Field and CPL Updates

2009-2010 Antarctica

November 23, 2009
Update provided by Bruce Vaughn
project update image
Typical drifting at WAIS Divide. Photo: Theresa Tran

Weather in West Antarctica has finally given us a break, allowing the success of some critical missions to West Antarctica. Science construction has been making great progress in camp, setting up buildings in record time. Because of the initial and continuing weather delays, we have had to significantly modify original staging plans. All 11 early season NICL/SCO staff are now in McMurdo along with 8 (of 11) drillers. We are sending our first teams from a mix of IDDO, SCO and NICL to WAIS Divide on Wednesday Nov-25. The rest will soon follow as the carrying capacity of camp allows. We anticipate that we will have another wave of people into WAIS Divide on either Friday Nov-27 or early next week. Drillers are going in along with core handlers so that we can expedite drilling. Brittle ice pack up will be in full production, and contingency plans are in place should we have to process new core, before the basement of the arch is entirely empty of ice. We'll be in a delicate balance between ice pack-up, cold-deck flight availability, and ice core drill readiness.

The current schedule for flight (to WAIS Divide) on Wednesday Nov-25:

(5 persons) FROM: I-477, I-478, I-168 [will start ice core pack up]

  • Bruce Vaughn
  • Geoff Hargreaves
  • Bo Vinther
  • Bess Koffman
  • John Fegyveresi
  • (Remainder of I-477 people on a later flight)

(3 persons) FROM: T-350 [will work to get drill set up]

  • Jay Johnson
  • Nicolai Mortensen
  • Kristina Dahnert
  • About 1 pallet of science cargo must accompany this flight, or be there before)
  • (Next priority will be 8 more T-350 people on a later flight)

CReSIS is beginning to prepare for their season, and has graciously loaned their Tucker Sno-Cat to go to Byrd camp with Byrd camp manager and CReSIS mechanic to groom the ski-way allowing greater allowable cargo loads (ACLs), to expedite Byrd set up. This may buy some time for extra cargo/pax to get to WAIS Divide before shipment of Challenger vehicles is needed.

We hope the weather will continue to improve both in camp and in McMurdo, as we have had weather delays on both ends. We remain optimistic, and crews are anxious to get to WAIS Divide and begin working.

Bruce Vaughn
Science Coordination Office Field Representative (currently in McMuro)