Tuesday, January 8, 2008

January 9, 2008
WAIS Divide camp Antarctica

Time: 6 am
Latitude: 79° 28.10’ S
Longitude: 112° 3.56’ W
Elevation: 1820 m (5919’)
Ice core: ~40 m (180.32 m)(~540') – dates to approximately 1418 AD
We should reach the depth equivalent to Black Plague by today
Temperature: -7 °C (19°F)
Wind speed: 14 km/h (9 mp/h)
Wind Chill: -8 °C (10 °F)
Visibility: 7 km (4.2 miles) fluctuates
Clouds: clearing, low and high stratus, with breaks
Wind direction: W/NW
Relative Humidity: 86%
Barometric Pressure: steady
Precipitation: steady flurries, possibly up to 3 cm (1”+) of accumulation
Breakfast: Burritos, hash browns, bacon, homemade coffee cake
Lunch: tuna melt, fries, green beans, vegi soup
Supper: Flank steak, catfish gumbo, Tofu stir fry, veggies

As I mentioned yesterday we are scheduled to get another plane today.
Folks in and folks out and more resupply fuel and food. My legs are
also now fully recovered from the Winter Olympics we held two days ago.
Other than the skiing, the one event set-up I wanted to continue was a
mini-golf course designed by Rebecca and Dave. The entire course was like
playing in the rough with sand (snow) traps and obstacles but worth
saving had it not been groomed over by a bulldozer later that evening.
I hope someone saved the numbered flags for each hole. We might try and
set it up in a different location one of these days since we have the
colored golf balls and putters.

Yesterday after working in the
arch all day I ate supper, caught the end of a video, and was in my
sleeping bag early. It was probably the deepest sleep that I have had
since I got here. It is day two of ice core processing and we are
better prepared to handle ice cores and the cold – if that is possible.
I will try a different sock combination to keep my feet warmer and
maybe a couple of heat pads for my hands. The one thing I noticed about
working at -20 C yesterday was how dehydrated I got just from breathing
in the cold dry conditions. Today I will take more water/tea with me to
work and try and take a break during the day to rehydrate and snack.

a quick note for those interested in the weather here. The plan is that
at the end of the season the weather guys here in camp will provide the
complete 24 hr day by day weather for the season. We would like to have
had it available now but it is another project that we will not get to
right away. And speaking of weather. We actually did not get our flight
today due to the weather inMcMurdo (where the plane originated from). The big test here for determining the weather/cloud ceiling here at WAIS
Divide camp it to launch balloons. The balloons used are red and come
in two sizes, one that is filled with 10g of Helium and the other that
is filled with 30g of Helium. Once the balloon(s) is launched it is
watched to see how long it takes to disappear. Then there is a chart
you use to determine the ceiling height (bottom of the clouds). The
minimum ceiling for a plane to land is 1000’ with 1 mile visibility.
When we know that a plane is scheduled, the weather data (including
balloons) is taken hourly and reported to flight operations. If the
weather looks good then the plane comes on its way to camp, but if the
weather deteriorates, even after the plane is in the sky, then the
landing may be cancelled. This morning the balloons told us – no
landings today.

Every Wednesday night one of us gives a "lecture". Tonight I am on to talk about science education and the WAIS DIvide program. I good portion of my talk will about talking with students and the general public about climate change and WAIS Divide ice cores. If you are interested in hearing more about the project please go to our science and outreach sites at www.waisdivide.unh.edu and or contact one of us to set up a talk or visit by one of the scientists. And please tell your friends about our education outreach efforts.

Today’s image is of the drill barrel (sonde) as
it is brought out of the ice core hole and moved to the horizontal so
that the ice core contained inside (look at the very end of thesonde carefully) can be removed and moved to the ice core processing room.

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