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26 November, 2002

Stormy Days

Date: November 26, 2002

Latitude: 80 21 South

Longitude: 118 14 West

Temp: -15 C/ 5F

Wind Speed: 30 knots

Wind Chill: -29C / -20F

Wind Direction: North Northeast

Meters of ice: 0

By Susan Kaspari

Its a blustery day in camp today. The wind has remained at a constant 30 knots with gusts as high as 45 knots, and visibility is limited by surface blowing snow. The strong winds make everything more difficult; camp becomes drifted in by blowing snow, care must be taken to keep things from blowing away, and in order to walk between shelters, one must lean into the wind. Flags are placed every ten feet between the sleds, the outhouse and atmospheric tent for safe travel between locations. The high winds cause the American flag on the kitchen roof to beat incessantly on the wall, and when winds gust above 35 knots the wind generator mounted on the blue room sounds like a loud chain saw and can be heard throughout camp.

The soft surface snow caused by El Nio conditions is making travel difficult. Earlier this morning Paul, Gordon, Lynn, Karl and Brian set up one of the trains with the wide track Challenger, a Berco sled loaded with fuel, another Berco with food and ice core boxes, the 3 drill sled, the polar haven, and the deep radar. They intended to shuttle the load of gear to site 1 (224 km from our current location), but the fuel sled was too heavy for these snow conditions and the tracks on the Challenger didnt have enough traction to pull the heavy load. After the storm ceases the snow conditions may improve.

Back in camp were keeping busy with fieldwork and processing data. Markus and Betsy are busy setting up the atmospheric chemistry experiments, and when the winds die down they will launch an ozone detecting balloon. Eric and Dan have been collecting surface snow samples, and with improved conditions we will begin to drill ice cores with the 2 drill. In the meantime, were taking advantage of the time to work with our data, collaborate between science groups, and plan other work that we will do this field season.

Tonight we enjoyed another gourmet dinner cooked by Andrea; salmon, couscous, and Moroccan stew. Some of the group wrapped up the night by watching a DVD in the blue room, and in the kitchen we cranked up the music and had a dance party.

Walking between shelters can be hazardous. Flags are place every 10 feet so that you don't get lost.

The snow has a nasty habit of drifting.

The Blue Room is a welcome haven in the storm.

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