crazy weather day

The weather was a bit crazy today. As for the past 2 days, we were back up to get a resupply flight, so I got to take and pass to McMurdo weather observations for the flight weather forecasters. I took one at 6am and at 7am — and they were very different! Most importantly, perhaps, the surface definition and horizon definition at 6am were ‘poor’ and ‘nil’ respectively — not good for the pilots (and our resupply flight was later canceled). It was also snowing lightly. By the 7am observation, however, the snow had stopped and surface definition and horizon definition were both ‘good.’ But then by roughly 9am, the weather had again gotten snowy with reduced visibility. And conditions continued to be changeable for most of the day. Snowy and overcast conditions make it hard to spot meteorites — the snow covers the small rocks and the flat light makes it hard to distinguish rock color and texture. So with the intermittent snow and clouds, we ended up not heading out to search as a group. Ryan, however, took the opportunity to try out his metal detector on a nearby moraine, and he located several meteorites with it. So even on this tent day, we were able to locate some more specimens, which will be collected later. We won’t get our resupply flight tomorrow because the pilots don’t fly on Sunday. So if we get good weather, we’ll be back out sweeping the more distant blue ice — one more day might finish off that region. We’d then continue searching closer to camp. So we’ll see what tomorrow’s weather brings.

-posted by Devon Burr, Davis-Ward, Jan 10, 2015

NOTE FROM THE EDITOR (Ralph): ¬†She’s not just good with Antarctic weather- be sure to check out Devon’s cover story in this week’s issue of the journal Nature (on wind tunnel simulations of Titan)!