Thursday, October 12, 2006

How to Panic a Research Station in One Email.

How would you panic a station full of harden Antarctic workers? Send out this email:

From: POL-Met
Sent: Thursday, October 12, 2006 5:49 PM
To: SPO-Winter06
Subject: Cold Etc...

Since the rumor is growing at the rate of a degree a minute...

Yes, it is true, the 'warming' process here at the South Pole seems to be lagging a bit. The reason for this can be attributed to two main factors: The slow warming of the upper levels and the lack of storms.

UPPER LEVELS: As you all know, when the wind blows, it warms up. The main reason for this is the cold dense air at the surface mixing with warmer air aloft. But how much warmer? Well, today's surface temperature of -80F sits underneath a layer of warmer air (200 meters above us) that is at -30F. This is why the temperature increases when a nice breeze blows.

But the 'problem' resides in the fact that the overall temperatures in our atmosphere remains much colder in the parcel of air above the 'warmth'. For example... At this time last year, our upper air flights at 10 millibars were reading temperatures of approximately +10F. This year? -70F. You don't need a weatherman to explain the obvious difference in these two readings.

STORMS: Where does most of our warm air come from? Well, since we sit on a bright white plateau, the sun doesn't do a great job at warming us up as much of the sun's energy is reflected. Therefore, we depend on warm air to come from other places i.e. spring storms.

Currently a ridge of high pressure sits off to our Grid North and this ridge is now diverting all the storms around us which means the warm air that comes in with these storms is also diverted around us.

Of course, none of this means that first flight won't make it in next week. After all, South Pole MET consists of two goofy weather observers, not forecasters!



Anonymous Anonymous said...

so... does this mean your not leaving yet? if so that's NOT fucking cool!

3:12 PM  
Blogger Blur said...

This means our replacements will probably be late. I am not scheduled out until November 2nd. But the bulk of the winter crew was to leave October 24-26. Any delays will probably push them back days.

There are many people getting crabby. A lot of people down here just want it to be over and get out of here. I am pretty confident that we will have replacements by my scheduled redeployed date.

3:18 PM  

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