Wednesday, January 16, 2008
January 17, 2008
WAIS Divide camp Antarctica
Time: 6 am
Latitude: 79° 28.10’ S
Longitude: 112° 3.56’ W
Elevation: 1820 m (5919’)
Ice core: ~ 480 m (1,440’)
Temperature: -14°C (7°F)
Wind speed: 16-25 km/h (10-15 mp/h)
Wind Chill: -25°C (-12°F)
Visibility: 11 km (7 miles)
Clouds: high - mid stratus
Wind direction: E/NE
Relative Humidity: 83%
Barometric Pressure: steady
Precipitation: - last few days ~3-4"
Animals: 6 Skuas, 12 Weddell seals (all in McMurdo)
Breakfast: no hot chocolate, pancakes, bacon, cereal
Lunch: grilled ham & bagels
Supper: chicken marsala, veggies
amount of snow drifting that has to be removed from doorways, cargo
lines, and tents is pretty amazing. Just like at the beach as the water
rushes back to the ocean around your feet, the snow and wind here erode
on the up wind side of objects and deposit downwind. Down wind and to the side of
each tent there are drifts that are 10s of meters long and on the
upwind side there is usually a trench. The step-down into my tent
entrance from the level of the snow around it is over 2’ (2/3 m). The
spindrift from the storm also found a few chinks in my tent fly and
started to build-up between the tent and the tent fly during the night.
Not enough to cause any real problems but I did have to hand-shovel my
way out my door this morning and remove the snow before it fell into
the tent with all my gear. It also has not been sunny and warm enough
for a few days to melt any snow that did get inside so I have a little
snow in the inside corners. One of these days the storm will pass and
there will be enough sun to heat up inside the tent and melt the snow.
The wind has also done some serious sculpting on my former lawn dragon
and Pukka snow bunny. Harvey’s ears are drooping a bit but otherwise the storm probably added more snow than it eroded away.
the storm, work inside the drill arch continues. We have not drilled as
much core lately due to some very minor equipment problems that have
all been resolved. At this rate we may get to 500 or 600 meters of ice
core before this Sunday. After that it is time to pack it all up and
get it shipped out to start its journey to the National Ice Core Lab (NICL) in Denver Co. Geoff and Brian, NICL’s curator and asst. curator have been here all season doing a fantastic job. The equipment set-up that they developed here at WAIS Divide seems to be working great. Each summer, following a season in the field, there will be a core processing “party” at NICL
to section the ice cores and distribute the appropriate pieces of ice
core to scientists. Then much of the rest of the analysis will take
place in their individual laboratories with much of it being chemical
analysis for gases and aerosols (particles) that will yield additional
information about past climate change.NICL is the repository for ice cores from all around the world. A lot of the ice core that resides at NICL
are pieces of each core that are left as archive pieces for the future.
There are always advancements in science theory, technique, and
equipment so ice core from each project remains atNICL for future investigations. nicl.usgs.gov/
The two images today are of the nearly 100% completed Harvey my Pukka snow bunny, who I hope you can see silhouetted against the skyline, and of my day shift partner Sylvia who is taking a much needed break warming up by sitting on the heated tool box in the driller's side of the arch. Even in the driller's side of the arch, which is a few degrees warmer than the ice core processing side of the arch, it is too cold for power tools to operate well so the carpenters built a wooden tool box which is heated. We also put our cold gloves etc in the box to warm up. When Sylvia and I need a quick break we head to the tool box which warms us up from the bottom first and provides a comfortable seat.
PS There has been some relief here on the hot chocolate dilema. John the chef has now been making hot chocolate out of baker's cooking chocolate and powdered milk. From what I hear it is a welcome relief form the lack of hot chocolate drink and even tasted better than the powdered instant mix stuff.