Home For Christmas

Hi Nicole,

I enjoyed the plane trip, but it is too long. I will be making the trip again this month coming back to Snow Hill, and again in January when I come back to Antarctica.

The weather here is cold, but about the same temperature you would see in Snow Hill this time of year. The difference is that summer starts here in a few days, so this is about as warm as it will get. The sun never goes down this time of year, so it is many times sunny at Midnight. Right now, it is a little cloudy, but so far most of the days and nights have been sunny. I saw a few snow flurries, lasting for about 1 hour, the same day you had snow. It is also very dry here, and is technically a desert.

Thanks for writing, Dave

Hi Elizabeth,

There was one other person from Wallops that went with me on the trip. The plane coming to the ice carried about 20 people, and lots of cargo. I am not sure how many people are here at McMurdo, as there are people constantly coming and going. This is a stop over point for the South Pole base, as well as a base for field camps. At this time of year, the number of people here can go over 1000.

Thanks for writing, Dave

Hi Kim,

As you probably know, the seasons here are the reverse of your seasons. In a few days when it turns winter in Snow Hill, it will turn summer here. This is the warmest season here. The coldest month is August with mean highs of -9 and lows of -25 degrees Fahrenheit. Below are the months of the solstice and equinox occurrences with mean highs and lows in degrees Fahrenheit:

                High    Low
March            6       -4
June            -2      -16
September       -5      -20
December        30       21

In other words, it is cold here!

Thanks for writing,

Hi Adam,

There are many science groups here involved in research and experiments. They are called "S" groups for Science. I am in a "T" group. I am not involved directly with research, but the technical support of research. I am operating and maintaining a satellite tracking station, that tracks scientific satellites. The principal satellite is called Radarsat, which was just launched a few months ago. We will not start taking data from Radarsat for another month or so.

Thanks for writing,

Hi Kishia,

The coldest temperature I have seen so far was about 15 degrees Fahrenheit, and this is the summer season when it is warm. August is the coldest month, with mean highs of -9 and lows of -25 degrees Fahrenheit.

We had some snow the same day you did. It was the first snow I saw here. It clouded up, got really windy, and flurried. A few hours later the sun was shining. We barely got a dusting of snow. McMurdo gets very little snow, and it is very dry here. This is a desert climate, with very low relative humidity.

I will be coming home to Snow Hill for Christmas. They have Christmas decorations up in some of the buildings. I imagine everyone that can, will take the day off work on Christmas. On my way down, I spent a few days in Christchurch, New Zealand. It is late Spring there now, but also the Christmas season. I thought it was a little strange to see houses decorated for Christmas, with Spring flowers growing in the yard.

Thanks for writing,

Hi class,

The sun is up 24 hours a day. The sun makes a big circle in the sky. At noon the sun is higher in the southern sky than at midnight, when it is lower in the southern sky. It does get cooler at night, as the sun lowers. The sun stays up 24 hours a day from late October to mid February. Then we will get sunrises and sunsets until April when the sun goes down and does not rise again until August.

At McMurdo we are not far enough south to get complete darkness 24 hours a day. Even when the sun does not rise, we get varying hours of twilight, where the sun is right below the horizon. At the south pole, there is complete darkness 24 hours a day in winter. I have not seen any penguins yet.

McMurdo is on Ross Island, which is in the Ross Sea. The sea to the South is permanent ice, and never thaws. The sea to the North thaws out in the summer, and ships bring supplies. At this time, the sea is still frozen, but the ice is getting thinner. This weekend they are moving the runway to the permanent ice to the South. When I arrived, I landed on ice that will soon be broken up for ships to enter the harbor. I have seen some seals, but they can chew up through the ice to breathe and come out of the water. When the ice breaks, I expect to see both penguins and seals.

Thanks for writing,

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