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Back to Civilization

Posted December 14th, 2016 at 11:30 am (UTC-5)
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The smell of decaying cedar and brine wash over me in slow, undulating waves. A light rain, falling from a mosaic of low-lying slate-grey clouds, coats my neck and arms in chilly dampness. I can taste the 100 percent humidity. Thick and metallic, I roll it over my tongue like a sommelier tasting a fine […]

October 2016 Science Images

Posted November 2nd, 2016 at 4:24 pm (UTC-5)
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September 2016 Science Images

Posted September 30th, 2016 at 4:30 pm (UTC-5)
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The Sun has Risen

Posted September 27th, 2016 at 4:08 pm (UTC-5)
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The sun sits two fingers above the horizon. It is obscured by fine, white, icy clouds, but you can still make out its circular shape—dimming and brightening with each gust of wind and slight fluctuation in temperature. Pulsing, blinking, fluttering, stuttering, it jabbers away in a Polar Morse code. Transfixed, I stand in the middle […]

Spring at the South Pole

Posted September 20th, 2016 at 11:21 am (UTC-5)
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It is springtime at the South Pole. The sun sits low on the horizon and bathes the landscape in rich hues of yellow and orange. Light bounces off each imperfection in the Polar Plateau, each wrinkle of snow and pinnacle of ice is set aglow. It transforms the ice cap from frozen desert to an […]

The air down there

Posted August 23rd, 2016 at 9:19 am (UTC-5)
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To keep an eye on our changing climate, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Global Monitoring Division (GMD) operates six atmospheric baseline observatories around the world. They stretch from high in the Arctic Circle to the South Pole. Each facility collects similar data, and uses near-identical instruments and operating procedures to do so. By standardizing […]

The Day Geoscience Saved the World From Possible Armageddon

Posted August 12th, 2016 at 3:40 pm (UTC-5)
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In the late 1960s, U.S. military action that would likely have led to nuclear Armageddon was averted, thanks to wary officers who looked for explanations other than Soviet aggression when warning systems suggested otherwise. A new study by three retired U.S. Air Force officers and researchers at the University of Colorado, Boulder, details the events […]

Clean-up Day at the South Pole

Posted August 9th, 2016 at 12:05 pm (UTC-5)
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You’d be surprised how much mess 50 people in a large research station can create. Here at the South Pole, where it takes six months for the sun to rise, it only takes two days for a 30 gallon (113 liter) trashcan in the bathroom to be stuffed to the brim and overflowing with used […]

Sticking with a Daily Routine at the South Pole

Posted July 19th, 2016 at 2:35 pm (UTC-5)
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I arrived in Antarctica on a clear, sunny day in October, 2015.  The Mount Erebus volcano dominated the horizon, sending large clouds of steam and smoke high into the air.  Minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit (-28C) felt cold at the time, and watching my breath glide from my mouth and disappear into the landscape was hypnotizing. […]

The Toughest Job at the South Pole is Inside – in the Dish Pit

Posted June 21st, 2016 at 11:03 am (UTC-5)
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Every job at the South Pole has unique challenges. Utility technicians walk maintenance rounds through every outbuilding and the main facility each day—7 miles (11 kilometers) on foot, most of it outside or in unheated wings of the station. The fuel specialists spend 9 hours a day, in a subterranean minus 50 F (minus 45 […]