It is now bright enough for the NOAA web camera on top of the ARO building to operate once again. The picture is still a little grainy but should improve in the next couple of weeks as it brightens up here at the Pole. So head on over to the weather page and check out what conditions are like in real time.
On my way out to DSL I noticed an interesting cloud formation. We don’t see clouds very often. So, this is always something nice to look at. The sun is already at a low elevation of 5.5°, which added a spectacular light effect. I decided to go back inside and get my tripod and digital SLR camera. I spent half an hour to take a number of shots, which I processed into high dynamic range images.
We had three LC-130s en route to the South Pole and it was just announced that all of them returned to McMurdo, due to bad weather here and a bad forecast in McMurdo.
I just walked out here to BICEP before the first plane was due in and the visibility was indeed extremely poor. It was going in and out all day, but there was a pretty good chance up until lunch. Just when we sat down in the galley we could watch the weather deteriorating and with it the mood of the winter-overs who have been trying to get out for some time now.
Update: It turns out that the weather in McMurdo deteriorated very rapidly yesterday. The last airplane to leave McMurdo safely made it back there. The second one, which had most of the passengers on board, had a bit of a hard time landing. To quote one of the passengers: “The weather was awful at landing with 37 knots cross winds and the pilot had to try 3 times before nailing a landing, 1/2 the plan barfed, it was fun and tragic. I am amazed we managed to land”. The third South Pole bound plane, the one that took off first and actually made it here and circled for a while, had to reroute to Terra Nova Bay. A fourth LC-130 had to land at Terra Nova Bay as well on its way back from the WAIS camp.
[tags]Antarctica, South Pole, LC-130, Weather, WAIS, Terra Nova Bay[/tags]
Another group of winter-overs is about to leave and the weather hasn’t been cooperating. Yesterday we had more than 20 knt winds and the visibility was pretty bad.
Today it looks much better here, but things aren’t that great in McMurdo and the forecast isn’t that good for South Pole either. The first flight of the day is already canceled and the others keep getting delayed.
We’ll see how the toasty winter-overs will deal with more delays. I’m just glad I am not leaving yet.
Update:All flights got canceled until Monday. [tags]South Pole, Antarctica, LC-130, Weather[/tags]
Looks like the little weather display I added to the sidebar a few weeks ago has become quite popular and I have gotten a number of emails about it.
I am proud to present the new and improved version. If you are too impatient to wait for the data to scroll by, you can go straight to the weather page and get all the info in one place. I also added the current Antarctica satellite image and the NOAA webcam to the page.
You’ll get to the weather page by either clicking on the weather scroll on the right or by clicking the link in the Page menu on the right.
The current satellite image from the University of Wisconsin’s Space Science and Engineering Center:
You can see what the conditions are actually like on the NOAA webcam (updated every 15 minutes when we have a satellite link):
Every time I call my mom she asks me about the weather. So, I guess people are quite interested in that. Truth be told, I usually just make up a number. Most of the time I honestly don’t care. During the winter it is dark, cold, and maybe windy. Not much change. I have to go out to the telescope no matter what and there is really not much of a point in keeping up with the current weather.
Until this year the Antarctic Program had a forecaster sitting in McMurdo who would come up with a weather forecast for the next two days. Somehow this changed this year. The forecast is now made by some military person in one of the Carolinas. Initially it did have some entertainment value because it was mostly wrong. At some point most of us stopped caring and the forecast in the galley just read “Mostly dark, pretty cold, breezy” for most of the winter.
I added a little panel with the current South Pole weather to the sidebar on the right, for those of you who care. During the winter the Station meteorologists send out an observation report every six hours. The data doesn’t get any more current, no matter what other web sites make you believe. The observation frequency increases to once an hour during the summer (the flying season, to be exact).