Thursday, November 08, 2007

Flooding!? In the Antarctic?

The problem with a heat-wave is that snow melts really fast! The last few days have had an ambient temperature of a stifling -2C, which with the sun beating down warms all dark surfaces to well over freezing.

Mind the puddles!

By this morning most of the snow that was going to melt has done so, but not before making the Laws roof more slippery than ice and dripping through the Simpson ceiling like my old flat in Cardiff. But Dean and I measured up the cable-runs unscathed and a squeeze of silicone will sort the hole out, so all's good.

Work has picked up loads. With Kirsty away and Neil on nights, Tamsin and I are battling to keep the met programme and CasLAB running, as well as relocating experiments to stay and packing the ones to go. This week we have dug out the remaining weather station, relocated the balloon system and planned the more complex instrument move for next week. Tom's been flying the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle at every opportunity and Ryan, our new glaciologist has filled every spare space with loggers ready for the field. But that's ok as he's also brought some damn good Canadian music which is pumping on the Simpson Stereo.

It's a busy time, but a good run-up to the 24h madness of Relief and the subsequent 12h days of summer. "Relief" is another old BASism that will crop up lots in the next few months. It describes the process of the wintering personnel being replaced by the summer crew and those due to stay the following season. Some years it takes on a literal meaning as aircraft have had to pluck people from the station when the ice held fast and refused the Shackleton passage. This season we'll unload not just the Shackleton, but also the massive Russia "Mothership" bringing cargo for the Halley VI build. She's a big girl measuring 177 metres and grossing 34,000 tonne, and I wouldn't like to be an iceberg in her way.

MV Amderma with RRS Shackleton to show size
(Image pinched from BAS)

The best thing about this work is, after the winter's lethargy, it's getting me fit again!


Anonymous Sarah said...

Oh no ... its all going to melt and we're all going to die : (

4:57 pm GMT  

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