Ready and waiting…

410 words (2-3 minutes)

It’s (for the most part) been a busy two weeks at Casey Station! We now have about half of the team up at Law Dome, moving heavy sleds of equipment from a depot near the dome summit to our now camp–dubbed “DE08-OH.”

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The traverse route up Law Dome. The advance team is currently shuttling equipment between a depot at D-28 and our new camp, DE08-OH. Map data are from the Reference Elevation Map of Antarctica, plotted with QGIS and Quantarctica.

DE08 was an ice core site used by our team member David Etheridge and others to reconstruct past atmospheric CO2 and CH4 (methane) concentrations. This site remains one of the best linkages between modern measurements of atmospheric greenhouse gases, and the ice core record. We are going there again to take advantage of its high snowfall (a fact the advance team may be regretting as they wade through snow…) to shield our samples from too much in-situ Carbon-14 produced by cosmic ray bombardment .

The rest of the team remains at Casey Station, in part to keep the camp population manageable before several tents are erected. We also have more sensitive science equipment back here with us which cannot freeze, so we need warm structures at the site before heading up.

Over the last week or so, we completed our survival training, which was a great combination of hiking out in the sun and snow, watching Adelie penguins, and sleeping out with only the survival gear that we are required to carry whenever we leave station. It’s a minimal setup, including only a “bivy” bag, sleeping bag, and mat to sleep in. But with emergency cold weather clothing, this was still quite comfortable.

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A cold, beautiful night at survival camp.

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Adelie penguins wallowing in the snow on Shirley Island.

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Part of the Shirley Island Adelie penguin colony, including what looks to be a new species: the rock-lier penguin (get it?).

For now, those of us still on station remain ready to drive up Law Dome as soon as possible–hopefully in the next two days. The support from Casey Station has so far been amazing. We are rested, eating too much, and are eager to get to work setting up camp and science equipment at DE08-OH on Law Dome!

Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving! Again, we’re eating plenty of food here…

-Peter

For another perspective on the project, check out this recent article from Nature News! You can also follow Peter’s posts on Twitter, under the hashtag #LawDome1819.

 

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