Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Cape Hallett (and penguins!)

Yesterday we went to service the AWS at the remote location of Cape Hallett, which is about 800km (500miles) from McMurdo. We flew in a ski-equipped aircraft so that we could land on the sea ice and had to stop at the Italian base named "Mario Zucchelli" to refuel on the way out and back.

A ski-equipped Twin Otter

A detailed picture of the ski assembly on the Twin Otter

The Italian base, Mario Zucchelli Station, sits overlooking Terra Nova Bay

We flew past some spectacular geologic formations along the coast

The penguin rookery at Cape Hallett. The penguins make their nests on the slightly higher light brown regions (which do not get as wet when the snow melts). Females will not lay eggs for another 3-4 weeks.

These penguins enjoy a spectacular view of the Admiralty Mountains
Lee Welhouse walks across jumbled sea ice towards the AWS carrying tools and spare "ECW" (Extreme Cold Weather) clothing. If not covered by snow, the sea ice is very slippery; both Lee and I took a fall en route to the AWS. The icefall on the mountain face above Lee is massive and it's difficult to appreciate its size, even when seeing it in person. 

A Skua. These birds are the scavengers of the Antarctic

Lee Welhouse servicing the AWS at Cape Hallett. We check the instruments and download all the data stored by the logger. Only some of the data from the station is able to be transmitted by satellite on a real-time basis, the rest, such as ground temperatures, has to be collected manually.

This little penguin came over to see what we were doing at the AWS

I have to admit, penguins are very cute.

Best viewing of this video is via this link

Quiz answer from previous post:
Joules (energy) = Volts x Amps x Time
thus energy = 12 Volts * 100 * 3600 (amp-hours, time measured in seconds) x 2 batteries =  8.64 MJ (Mega-Joules).
Watts = Joules per second, thus you could run a 25W bulb for:
8.64MJ / (25watts * 3600seconds per hour) = 96 hours, which is 4 days