Antarctic weather observer Craig Butsch and his team were returning from a multi-day traverse near Antarctica’s Casey Station when a debilitating blizzard stopped them in their tracks.
“The blizzard picked up and we decided to hunker down,” said Butsch.
“The safest thing to do was to stay put.”
Butsch’s team, who work for Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology, had been checking on the Law Dome Summit automatic weather station (AWS) which collects important weather data. Sitting at 1,340 metres (4,400 feet) above sea level, Law Dome Summit is 120 km (75 miles) from Casey Station and usually 10C colder, making it a nipple-hardening -35C (-31F) when the team visited.
The data the researchers collect “gets ingested into the climate records so we have a long-term record of what the weather and climate has been doing,” Butsch explained.
Observations at the station are taken every three hours, while weather balloons are released twice a day to record temperature, humidity, wind speed, wind direction, and air pressure.
All that information then gets sent back to Melbourne, Australia where it is ingested into computer systems and often corrupted by bunk climate models…
The Law Dome AWS is one of eight around Casey Station and it requires servicing once a year.
Last week, the normally-routine job turned into an epic four-day mission.
“Everything was going really well, we finished all the work by late morning on the second day,” Butsch said.
But during the return trip, a forecast blizzard hit much harder than expected.
“The blizzard was a fairly constant wind speed, which makes a humming sound and the wind going around the shipping container vibrated it.”
The intense snowstorm may have lasted a bruising 40 hours, but Butsch called the whole experience “quite enjoyable.”
“It was quite a comfortable feeling knowing you’re inside nice and safe.”
Butsch arrived in October last year and has just two months to go, but said it did not feel like winter had dragged on.
“It’s fun to get off-station and do some walking and take lots of photos,” he said. Adding that, “the difference between summer and winter down here is extreme.
“In the summer there’s 24 hours of sunlight and in winter we get a lot of darkness and the sea freezes over. It’s easier to travel in the local area because you can go out onto the sea ice.”
No sign of any anomalous melt down here then…
Grand Solar Minimum + Pole Shift
[Featured Image: Craig Butsch]