It was a busy week for IceCube’s newest winterovers. A plane arrived after a long hiatus, bringing some new folks to the station and taking away last year’s winterovers, finally. But much of the excitement came from alarms going off—the ones for fire were false alarms thankfully. But it gave the new winterovers a chance to apply their training to emergency response operations.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_dog
Last week kept IceCube’s newest winterovers busy, but not too busy, with a number of activities. Johannes was on call, and got his first page to deal with a detector issue, but not too big of a problem. Both winterovers were trained on the PistenBully, or snowcat, and then drove around to the IceTop stations to take snow height measurements.
Flight canceled? Well, that happens. But, canceled … again? Welcome to plane travel at the Pole. The changeable weather patterns in the harsh climate of Antarctica make flights in and out susceptible to delays. It’s part and parcel of the whole experience.
Lots of firsts as a new summer season begins at the South Pole. Last week saw the first LC-30 to arrive, seen here as it’s being marshaled in and later after landing and releasing a group of red parkas onto the ice, the first group of many to come. The changing-of-the-guard period at the Pole has begun.
Shoveling snow might not be that much fun, but at least at the South Pole, afterward you can walk away with a pretty “epic” beard, as the winterovers recently put it. Well, if you have a beard to begin with, that is.
After a long, cold winter at the South Pole, it might be hard to decide which is more exciting: the first plane of the season or its contents. Apparently, people get pretty excited at the sight of a bowl of tangerines after going without any fresh fruit for eight or nine months.
Now that you can see what you’re doing outside, it’s time for outdoor activities. Unfortunately, it’s still cold (very cold), and there’s no guarantee that the sun will be out. In fact, here’s IceCube winterover James braving what appears to be rather poor conditions to take some height measurements for calibrating a new IceTop sensor.
The sun sure does make things shiny. The face of the station appears dark and flat, but the “beer can,” the large cylindrical tower on the end that connects the aboveground station to belowground corridors, is glowing in the face of the newly risen sun. So is that interesting snowdrift in the foreground.
Just because the sun is now up, doesn’t mean you can see everything clearly. Check out the poor visibility in this image of a flag line just outside the station, disappearing into whiteness. The 40-knot storm made outdoor work impossible and therefore restricted.
Last week we saw that someone had pulled up a chair to watch the sunrise, this week there are two. And these two people are actually watching the sun—it has been climbing higher and higher all week and is now officially up.