Astrobiologist Dale Andersen Antarctic Status Report 12 December 2018: Finishing Up Science

"The last week and a half has seen a lot of variability in the weather with katabatics visiting us frequently - this morning at 6am we had gusts hitting 50 knots."

"But it has, for the most part, been clear and very warm and when the sun is out our air temperatures are a few degrees above zero. But our relative humidity remains quite low, currently at 18%. The very warm, dry katabatics evaporates most liquid water that forms from melting snow and ice so despite the new-found warmth, the area is pretty dry.

Having completed most of our science objectives, we are now preparing for our departure on Friday. We have taken down the two Weatherports used for the science tent and diving tent and today we will take down the "cook-tent" - one of three Mountain Hardwear Stronghold tents that are in place. The other two Stronghold tents will stay up until Friday morning, pulling them down just before we depart. Thursday (tomorrow) ALCI will send out Everest and several sleds, and once it is here we will load it up. Friday morning we will make the traverse back to Novo, three of us by snowmobile and three riding in a small cabin on one of the sleds attached to Everest.

We have one or two small science tasks remaining and we will complete them today. One involves placing 5 m long lines (white parachute cord) into several of the holes we drilled through the ice; there they will freeze in and as ice is added at the bottom and ablated away at the top, the lines will help provide estimates of the annual ablation rates across the lake. Next year we will re-located the lines and measure how much line has escaped during our absense.

Cheers
Dale"

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