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February 2017 Science Images

Posted March 1st, 2017 at 4:30 pm (UTC-4)
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New blood: The South Pole replacement crew arrives

Posted October 31st, 2016 at 4:16 pm (UTC-4)
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After a week of high winds, blowing snow and general pea-soup conditions, the weather cleared. The sun emerged from its temporary hibernation in a fortress of grey steely clouds, and our ice-crusted visibility markers slowly thawed under an uninterrupted bombardment of photons, screaming through the sky like kamikaze pilots in search of martyrdom. Our miraculous […]

A Runway Run

Posted October 18th, 2016 at 10:09 am (UTC-4)
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The first planes of the season arrived two day ago — a Twin Otter and a Basler — two small aircraft en route to McMurdo. They came, stayed just long enough to refuel, see the sites, and grab a bite to eat. Then they left. Over 200 hours had been put into the skiway to […]

Another summer day at the bottom of the world

Posted October 5th, 2016 at 2:30 pm (UTC-4)
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It’s a cold, clear day outside. The sky is a cloudless light blue, uniform in color and shade from horizon to horizon. The ice cap stretches out beneath it, and apart from its icy whiteness, is a mirror image of its heavenly twin. Today, the sun sits slightly higher in the sky then it did […]

The Sun has Risen

Posted September 27th, 2016 at 4:08 pm (UTC-4)
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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 […]

Signs of summer at the South Pole

Posted September 12th, 2016 at 1:20 pm (UTC-4)
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The sun has started to spiral upwards.  It now sits less than six degrees below the horizon—civil twilight on the Antarctic plateau.  Earth meets sky, in a rapture of orange, yellow and red, a chorus of bright hues that fades into what remains of the polar night. A few stars and planets are still visible […]

The air down there

Posted August 23rd, 2016 at 9:19 am (UTC-4)
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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 […]

Clean-up Day at the South Pole

Posted August 9th, 2016 at 12:05 pm (UTC-4)
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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 […]

The beginning of the end of night at the South Pole

Posted August 2nd, 2016 at 9:57 am (UTC-4)
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Stars and auroras fill the night sky.  They blink and swerve through the darkness, like race cars on a dark, winding, celestial freeway.  For four months, they have been my steadfast companions, joining me on my walk to and from the Atmospheric Research Observatory (ARO) each morning.  On calm, clear days, they cast green and […]

Sticking with a Daily Routine at the South Pole

Posted July 19th, 2016 at 2:35 pm (UTC-4)
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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. […]

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