Field and CPL Updates

2009-2010 Antarctica

November 12, 2009
Update provided by Bruce Vaughn
project update image
WAIS Divide. Photo: Theresa Tran

The WAIS 09-10 season was off to an early start with high hopes. After 10+ days of weather delays, the put-in crew of 10 led by Teresa Tran arrived WAIS Divide on November 2 and were greeted by a cold (-49 C) camp that appears to have wintered well. The core processing end of the arch is at least partially exposed and equipment on the berm was accessible. However, bad weather has hampered progress since then, with only one flight with very minimal cargo has made it since Nov. 2. We are on the fixed wing schedule each day for 2 flights, but without exception they have been weather cancelled so far.

Our time table hinges on the next successful flight to WAIS, which will contain ~10+ science construction crew to build out the camp. We estimate that it will be possible for NON-RPSC personnel to be queued for flights to WAIS beginning ~7+ days after that. Weather is again deteriorating at both McMurdo and WSD over the next 24 hours. I do not anticipate a successful mission to WAIS before Saturday.

Meanwhile the McMurdo contingent is completing training as needed, and organizing cargo. The SCO/NICL personnel on site in McMurdo include:

  • Bruce Vaughn
  • Geoff Hargreaves
  • Bess Koffman
  • John Fegyveresi
  • Ryan Banta
  • Bo Vinther

Housing in McMurdo is extremely tight, and most science groups are being berthed in larger rooms in Building 155. These large rooms are not conducive to getting good rest, and only seem to further expose team members to a revolving door of potentially sick people, of which there are many. Since it now seems unlikely that the SCO crew will be able to get to WAIS before Nov 23 at the earliest, we have purposely delayed the second wave of the SCO team in Christchurch from arriving McMurdo on Nov-13, pushing them back to a flight on Nov-18. They are registered for snow school on Nov-20-21. The crew in Christchurch includes:

  • Maria Banks
  • Thomas Bauska
  • Tommy Cox
  • Peter Neff
  • Heidi Roop

Weather permitting, the first drillers and some of CReSIS will arrive on tomorrow's flight (Nov. 13). We will all have ample time in McMurdo to prepare for the field. The crew here healthy and in good spirits. We hope to stay that way.

Bruce Vaughn
Science Coordination Office Field Representative