Hello everyone, and welcome to the 2021-22 Automatic Weather Station (AWS) Program field season! Lee Welhouse and I (Dave Mikolajczyk) will be your field team this year. We just arrived in McMurdo yesterday, 30 Nov, but our travels began a few weeks ago when we began a 20-day isolation period starting 10 Nov. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this quarantine period is required by both the New Zealand government, since we travel through Christchurch, NZ on our way to Antarctica, and the United States Antarctic Program (USAP). I had a good experience with the Managed Isolation and Quarantine period, as the New Zealand hotels were very accommodating to us. Still, it is nice to be able to roam freely outside here at McMurdo! Albeit with some COVID masking and social distancing restrictions for about a week.
This season, Lee and I hope to visit a few critical sites in West Antarctica out of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet-Divide (WAIS) field camp, as well as some sites on the Ross Ice Shelf and in the McMurdo region. Due to the pandemic, our work is pared down to visiting only the most essential sites. We also plan to do some server work in McMurdo to increase the number real-time AWS observations made available, particularly for forecasters.
I’ll end with a couple pictures and send more updates as they come!
Happy Antarctica Day!