January 27, 2008 Get-R-Done!!!
Local Posting Day and Time- 1-27-08 10:45 AM Central Standard Posting Day and Time- 1-26-08 3:45 PM
Theresa's Weather 1-27-08
Temperature- 5 F
Wind Direction- East Wind Speed- 22 MPH Wind Chill- -15 F
Our First Flying Day At WAIS
After breakfast Jim, the Twin Otter pilot, checks the weather, ironically, partly based on the weather stations that we are going out to repair. We load our gear and Jim and Louie get into the cockpit and George and I buckle ourselves into the back of the plane.
Preparing to board the Twin Otter
Between us is our equipment and two 55 gallon drums of fuel which we will need to get back. It seemed a little strange to be sitting inside a plane, next to 100 gallons of flammable liquid, especially when I hear them popping when the pressure changed as we began to climb.
Fuel tanks and cargo inside the Twin Otter
Two hours of flying got us to Theresa, at about 85 degrees South Latitude. Wow, only 5 degrees to the South Pole!!!! Theresa is located at a gorgeous spot adjacent to the upper (lower?) reaches of the TransAntarctic Mountains.
Ohio Range near Theresa AWS
Theresa was placed at this location partly to study the air flow in the region. Looking out the window of the plane we can definitely see the air flowing!!! Jim estimates the wind at about 25 miles per hour.
Wind blown snow at Theresa
With the temperature around 0F the wind chill was about 20 below, it is obvious this is going to be quite a chore.
Starting to dig out Theresa
The weather station has not been working, so George needs to figure out what is wrong with it and then fix it. The station is almost buried in the snow so we will also need to remove all of the electronics, add a tower section and then raise and bolt all of the electronics and sensors back in place.
George unhooking the cables.
After refueling the plane, with the fuel in the 55 gallon drums, Jim and Louie helped dig down to the electronics boxes that were completely buried plus they built us a wind break that made huge difference in helping us not be so cold. After about 4 hours we are almost through. As I am hanging onto the top of the raised tower in the wind, one bunny boot wedged onto the tower bracing, the other boot wrapped around the tower, one elbow gripping the tower, my chin trying to hold the wind sensor in place and both bare numb hands trying to thread a nut onto the spinning wind sensor I really appreciate the difficulty of what is normally Jonathan’s job. After checking to make sure Theresa is transmitting weather data we board the plane and head to Briana our second station.
Notice the difference between this picture and the first one of Theresa.
A quick repair there and we are off for WAIS. We arrive after dinner, but Karen, one of the cooks, had saved for us four plates piled high with food. Not to mention dessert!!!