Research Update

    Today our research team prepared for their trip to the Barwick Valley. If the weather permits, they will fly to the sampling site at 9 a.m. tomorrow morning. They will spend the night camping in the Dry Valleys, so they need to make sure they are prepared. I also may have an adventure of my own--I will hopefully join the SIMPLE/ARTEMIS team to deploy a robot into the water which takes a variety of instrument readings. I will be leaving around the same time tomorrow and may stay until early Tuesday morning--you might not see a journal posted right away! Hopefully my team and I will have success with our trips.

    A Beautiful Day

    Today was an exceptionally beautiful day. The temperature reached 34 degrees Fahrenheit, which is quite warm by Antarctic standards. After talking with my family back home and eating a wonderful brunch with friends, I took a walk to Scott Base to go to their gift store. Can you guess who Scott Base is named after? I'll give you a hint--you can learn about his hut here.

    Scott Base from a distance
    The green buildings of Scott Base sit near Pram Point a few kilometers from McMurdo Station.

    Scott Base is the New Zealand station, only 3 kilometers from McMurdo Station. It was built in 1956 in celebration of the International Geophysical Year of 1956-1959, an international series of research projects studying polar science in Antarctica. The station officially opened on January 20, 1957. The station has grown and now can house up to 85 people, along with lab space, technology accessibility and other amenities.

    Signs at Scott Base
    The sign at Scott Base shows just how close McMurdo Station is--only 3.1 kilometers.

    Scott Base
    The sign in front of the Scott Base station is beautifully carved out of wood and has Maori influences.

    Melt Time

    Temperatures above freezing means one thing in McMurdo Station: melting! As I returned from Scott Base I passed by many streams. They made interesting dendritic patterns in the road.

    melting ice
    As ice melts, streams of water flow down the streets in McMurdo Station creating dendritic patterns in the road.

    24 Hours of Daylight

    I managed to film the sun and shadows over 24 hours this weekend. The view is from my lab office window in Crary.

    Critical Thinking

    Why doesn't the sun set here in McMurdo Station? What else do you notice about the way the sun moves around the sky? How does it compare to the sunlight where you are?

    Life in Antarctica

    Where do you go when you need to get a folder, tape, binder clips, glue or other supplies? Perhaps a local office supply store. Where do you go when you need to get a Tyvex suit? Not sure? Here in McMurdo Station we go to the central supply office for such items. Carl and I headed over there the other day so our research team could get Tyvex suits for their upcoming trip to the Barwick Valley. They need to wear these suits so they do not contaminate the area they will be working in, since it is a highly protected site.

    Tyvex Suit
    Carl Green examines a Tyvex Suit to make sure it is the right size for his team.

    Central Supply
    An outline of Antarctica is painted on the wall while supplies line the shelves at Central Supply

    Meet Jake!

    Jake Kandl
    Jake Kandl inventories supplies at the Central Supply Building.

    Jake Kandl is the materials person who helped us at the central supply building. This is his first year in Antarctica and plans on returning. Jake makes sure everything gets stocked correctly and keeps track of the inventory in the building. He also delivers cylinders of gas such as helium and liquid nitrogen to science groups and keeps the hospital stocked with supplies. I asked Jake what the strangest supply was that he stocked. What do you think it is? Answer in the Ask the Team section by December 2nd. The best answer will receive a postcard from Antarctica!

    Brought to you by...

    Today's journal is brought to you by a kindergarden student from Ms. Kauffman's class at the Learning Station in State College, Pennsylvania.

    Brought to you by a student from the Learning Station.
    Today's journal is brought to you by Ms. Kauffman's class at the Learning Station in State College, Pennsylvania.

    Scott Base, Antarctica
    Weather Summary
    Sunny and warm
    32 F
    Wind Speed
    0 knots
    Wind Chill
    32 F


    Jenna Diaz

    What kind of animals live in Antarctica ?

    Emmett Obrian

    Can you bring pets to Antarctica


    What is the coldest it has been since you have arrived?


    What is your favourite part of your job?

    Joshua murga

    How would you enjoy life in Antarctica it looks like a cold wasteland but despite all that is it fun over there does Santa exist?

    Tiffany Olszanowski

    Have any of you seen interesting animals lately?


    Do you ever miss the warm temperatures of summer? How does it feel to not see little to none plant life when you walk outside?

    ashlie skains

    why is it that you all want to study the antarctic

    Daiveon Hunter

    what diffeemt type of animals did you see

    Elija Thatcher

    Why do you wake up so early?

    Brianna Hernandez

    How did T feel to be in the cold weather


    How would you take the coldness

    Michelle Brown

    status: 1We do explode occasionally, but then we piece ourselves back together! (I'm
    just kidding.) There is a lot to take in here--it's a lot of working,
    reading and thinking. Luckily we get little green notebooks to store
    important information in so we don't have to try to remember anything. The
    notebooks are referred to as "Green Brains" here since our brains sometimes
    are quite fuzzy from all the thinking!

