It’s that time of year again! The AWS Program has returned to McMurdo to continue maintaining our gold-standard network of surface meteorological observations!
This year, our work will be split between two teams of two field members each. The first field team consists of myself and Mark Seefeldt. Mark is an Arctic and Antarctic research scientist out of the University of Colorado-Boulder, and he has had ties to Antarctic field work for many years. Like me, this trip is Mark’s fourth to the ice. Unlike me, Mark has done his deployments over the span of 22 years, his last deployment being 11 years ago. I’ve done 4 in 4 years. We will be doing work out of McMurdo until around 21 November, when we will head out to West Antarctic Ice Sheet field camp (WAIS). We are scheduled to leave the ice on December 14.
Lee and Carol will then arrive on the ice in late December, around the 30th, and stay through mid-February. Their field season should be a mirror image of ours, in a way. They will fly out to WAIS as soon as they can after they’ve arrived, then head back to McMurdo around 23 January to finish up the remainder of the field work.
The two big highlights of this year’s plans will be visiting Cape Hallett, to switch the AWS from Argos to Iridium transmissions, and doing field work out of WAIS. We have been attempting to install a couple new stations and visit many more out of WAIS for the past couple years but haven’t had the best luck. Here’s to this year being a good one!
Mark and I arrived on the ice on 21 October, and it’s only been 4 days so far but it feels like so much longer! We’ve completed the annual training (field safety, environmental awareness, fire safety, waste management, etc) and had many meetings to get things going for the season (science in-briefs, meeting with flight coordinators, etc). On top of that, we were asked to be ready to fly to Cape Hallett on Monday, 26 October, meaning we needed to get everything ready for that as well. This involved troubleshooting some issues with the Iridium modem we are going to install. I feel bad for posting this “introductory” post so late, but hopefully I can make it up to you with a photo journal of the trip thus far!