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> Photolysis and Armitage Loop, December 5, 2005
Dena_Rosenberger
post Dec 5 2005, 08:36 AM
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Photolysis and Armitage Loop
5 December, 2005

For those interested in things Antarctic, check out the weekly Antarctic newspaper at http://AntarcticSun.usap.gov

Hello from the Ice!
For additional Antarctic pics, check out the Gallery.

Where’s Rosenberger?
McMurdo Station, Ross Island, Antarctica
Thanks to all of my wonderful students who helped me get to this astounding continent!
Hello Environmental Club! Hug a tree for me since there are no trees here!

Today, the PI Christine and co-PI Chris, will take a Pisten Bully back to Cape Royds. Besides Pony Lake, there are several other lakes there. They want to get ice cores from a few of the other lakes to see if they have as much algae as Pony does.

Jenn and I got set up to start a test tomorrow called a Photolysis Experiment. For this experiment, we will take filtered Dissolved Organic Matter (DOM) from last year’s ice cores (because this year’s haven’t been filtered yet) that has been freeze-dried, dissolve it into water again, and place it in large test tubes on the roof of the building in the sun. The idea is to turn it hourly to face the sun for a certain number of hours, then do a series of tests to see if the sunlight (UV and visible light) has effected the chemistry of the DOM. For example, for one of the tests they want to see if the sunlight can break down these large organic molecules into simpler molecules. All of these tests are to try to understand the chemistry of the DOM in the lake and how it changes over the course of the summer. Jenn and I needed to set up the really big test tube rack.
> Drilling holes for the photolysis tube rack. Don't I look studly!
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> Jenn threads rubber tubing to hold the test tubes in place:
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After we were finished setting up to start this test tomorrow, my friend Jean Pennycook and I decided to go for a walk. Jean is the Polar Education Coordinator here at McMurdo in the winter and works for Fresno Unified School District in California the rest of the year. She has been coming here for four years and she knows all of the walks.

We decided to do the Armitage Loop (maybe we can do our own photolysis experiment to see how good the sun feels), which is out on the sea ice and may not be open much longer because the sea ice is beginning its annual summer break up (Don’t worry, Mom, it is still safe). It is about 6 miles round trip, and some people check out skate skis or cross-country skis since it is all flat. For this walk, you must be a party of at least two, check out at the Fire Station, give an estimated time of return, and carry a radio. This is true of almost all of the walks here.
> Fire truck, McMurdo style:
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If you do not check back in by the time you said you would return, within 5 minutes the Search and Rescue (SAR) teams will be activated. This is REALLY bad if you just forgot or weren’t watching the time. Every person must attend an Outdoor Safety Lecture before going on any walks. In this lecture, you learn that you may ONLY be on routes that have a line of either red or green flags. Black flags mean a possible safety hazard such as a large crack in the ice or a crevasse. Even if you want to go to another line of flags, you must not cross over un-flagged land because it has not been checked for dangers.
> Looking back at McMurdo with Mt. Erebus in the background from the Armitage Loop road:
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It is a spectacularly beautiful afternoon on the sea ice with almost no wind.
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Did you know?
In 1909, Ernest Shackelton trudged on foot to within 156 km of the South Pole before being forced by dwindling supplies to turn back. He later told his wife, “I thought you would rather have a live donkey than a dead lion.”

Current Conditions at McMurdo Station
Incredible conditions today, almost balmy. A system is approaching from the South bringing higher winds and possible snow.

Right now:
Mostly clear and calm
Pressure: 29.405 inHg
Temperature (ABOVE freezing!): 34 oF/ 1 oC with wind chill: 25 F/-4 C
Sunset: February 20 at 1:38 am
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Lindsay Ferguson
post Dec 6 2005, 01:00 AM
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[COLOR=blue]Hello Ms. Rosenberger, You definately look very studly setting up the big tube rack, always wearing your safety goggles. I love looking through all of your pictures, they are all so wonderful. Have you made any discoveries with the carbon cycle worth getting into our chem book? How thick is the ice over the Armitage Loop? Has SAR had to rescue anyone so far? What kind of dangers may be lurking in the unflagged land? So I see that temperatures are actually above freezing, wow! I guess global warming is really hitting down there hard, eh? Thank you so much for taking the time to write to us all. We really apreciate it and always look forward to where rosen goes next.
~Lindsay
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Dena_Rosenberger
post Dec 6 2005, 07:47 AM
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Hi Lindsay!
Your warm words are greatly appreciated. Boy, this carbon cycle thing is pretty complicated. The science they are doing here is incredible!
The sea ice is still several meters thick, so no danger of breaking through. I just wouldn't want to land an airplane on it. So far this year, I haven't heard of any SARs. We had to watch a safety movie that talked about possible cracks in the sea ice when you are on routes like Armitage and if you are on a land hike, you have to watch for crevasses in the snow and ice. They can be very deep!

Be good! Miss you!
Ms. R


QUOTE(Lindsay Ferguson @ Dec 6 2005, 01:00 AM)
[COLOR=blue]Hello Ms. Rosenberger, You definately look very studly setting up the big tube rack, always wearing your safety goggles.  I love looking through all of your pictures, they are all so wonderful.  Have you made any discoveries with the carbon cycle worth getting into our chem book?  How thick is the ice over the Armitage Loop?  Has SAR had to rescue anyone so far?  What kind of dangers may be lurking in the unflagged land?  So I see that temperatures are actually above freezing, wow!  I guess global warming is really hitting down there hard, eh?  Thank you so much for taking the time to write to us all.  We really apreciate it and always look forward to where rosen goes next.
~Lindsay
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