Jane, Monday 26 April 2010
Wind Speed: 30 knots
Temp with wind chill: -56°C
It’s over two months since the winter team of conservators arrived in Antarctica to 24 hour day-light, blue skies and temperatures just below zero, but how quickly things have changed. In the last week it has really felt like winter has finally arrived.
The most obvious indicator is that it’s no longer light when we get up in the morning, and we are really noticing the darkness encroaching on our days. In the last week sunrise has moved forward an hour from 9.58am to 11.06am and sunset from 3.58pm to 2.37pm. Saturday will be our last sunrise until 19th August!
We now watch with interest the wind dials and temperature gauge in the dining room as the temperatures drop – the lowest so far is -36.7°C on a beautiful clear still day – and we’ve begun to recognise the precursors of a good storm. The temperature steadily climbs to around -14°C and the wind veers around until it is coming directly from the south, then the wind speed climbs until it’s howling. Scott Base begins to rattle and the view is blotted out by snow. The tiny light flakes of ice snake around in currents so you can see the paths the wind takes, up and around the buildings, before settling in sculptural drifts.
With the snow, the base is beginning to look whiter as the drifts accumulate, although as the snow is so light some drifts are quite transient and disappear with the next wind.
We are all looking forward to experiencing the extreme weather of the Antarctic winter and just a little apprehensive of the seemingly eternal night that begins on Saturday!