January 29, 2011 I'm Leaving on a Cold Deck
Today I leave WAIS Divide. In a matter of hours I will be on Ross Island at McMurdo Station. I am leaving before the rest of the crew as I have been selected to travel with the last pallets of ice cores. I will fly on a cold deck, where the plane will be cooled to at least -10 C. This season, we have people monitoring the temperatures during cold decks. On today's flight, it will be my duty to get temperature readings ever thirty minutes during the 3.5 hour flight.
Even though I am sad to leave WAIS, I know that I am doing an important job by going early with the last cold deck of the season. The rest of drill and science crews will leave camp on January 31st. Soon, we will all be heading north to Christchurch and then back to the U.S. It is hard to believe the season is already coming to a close.
Basic cold deck stats:
128 meters of ice per pallet 256 meters of ice per flight 2 pallets of ice per flight Approximate temperature of the floor during flight: -18 C Approximate air temperature during flight: -10 C Average flight time from WAIS to McMurdo Station: 3.5 hours Travel time from skyway to town: ~1 hour