This week at Mawson: 12 April 2019

Enjoying sub-zero temperatures

Sea ice is coming

I mentioned the weather in my last update, particularly the blizzard situation. Well, it continues to be a mixed bag down here!

Last weekend saw us grounded indoors with 36 hours of continuous blizzards. 80 knot-plus winds dumped a huge amount of snow across the station, making the subsequent few days all about clearing snow-blocked doors and access roads.

Temperatures continue to drop as we draw closer to winter, with daily temperatures sitting between -10 to -20 degrees Celsius. Whilst it might sound pretty rough, it’s actually a really enjoyable part of the Antarctic experience. It’s quite amazing how quickly you adapt - a day between -5 to -10 degrees feels warm!

The sub-zero weather conditions have also seen the formation of new sea ice around the station. Sea ice traditionally forms in March, when sea water temperature drops below -1.8 degrees Celsius. In winter, sea ice travel is the primary means of traversing the coastline to the east and west of Mawson station. Over the coming few weeks as the sea ice continues to strengthen, we will commence training to undertake safe sea ice travel and a regular sea ice depth drilling program.

During the last two weeks, our fifth group completing their overnight survival bivouac. With field training now completed, field operations will steadily increase with both operational and recreational trips into the Framnes Mountains planned for the next few weeks.

On the social front, this week has been busy with three birthdays - Plumber ‘Terry’ (James), BoM Senior Observer Roelof, and Comms Tech Dave all celebrated their birthdays and the rest of us enjoyed cake!

Our Monday cooking slushies continue to serve up some amazing culinary talents, with the mechanical team of Tom D and Marc M holding fort over the last two weeks. We’ve also enjoyed some fun social events including a murder-mystery night and an indoor mini-golf championship.

Kyle (Station Leader)

Mawson Station BoM Senior Observer Roelof H celebrating his birthday.
Mawson Station BoM Senior Observer Roelof H celebrating his birthday.
(Photo: K. Williams)
Clearing an access road after a snow blizzard - Mawson Station.
Clearing an access road after a snow blizzard - Mawson Station.
(Photo: K. Williams)
Brilliant sunrise over Mawson Station.
Brilliant sunrise over Mawson Station.
(Photo: K. Williams)
New sea ice forming in Horseshoe Harbour - Mawson Station.
New sea ice forming in Horseshoe Harbour - Mawson Station.
(Photo: K. Williams)
Aurora over Henderson Hut - Mawson Station.
Aurora over Henderson Hut - Mawson Station.
(Photo: L. Hamilton)
Plumber 'Terry' (James) celebrating his birthday - Mawson Station.
Plumber 'Terry' (James) celebrating his birthday - Mawson Station.
(Photo: J. Wallace)