Skip navigation

Antarctic conservation

2 Posts tagged with the emperor_penguin tag
3

Land of the Midnight Sun

Posted by Conservators Oct 25, 2012

Author: Jana

Date: 17 October 2012

Temperature: -19C

Wind speed: 5 knots

Temp with wind chill: -26C

Sunrise: 03:58

Sunset: 11:29

 

 

Early summer is an extremely changeable time in Antarctica, not only in terms of the human activity that is ramping up for the season, but in the natural world around us as well.  The temperature creeps reliably upwards while the sea ice thickens daily, Emperor penguins depart whilst the Adélies start to arrive, and lots of baby Weddell seals are born. 

 

Most noticeable of all, however, is the arrival of 24 hour daylight.   Because of our southern latitude, the amount of sunlight we get each day increases here more noticeably than it does at more equatorial latitudes.  Right now, although the sun still technically 'sets' and 'rises' it really only appears to creep behind the mountains on the horizon for a bit before re-emerging on the other side.  We never really have true darkness anymore, and 3:00 in the morning is almost as bright as 3:00 in the afternoon. Even when it is overcast, the reflecting whiteness of the snowy landscape means that it is still bright outside.

pressure ridges at night.jpg

Pressure ridges in late evening sun © AHT/Jana

 

For some people the 24 hour daylight is difficult to get used to, and their biorhythms and sleep habits suffer as a result.  Sleeping in a tent in bright daylight can be a bit challenging when we are living in the field, but we are usually so exhausted from the day's work that sleep never eludes us for long!

1

Author: Stefan
Date: 13-03-2012
Temperature: -7C
Wind Speed: 15kts
Temp with wind chill: -19C
Sunrise: 6;51am
Sunset 9;10pm

 

 

One of the many pleasures of living on Scott Base is the proximity of some of the most amazing wildlife, just metres off our shoreline. We can often sit in the lounge with a coffee and see Weddell seals lolloping around like sausages of black and grey oil paint on a white canvas.

stef adelie.jpg

Stefan and a lone Adelie Penguin at Cape Evans   © AHT/ Stefan

 

During the ice breakout, blow holes and wider expanses of water open up between the wincing epic slabs of ice and explosions of Minkie Whale breath summon your eyes and nose to their location, breaching up through the puzzle of ice plates.

Gid Wych - Emperor 1.jpg

Emperor Penguin in front of Scott base  © AHT/ Giddeon

 

Indeed all the wildlife here has distinct and quite dramatic elements to their turning up on base. The odd Emperor Penguin can arrive with no friends, and seem to have a look in its eyes, like it wants you to shout out on a huge Antarctic tannoy (like in supermarkets) “lost Emperor Penguin, could his mother (aka his father) please make his way to the freezer section to pick him up. Please?”. All this makes you realise the epic distances the animals cover, and so so slowly.  I’m still awaiting for my first Orca sighting, but with the ice freezing over, alas, that ship/whale may have sailed.