National Geographic: about Antarctic Ice

Dear Mr. Dave,

HI!!!! How are you? I am fine. I was right!!!!! I do like writing on the computers! Do YOU like writing on computers??????? I sure hope you do. I write to other people that live in Antartica also. I got really late on writing to you today so I will have to go soon, but I will try to write to you every other day.


Hi Kim,

I am doing fine. I like writing on computers, and also have to write on computers at work. I wonder who else you have written to here, possibly it is my friend Matt. He is working now. I work the early part of the day, and he works the late part.

Thanks for writing,

Dear Mr. Matt and Mr. Dave,

Hi!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How are you? I am fine. Monday we start the CTBS Test. I don't want to fail that test. How hot does it get in Antarctica? Are you going into winter now? Well, got to go.

Your friend,

Hi Heather, I wish you well on the test. The highest temperature we have seen was about 40F. We are going into winter now, and it is getting colder. We are having about 4 hours of daylight a day, and the sun never reaches downtown McMurdo. The hills on the north side of town shadow McMurdo. We can see sunlight shining on the mountains across the sound.

Thanks for writing,

Dear Mr. Dave,

Hi, How are you doing? I am fine. Do you like going to the green house? I would like it if you would please send me a picture of the mountain if you don't mind. Well, I am sorry that I am so short of questions, but I am limited on time today. I only have 3 minutes. Well, I have to go!! BYE!!!

Your best friend always,

P.S. Please write back soon!! BYE!!

Hi Nickle,

I am doing pretty good. I really like going in the greenhouse. I went in yesterday for a few minutes of green and sunshine. They have a hammock in there which I may have to try on one of my days off. I recently sent Mrs. Weeg a new picture of Erebus, and also of McMurdo in the morning. It the morning shot the you can see some of the mountains across the sound. We had a visit at Hut Point from about 30 Emperor penguins a few days ago. They left before I saw them, but I did see one lone Emperor penguin out on the ice.

Thanks for writing,

Dear Mr. Dave,

HI!! How are you doing. This is your friend Eric Campbell. Is it realy 80 below zero down there? I read A book on staying alive at 80 Below. How big is the frozen desert? Is Antarctica smaller when some of the ice melts? How much smaller? BYE!

your friend

Hi Eric,

The coldest wind chill I have seen so far was not quite -80, but very close. It was about -76F. I am sure we will see at least -100 wind chill before the winter is over. When it gets below -75F, they declare a special weather condition, where we need to take extra precautions. If my skin where to be exposed, it could freeze in less than 30 seconds. I took my glove off for a few seconds one day when it was this cold, and it hurt in a few seconds. I do not know how large Antarctica happens to be. It does seem to get larger in the winter, due to the building of ice along the coasts. The coastal ice breaks off and melts in the summer. Many maps show the winter and summer ice averages. I am sure Mrs. Weeg could show you this on a map.

Thanks for writing,

Dear Mr.Dave,

Hi!!!! How are you? Have you every been on a frozen desert? How do you stay alive in 80 degrees and below? Have you every been icefishing? Bye!

Your friend,

Hi Jeremy,

I am living in a frozen desert. The humidity is about 10%, and there is no visible plant life. I have never been ice fishing, but in the summer some of the science researchers catch fish, and put them in an aquarium to study them. One day in the summer, I went to the aquarium on a Sunday to look at the big Antarctic Cod. There were some folks there BBQing the cod on a grill. I stay alive in the cold by keeping warm with the proper clothing. I wear my clothes in layers. Most of my work is inside heated buildings, so I take off outer layers when I go inside. The parkas we have are very warm. They are down filled with a coyote fur trimmed hood. When it gets really cold, I pull the fur towards my face, and my breath helps keep my face warm. I will send Mrs. Weeg a picture of me wearing a parka.

Thanks for writing,

Dear Mr. Dave and Matt,

Hi!! This is Stephanie. I hav a lot of questions for you. Have you seen these types of ice?:


Here is what it says in the National Geographic May 1996 issue:

Grease Ice
As temps. fall small crystals clumped together by wind and waves congeal into greasy-looking slicks.

Pancake Ice
Pancake ice is just grease ice that has broken into little pieces. These pieces look like pancakes.

Sea-Ice Sheets
As winter deepens, pancake ice gets bigger and crowd against one another.

Ice Floes

Blanketed by snow, pancakes cement into floes, which buckle as they ram against one another and slide around icebergs.

Also it says that in the winter Antartica gets bigger because of all the ice around it. It also has a picture of what the ice looks like from underneath the water. (and the sides) It also has a picture of what the Nathaniel B. Palmer Nathaniel B. Palmer looks like when it is coming right at you. The ship was named after him. He was the ship captain. He may have been the first explorer to see Antartica.It looks really neat. You have to see it though, I guess. I have to go now. Bye.

Your Key-Pal,
Stephanie Palmer

P.S. What is the weather like in Antartica? It sort of warm here, but not really. Oh, yeah also I saw the first flower bloom. I'm just telling you because you asked me too.

Hi Stephanie,

Thank you very much for the wonderful letter. I wish I could see the flowers blooming. I will just have to wait until I leave to see grass and flowers. When I leave here, it will be spring in New Zealand. We do not get mail this time of year, so I do not get to see the National Geographic magazine. When I get home I will have some reading to do! The weather is changing as we go into winter. We have been getting lots of snow lately, and the ground gets covered for a day or so, then the wind blows the snow away. We has a pretty good wind storm a few days ago, and the winds wereover 50 mph.

I never knew the names of the ice, but your desciptions are good. I have watched as on calm days, the ice builds up, and it does look greasy. Then it gets thicker, and turns white. It breaks up with the wind and tides, and clumps. Then on a windy day, the ice really breaks up, and blows around. On a few occaisions, it looks like a parade of ice as the chucks go blowing by. The Nathaniel B. Palmer, or Nattie B., as the locals call her, was here this summer. I have pictures of the ship in McMurdo.

Thanks for the excellent letter,

Dear Mr.Dave,

Hi! Mrs. Weeg got the new National Geographic magazine. It tells stuff about the Ross Ice shelf. It has a picture showing the Nathaniel B. Palmer trying to go through the ice and it got stopped cold. This magazine also shows the different types of Ice there is in the Ross Ice Shelf. They are: Ice Floes, Sea-Ice Sheets, Pancake Ice, and Grease Ice. They also have Frazil Ice with crystals in there and they have Congelation Ice with slender, uniform crystals. They have a picture in here where they show Algae trapped inside frazil ice. The book also shows how the ice looks under water. It looks like clouds and a dark sky. I have a fill-in-the-blank for you.

1. -------- nibble at the bottom of the ice all winter and turn support a sea-ice ---------------.

Well I have to go now. Bye!

Your friend,

Hi Rhae,

I am stumped by your question. I know Weddell seals chew on the bottom of the ice, but I do not know what the second blank shoud be. The seals can nibble up through the ice, to breath or get above the ice the sleep in the sun. I would like to see the pictures of the ice types with crystals. I imagine they are pretty. I have seen pictures in the summer science lectures, with the algae and from underwater. It can be very pretty. In one of the science lectures, they discussed how the salt leaves the water when it turns to ice. It can create little tubes as it drains out the bottom.

Thanks for writing,
David Hess NK3T
Presently living in beautiful downtown McMurdo, Antarctica.

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