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Antarctic conservation

3 Posts tagged with the antarctic_research_base tag

Author: John
Date: 24 August 2011
Temperature: -14oC
Wind Speed: 45 Kt gusts
Temp with wind chill: -40oC
Sunrise: 10.53am
Sunset: 3.01pm


WinFly is the first flight in to Scott Base after the Antarctic winter season. Saturday 20th August was my day of arrival at the Pegasus Airfield on the Ross Ice Shelf as a conservator working on the Ross Sea Heritage Restoration Project, and all was new to me. Disembarking from the C17 aircraft I was welcomed by Antarctica New Zealand and Antarctic Heritage Trust staff and immediately immersed into the incredible busyness of the arrival logistics.




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Busyness of Arrival


The following day I was taken for a walk out on the sea ice among the pressure ridges in front of Scott Base. The sheer size of Mt Erebus in the background somehow complemented the forces displayed in the jumbled detail of the pressure ridge zone of the sea ice. Although it was cold, and the wind was blowing, this scene was very peaceful and contrasted strongly with the activity of the previous day.


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Calm Before the Storm


The power and majesty of the Antarctic environment is overwhelming and certainly not to be taken for granted. I look forward to the privilege and challenges of working in the field on the historic explorer’s huts of Ross Island, Antarctica.


Nacreous clouds

Posted by Conservators Aug 24, 2011

Author: Julie
Date: 18/8/11
Temperature: -33 C
Wind Speed: 12
Temp with wind chill: -48 C
Sunrise: 11:52
Sunset: 14:10

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Nacreous clouds at 10 am. Julie/AHT


Yesterday was the day of spectacular nacreous clouds.  Nacreous clouds are wispy clouds that form under certain specific conditions (very cold temperatures at very high altitudes) and that can appear iridescent when the angle of the sun is very low, as it is now at Scott Base.  If you do a web search for images of nacreous clouds, many of the images you will see were taken from locations near Scott Base on Ross Island.


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Nacreous clouds at 2 pm: not photoshopped, I swear. Julie/AHT


For the last week or so, as the sun has come closer to rising, we have been in prime nacreous cloud viewing conditions.  Nearly every day Sarah or Jane says, “go look out the window at the clouds,” and I run over to a window to see what we’re getting.  However, yesterday topped everything we have seen so far, and in fact topped everything most people at Scott Base have ever seen.  Pretty much as soon as a strip of light appeared at the horizon (at a respectable 9:13 a.m.), the Scott Base staff started making cloud announcements over the base-wide p.a. system.  I remember Jana saying at about 10 a.m., “Scott Base, Scott Base, look at the clouds above,” and Steve, at about noon, saying, “Scott Base, Scott Base, if you’re not looking at Erebus right now, you probably should be.”  At around 2 p.m., Sarah, who was supposedly in a meeting at that point, made the announcement: “Scott Base, Scott Base, the clouds are green.”  Before darkness hit at 4:39 p.m., I personally had taken 93 photographs of clouds.


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Nacreous clouds at 3 pm. Sarah/AHT


The Antarctic Curling Club

Posted by Conservators Aug 12, 2010


Author:                   Mindy

Date:                      August 11, 2010
Temperature:           -23°C
Wind Speed:           5 knots
Temp with wind chill: -30°C
Moonrise:               10:25
Moonset:                17:52


At nearby McMurdo Station, the American Antarctic base, an industrious group of individuals fancied trying their hand at curling this winter.  After doing their homework they set about manufacturing curling stones from metal, concrete and plastic buckets.  They flooded a small section of ground, complete with the bulls-eyes (“house”) at each end of the curling sheet, and scavenged around for brooms.  The result – a pretty funky little curling set-up.

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First practice session at McMurdo Station ©  A. Batdorff /United States Antarctic Program




Being Canadian, I’ve definitely watched my fair share of curling matches.  I’ve even played a handful of times.  Apparently this qualified me as the most experienced curler on Ross Island, so I was recruited to coach a few practice ends for players to pick up the basics of the game.  In the dark and cold we curled and swept our little hearts out.  Experts on television make it look easy, but it’s just as tough as I remember!


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Ben, from the McMurdo team, throws a curling rock in our inter-base match

© S. Sun/Antarctica New Zealand


With a little playing experience under their belts, the American squad of curlers held a mini-playoff.  The winner of that match faced off against our Scott Base (New Zealand’s Antarctic research station) four-some this past weekend.  It was a hard fought match, and while we didn’t win we definitely had a great time.  Huge kudos to the gang that made it all happen – no small achievement by any means.  Curling enthusiasts around the world would be proud…


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The Scott Base curling squad – Tom, Steven, Mindy and Bobbie

©  S. McSweeney/Antarctic New Zealand