    Michelle Brown

    status: 1Hi Leanna,
    We are able to handle the cold temperatures here by wearing lots of layers,
    staying fueled with food and staying active! Thanks for writing!

    Michelle Brown

    status: 1Hi Daiveon,
    I've seen lots of different animals. On land I've seen Weddell Seals,
    Adelie Penguins, Skuas, and Snow Petrels (a type of bird). I've also seen
    lots of organisms that our divers have pulled up for us to analyze,
    including sea stars, sea urchins, polychaete worms, nemertean worms,
    isopods, and other organisms.

    Omar Mahar

    What are some advantages of living in Antarctica ?

    Michelle Brown

    status: 1Hi Brianna,
    It actually doesn't feel too bad to be in cold weather as long as you are
    wearing the right gear! The other day it was 34 degrees F--so warm that
    many people were in T-shirts!

    Michelle Brown

    status: 1Hi Elija,
    Sometimes I wake up early to interact with schools back in the U.S., other
    times we wake up early to catch a helicopter flight or to sample. This
    morning I hadn't woken up early, I had stayed up until morning working with
    the SIMPLE team. Although when I have a day off, I do like to sleep in late!

    Michelle Brown

    status: 1Hi Ashlie,
    Everyone has their own story as to why they are interested in studying
    something connected to Antarctica. Some people are interested in
    understanding outer space and this is a great place to listen to outer
    space. Others want to better understand the fascinating organisms here--I
    met a man the other day who hopes understanding Weddell Seals and their
    ability to hold their breath for a long time can help people who struggle
    with oxygen-related illnesses--he works at a hospital! Many scientists come
    to Antarctica because this is the best place to study what they are
    interested in, and then fall in love with the continent later. For example,
    Mt. Erebus is one of a few active volcanoes, and it is easier to access
    this one than others around the world. When I was a child, I was not
    interested in science or Antarctica. However, the more I started learning
    about how the world works and how scientists follow questions and devise
    systems to answer them, the more I got drawn in to science and then

    Michelle Brown

    status: 1Dear Hensa,
    Yes! I miss warm weather, although right now in Pennsylvania it is not too
    much warmer. The other day it was 34 degrees out and it felt wonderful!
    Everyone was outside enjoying the warmth (it's all relative!). I also miss
    plants, although I don't realize just how nice it is to see greenery until
    I get back to New Zealand and see grass! Last time I spent the whole
    afternoon lying on the lawns in the botanical garden and think I might do
    the same thing if I have time before flying home.

    Michelle Brown

    status: 1Dear Tiffany,
    We haven't been doing any diving lately, so I haven't seen that many ocean
    creatures, and we also are done with our control samples, so I'm less
    likely to see penguins, but I did get to see some Weddell Seals the other
    day, lying about on the sea ice by hut point!

    Michelle Brown

    status: 1Hi Evie,
    Hmm.. this one always is hard for me since there are so many interesting
    aspects of being here. I think just being out there, collecting samples and
    feeling like I'm part of helping ensure this continent is protected is my
    favorite part!

    Michelle Brown

    status: 1Hi Joshua--Antarctica is not for everyone! If you do not like the cold,
    then you might not want to be here. I, however, really appreciate how
    desolate it looks here--what to you looks like a wasteland looks pristine
    to me. And yes--it is fun over here! I can't comment on whether Santa
    exists or not, since I believe he is at the North Pole... I haven't seen
    him down these ways yet.

    Michelle Brown

    status: 1Hi Cole,
    I think the coldest it has been here was about 4 degrees F--that's without
    windchill! As we get into December, it will get warmer!

    Michelle Brown

    status: 1Hi Emmett,
    I'm not sure if you noticed or not, but I have not shown one picture of a
    pet here. That is because you cannot bring pets here. There is one other
    demographic that is missing here too--children. No pets or children,
    although some high school students did come down here with a team last year!

    Michelle Brown

    status: 1Hi Jenna,
    There are lots of animals that live in Antarctica! On land you can see
    Adelie and Emperor Penguins, Weddell Seals, and sometimes killer whales can
    be seen off shore. There are lots of sea creatures too. To name a few: sea
    stars, sea urchins, polychaete worms, nemertean worms, isopods, sea
    spiders, jellyfish, anemones and more!

    Michelle Brown

    status: 1Hi Jillian!
    A pizza cutter is a great answer! Sadly, the real answer is a bit darker:
    coffins (!) I will try to contact Jake and learn more about how he knows
    what supplies are needed.. this is a great question! Thank you for reading
    and taking a guess!


    Hi Michelle,
    Loving every journal entry. I would say the strangest item would be a pizza cutter! Hehehe, but seriously, do the research teams contact Jake ahead of field season so that the base has all the additional supplies they might need?

    Great time lapse video, Jillian

    mike eyler

    How do you and your research team coop with the constant flow of readings and knowledge? (personally i would explode!)