “freshies”, people, and science supplies.
Though we are out of hot chocolate, more importantly we are running low
on some science supplies and waiting on a couple of key people to show
up. None of this is a real problem but it makes life in Antarctica
interesting. There is also something fun about planes and even if they
do not bring something special for you they add a bit of excitement to
the day. It is also the planes that will carry our ice cores and
personnel out of here at the end of the season, which is coming up very
very fast. We know that they will come but I would like to see them in
and out of here more often to reassure that I will get out on time. One
of the people we are waiting to see is Dr Charles Bentley, geophysicist
and professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr
Bentley is a real Antarctic explorer making his first trip here to the
ice in 1957 spending 25 months as part of the International Geophysical
Year(s) in and out of Little America that was an outpost on the edge of
the Ross Ice Shelf. He is truly one of the pioneers of Antarctic
science and during that first trip to Antarctica completed the longest
geophysical traverse from Little America inland to Byrd Station. Today
he is one of the world’s leading experts on West Antarctic ice
sheet and the principle investigator for the University of Wisconsin’s
Ice Coring and Drilling Services (our drillers here atWAIS Divide camp). Dr Bentley also has a mountain named after him, Mount Bentley, at 4,247 m (13,930 ‘) in the Sentinel Range.

it is the lack of planes or maybe it is the low-pressure weather system
but we need another celebration around here. We have had holidays and
birthdays about every week but nothing to celebrate in a while now.
Karen did make some terrific looking cookies with sprinkles so we might
need to invent a reason to hold a celebration just for the cookies. If
you have any ideas on something we can celebrate please send them to me
right away.

Today's image is one of the entrance to the galley. You can see the size of the drifts that formed during the storm the last 24+ hours. If we had not been shoveling out the doorway each hour or so it would have been completely blocked.


Mark said...


A few things you could celebrate on the 16th:

1945: Hitler descends to bunker to remain until suicide

1953: Corvette introduced in New York

1979: Shah flees Iran

1991: The Persian Gulf War begins

1997: Raytheon acquires Hughes Electronics

Enjoy the Cookies,

Sue said...


If you think back to the Antarctic explorers of decades ago, I'm sure you can think of many things to celebrate while you are on the ice:
-The ability to communicate with the outside world via satellite ... and so clearly too!
-The ability to eat delicious meals that are prepared for you ... instead of hunting for food cache's or eating seal meat.
-The ability to bathe whenever you feel the need ... and with warm water!
-Using snowmobiles, aircraft, and helicopters ... rather than traveling by dog sleds!
-You are not alone! You have many new friends from all over the globe to get to know and learn to appreciate their varied cultures!
-Etc, etc, etc!

I think you could probably celebrate the fact that you have the opportunity visit a beautiful place that most of us will never, never be able to visit!

Each day you are there should be a celebration of each other! You are all so fortunate that you live in the era that you do and that you can explore the wonders of this good Earth ... with relative ease and just minor inconveniences!

Now ... go plan a celebration! There are just a few more days for you to appreciate where you are and what you are doing!


Anna said...

To Zach,

Greetings from Maine! We had some really nice weather, but it snowed yesterday, and is starting to get cold again. I hope you get your ginger tea soon! I know tea and hot chocolate can really be comforting in the cold weather. I searched for some historical events that you can celebrate:
January 15th (Today in Maine):
Queen Elizabeth I was crowned-1559
Martin Luther King Jr. was born-1929
First Super Bowl held- 1967
January 16th (Today in Anarctica):
U.S. Civil Service established-1883
Gen. Eisenhower took command of Allied Invasion Force in London- 1944
January 17th:
Beatles' album Yellow Submarine released- 1969

Ya, I know. Not too much going on. Maybe invent your own holiday? Hope you enjoy the cookies anyways.


kay said...

"Sue" said it well. Celebrate all that you are doing, there in Antarctica, and in your life. Most of the rest of us would love to just eat a cookie in that amazing place. Cheeres to you all.