Cape Hallett and the Adelie Penguin Colony

Last week, we were asked by the Antarctic Weather Station (AWS) group if we could potentially assist them in troubleshooting some problems at one of their stations. The AWS at Cape Hallett had stopped transmitting and it was not clear if the problem was related to the modem or to the datalogger. Many of their sensors are similar or identical to the ones used at our precipitation sites so we agreed to help (especially considering how far ahead of schedule we were for our own work). Cape Hallett is about a 3.5 - 4 hour Twin Otter flight north of McMurdo and is also home to tens of thousands of Adelie Penguins. We were initially scheduled to fly there last Thursday but the weather wasn't looking the best so we were delayed until Friday.

Friday morning we were off with a stop at Mario Zucchelli station, one of the Italian Antarctic bases, for refueling. Zucchelli station is located in Terra Nova Bay where the South Koreans also have a station and China is building another station. I…

Site Removals, Mirages and Lenticulars .. oh my!

It's been a very busy last week down here on the ice and as a result, we have managed to remove all the sensors from all four sites. The Lorne and Tall Tower sites have been completely removed, to include the towers, anchors and power systems. Phoenix has been completely removed with the exception of the power system and Willie still has the towers, anchors and power systems. We hope to get those removed next week. The Lorne and Tall Tower sites (the two requiring aircraft to reach) were removed on back-to-back days last Friday and Saturday.  Because of the two years of snow accumulation at each site, it meant some of the towers that were originally buried in only three feet of snow were now buried in five to six feet of compacted snow.

Each site had roughly 2,500 to 3,000 lbs of equipment that needed to be returned back to McMurdo. Much of the weight came from the batteries used to power the site. Depending on the sites, there were as few as 22  or as many as 38 car-sized batteri…

Arrival in McMurdo, Training, Pressure Ridges, and Seal Pups

Greetings from Antarctica! After a three-day delay in Christchurch, we successfully made it to McMurdo on Thursday (Wednesday in U.S. time).

It's been a busy few days with lots of training since arriving.

Field Safety, Environmental and Outdoor Safety have all been completed so I'm free to go and do some of the hikes around McMurdo again. The weather has been simply amazing (to the point that some people have been walking around outside in shorts, even though temps are only in the 20's). I myself find that as long as the wind isn't blowing too much, I don't need to coat to go outside. The lack of snow around the station is somewhat alarming and the station looks like it typically does when we head home so the snow melt this year is easily a month ahead of what it normally is. The sea ice is also quite thin this year, which may mean that the ob tube may not make it in this year (which is quite the bummer!)

There has also been quite a few seal births this year…