Monday, October 19, 2009

A quick word about WAIS

The field camp where I'll be working this season is WAIS Divide. This will be my first season at a field camp. WAIS is known as the 'Hilton' of field camps because we have a shower facility (we are allowed four minutes of hot water/week, which is equivalent to a 55 gallon drum of packed snow) and a washer/dryer. That said, we will be sleeping in tents.
I could leave as early as tomorrow, but the mixture of weather delays and contingency plans could delay me for quite a bit. I will be a member of the 'put-in' crew that flys in aboard a Basler. We will de dropped off on the flat white, the plane will leave, and then things will begin to get real. Our fist task will be to clear the snow drift that has accumulated during the winter on the structures, vehicles, and cargo. Our crew is essentailly a load of glorified snow shovelers.
A few facts about WAIS:
WAIS Divide is located at 79 dregress, 28 minutes South by 112 degrees, 03 minutes W with an elevation of 1759 meters. Thats about 3500 feet lower than the South Pole. We are 3.5 hours away from McMurdo by Herc and at leaest 5.5 hours by Basler. Summer Seasonal Temperatures at WAIS range from -45 degress C and -5 degress C with constant, sustained wind between 8 and 25 knots. So my season will be a bit warmer than last year, but the weather will be significantly more gnarly. WAIS Divide is notorious for shut-in storms that last for days. Our field season is approximately 110 days this year, weather permitting, during which time we open our 400 sq. foot winter camp into a 4 acre camp. Our primary science focus is supporting the ice core drilling project (which is projected to reach sa level this season!), but our crew of 14 will support 11 other NSF grantee groups as well. In addition, we will work 50-odd LC-130 missions and another 50-some KBA (Baslers, twin otters) fly days. So, story short - all work, little play. But I am terribly excited about the crew I am working with, and I'm looking forward to my best season yet!


Blogger Jack said...

Good luck with another year, man! Stay warm.

6:45 PM  
Blogger rtfgvb799 said...

IS VERY GOOD..............................

8:10 AM  

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