Oct. 30, 2015: Working in severe weather conditions is a common experience in Antarctica. We landed under clear but hazy skies, weather conditions about -5°F with 15-20 knot winds. Over the next two hours, conditions worsened to -15°F with 40 knot winds. When visibility dropped to 50ft, the pilot ordered a rapid pullout, leaving the station’s servicing unfinished.
Our bags are packed and checked, but weather at Yesterday Camp canceled our flight today. Hopefully we’ll be flying to camp tomorrow. We’re living out of our carry-ons, hopefully not too much longer, anticipating flying tomorrow…
There is no internet access from Yesterday Camp, so this may be the last post until we return after the installations are completed, hopefully in the first week of December.
While here, fellow Humboldt State grads from the mid-1980’s had a reunion at McMurdo — a long way in time and space from the days in Arcata, CA — an unexpected location to meet up again.
Our camp on the Ross Ice Shelf was put in today. We’ll be deploying to the camp in two days. A lot of prep work to get everything moved from McMurdo to Yesterday Camp (just east of the dateline near 79deg S) has been done today. We’re nearly ready to go, hoping that the weather holds and the LC-130 transport doesn’t have any mechanical problems. It’s been warm — in the teens. Small streams of melt water are running down the roads.
Because the sun never sets in the summer in Antarctica, a sundial works 24 hours a day.
The installation of a seismic station on the ice takes a team effort, including help from the KBA Twin Otter pilots. Our seismic stations differ from the Wiens/Aster project installed yesterday in that they also contain barometers to measure the displacement due to atmospheric pressure changes. DR16 is our station that is farthest south, away from the ice front (see map in Taking the Pulse).
In the Air.
The seismometer and support electronics package are buried in separate holes separated by about 30ft.
Support Electronics Installation.
There is lots of activity and cooperation during installation.
Remember, today is tomorrow for those east of the dateline, e.g. in the U.S.
We’re scheduled to checking wearing our cold weather gear (see pics) at 10:30AM today (Saturday, we’re 4 hours behind California time and one day ahead). It’s about a 5 hr flight in the C-17 plane that will be taking us south — the workhorse transport plane.
It’s been a busy few days in Christchurch, NZ getting ready for travel down to McMurdo Station, Antarctica. Yesterday we were outfitted with our cold weather gear, which we’ll be wearing when we board the plane for our ice flight — hopefully tomorrow.
Weather conditions at McMurdo determine whether we will be on the ice tomorrow. If the weather turns bad (often wind conditions can become to severe), it’s possible that we’ll be forced to turn around and “boomerang” back to Christchurch.
Still no confirmation that we’ll be heading south…