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Pressure and Cracking in the Sea Ice

where are we today?

We woke this morning to find big, cottony snowflakes sifting lazily through the windless air. It was a tranquil winter scene straight out of a snow globe—except that this is Antarctica, where picturesque snow can signal the start of really bad weather. We put on our Extreme Cold Weather gear and headed to sea-ice school.

Undeterred by the gray skies, our instructor (Danny Uhlmann, from Happy Camper School, days 2 and 3) loaded us into an orange buggy on caterpillar treads and drove us out for a day on the sea ice. The weather improved in late morning, and we enjoyed patchy blue skies as we drilled through the ice to find the seawater below us. The weather darkened in the afternoon, which we spent wandering through mazelike pressure ice near New Zealand’s Scott Base, where the Ross Ice Shelf meets the frozen sea. By evening, heavy snow had returned, and our helicopter trip to Cape Royds tomorrow was starting to look doubtful. I’m typing this with my fingers crossed.

Read on about our adventure in the slideshow below. Can't see the slideshow? Get the Flash plug in »

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