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12 November, 2000


We will spend about a week in McMurdo before heading to the field camp at Siple Dome. This may seem like a long time but there is much to do. There are numerous short training courses to attend. These deal with a range of topics from survival techniques and radio procedures to waste management and snowmobile operation.

Gary Clow and Bob Hawley are the scientists that I am accompanying on this project. Much of their time has been spent finding, preparing, and organizing the large amount of material we will use in the field. This includes things like food, sleeping bags, tents, fuel, and snowmobiles. Then there are the scientific instruments and equipment. Some of these must be tested before taking them into the field.

Gary and Bob make a great team. They have worked together before. Both were at Siple Dome last year during the first season of the project. Their organization and efficiency are impressive. They also really enjoy what they are doing.

Tony, on the right, is going over operation and maintenance at "snowmobile school." Listening intently are Gary and Bob who are joined by Sarah Das and Andy Kurtz, two researchers also going to Siple Dome.

I am checking my supply of red licorice in a pile of our group's gear. Because it doesn't rain here, much of the equipment can be stored outside. Of course the candy was frozen solid.

Bob Hawley will be investigating the behavior of the upper layer of the ice sheet. This layer, where snow goes through its transition into ice, is called firn. Bob will be measuring how the firn is moving. One type of instrument he uses utilizes is a global positioning system (GPS). It uses satellites to pinpoint a location with an accuracy of about one centimeter. Here Bob is testing the GPS instruments. Observation Hill is in the background.

Gary Clow will be measuring precise temperatures within the ice sheet in order to reconstruct the climate of the past. He will be sending a temperature sensor 1000 meters down a hole bored through the ice. Here in the lab, Gary is testing the device that records both the temperature and the depth of the sensor. Bob is downloading the GPS data to his laptop computer.

In addition to the science instruments, all the other gear must be checked and tested before we take it into the field. Here we are setting up one of the tents that will be home at Siple Dome.

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