Reflections from the Ice

By Anna McKee | February 9, 2010 | 1 Comment

I am home and sorting through notes, sketches and photographs from my travels south. Paul and I had a great time in New Zealand. We hiked in the Queen Charlottes, Abel Tasman,  and on the west coast; drove through wine country that felt like the Napa Valley; saw many strange birds and entire forests of…

Physical properties of Ice, or How to make an ice core sandwich. . .

By Anna McKee | January 11, 2010 | 2 Comments

Thin sections of glacier ice are incredibly beautiful. I love to gaze into these clear windows filled with little bubbles; some spherical, others oblong, all holding ancient air.  The ice refracts light from its crystal faces into multiple planes of shimmering color. I see them as lovely sculptures, but scientists prepare them to study the…

Waiting for a Flight out of McMurdo

By Anna McKee | January 7, 2010 | 0 Comments

Many people here have stories of boomerangs, delays and canceled flights trying to get to or from Antarctica. So I must embrace my situation as a quintessential experience of visiting The Ice. I was originally scheduled to fly out of McMurdo Station for Christchurch, New Zealand on January 5th. This process began the evening before…

Whether there is Weather

By Anna McKee | January 4, 2010 | 1 Comment

Weather drives everything in the United States Antarctic Program; flights happen or don’t, camps get re-supplied or don’t, work progresses or doesn’t. Even moderate winds in sub-freezing temperatures can make outdoor work difficult or impossible. Of course knowing weather conditions would make planning that much easier. But predicting the weather here is more complicated, and…

Another Blog about WAIS Divide

By Anna McKee | January 2, 2010 | 4 Comments

McMurdo Station – Happy New Year! I am working on a few blog posts for the new year, so stay tuned. In the meantime, check out the blog of a science graduate student Heidi Roop, who is working at WAIS.  She is sponsored by the Exploratorium in San Francisco and took great video equipment into…

Farewell to WAIS – Hello IceStock

By Anna McKee | December 31, 2009 | 3 Comments

December 31, 2009 WAIS Divide Camp at 79.47° S latitude, 112.06 W° longitude – high on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Plateau. I am sending off 2009 with a flight out of WAIS Camp to McMurdo Station. It will seem like the tropics to me since it is above freezing there. Though I am sad…

The Work Week at WAIS

By Anna McKee | December 29, 2009 | 1 Comment

There were 44 people at the WAIS Divide over the holiday weekend; camp staff, ice core drillers, ice core handlers (who log and pack the ice), a couple of scientists doing auxiliary research, and others organizing to set up deep field camps on the West Antarctic Plateau. West Antarctica is beset by storms and snow…

Christmas at WAIS

By Anna McKee | December 27, 2009 | 5 Comments

December 27th, 2009 WAIS Divide Camp at 79.47°S latitude, 112.06°W longitude – high on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Plateau. Holidays – Why They Might Need To Be Special In the days leading up to Christmas, I was a bit ambivalent about celebrating; it seemed remote and abstract. I was enjoying the lack of commercialism…

Christmas Eve in Antarctica

By Anna McKee | December 24, 2009 | 2 Comments

December 24, 2009 WAIS Divide Camp at 79.47°S latitude, 112.06°W longitude – high on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Plateau. To all of my friends, family and colleagues- Have a wonderful holiday. WAIS field camp is taking the day off tomorrow with many festivities planned. There will be cookie decorating, hors d’oeuvres, a big feast…

The Road to Byrd – What are all these flags?

By Anna McKee | December 23, 2009 | 0 Comments

WAIS Divide Camp at 79.47°S latitude, 112.06°W longitude – high on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Plateau. Yesterday morning I took off on a snow machine driven by the fabulous GA (general assistant) Sucha, to get beyond view of camp. We planned to follow the route to Byrd Field Camp, marked by flags every 1/4…