On the Ice

28 Oct: Arriving in McMurdo

Welcome to another season of the On the Ice Blog. This season we’ll be servicing 20 sites out of both McMurdo Station and WAIS divide camp in west Antarctica. Like in previous seasons, we will have rotating groups of two people. I, Carol Costanza, am currently the only person in McMurdo, but I will be joined by George Hademenos in a few days. George is a high school physics teacher from Texas who will be working with me for about 3 weeks. He was selected to work with us as part of NSF’s PolarTREC program. George and I will only be based out of McMurdo for our part of the season, and I will be leaving the second week of December. Then in early December, Dave Mikolajczyk and Marian Mateling will be arriving in McMurdo, and they will be going to WAIS for most of January and leaving the ice at the beginning of February. Finally, Dr. Matthew Lazzara, PI of the AWS project, and Andy Kurth, electrical engineering instructor at Madison College, will be in McMurdo from beginning of January to mid-February. With that being said, I’ll explain what’s been going on the last week.

I left the US on Thursday, October 19th and arrived in Christchurch, NZ on Saturday, October 21st. The flights went quite well! Then on Sunday, October 22nd I had my training at the CDC in Christchurch. This included watching some training videos and getting my extreme cold weather gear. Then I had the rest of the day off, so I went to the Christchurch Botanic Gardens.

Christchurch Botanic Gardens

On Monday, October 23rd, we were scheduled to fly to Antarctica, but we were delayed due to weather. Instead, I went to breakfast at the Villas and enjoyed another relaxing afternoon outside.

The Eggs Benedict at The Villas

Then on Tuesday, October 24th, we flew to Antarctica in a C-17! The flight took about 5 hours and we landed at around 5:30 pm. I spent most of the flight standing in the back of the plane near the cargo.

Views from the back of the C-17

Departing the C-17

The rest of the week I’ve been going to training and meetings with work centers to collect equipment and schedule field work. The weather has been very windy and cold the past couple of days, but I’ve mostly been working inside. Temperatures have been mostly 5 to 15°F with winds gusting to 40 kts. The weather is supposed to be clearing up for the weekend, so that’s good news.

I hope to get out into the field by the second week in November. I’ll keep you updated as things progress. George is also writing a blog on the PolarTREC website. I’ll link to his new posts in this blog.

George’s Blog


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