Field and CPL Updates

2005-2006 Antarctica

November 11, 2005
Update provided by Science Coordination Office

The 2005/2006 Antarctic field season has gotten off to a slow start. The 109th Air National Guard had permission to land on an unprepared surface in an area which the military had interpreted to be clear of crevasses based on satellite imagery. This area is 3km away from the location of the WAIS Divide camp, for which the required imagery was not available. The 109th Air National Guard made a reconnaissance flight to examine and photograph the drill site. An automatic weather station has been installed at the location of the camp using a Twin Otter aircraft. The automatic weather station will help with weather predictions. The current plan is to land three LC-130 loads of equipment and people in the area 3km from the drill site, and move the equipment on the surface to where the WAIS Divide Camp (WDC) will be located. After much discussion, the 109th has agreed to land at the camp when a skiway is prepared, even though it is not in an area that was approved for landing based on interpretation of satellite imagery. Poor weather has prevented completion of this plan. On November 11, a plane was sent to WAIS Divide, but it had to return without landing due to poor weather. Flights to WAIS Divide are scheduled every day. Everyone in McMurdo is doing all they can to get the camp open. Only the weather is not cooperating. The camp opening is 18 days late and has yet to be completed.