Welcome back to our regular Mawson Station update as we steadily progress into the last month of winter.
We certainly have experienced winter in terms of cold temperatures, with the mercury cracking a crisp new season low of −30ºC this week. The average temperature for July is normally around −26ºC, so you quickly notice those extra few degrees of coldness when getting around station! Outside of the decreasing temperatures though, July has been a rather benign weather month. Our previous station updates have been peppered with blizzard day updates, but surprisingly we’ve had no blizzards in July.Notwithstanding, our season blizzard tally of 26 is still well above average for this time of year after multiple blizzards during and after midwinter. The blizzard respite (for now) is much appreciated!
The more temperate July weather has also been a boon for increasing our weekend recreation opportunities. After work on Saturday afternoons, the team are now getting out to enjoy some trips to Béchervaise Island, local walks, ice skating and even mountain bike riding.
Following June’s midwinter celebration, our operational focus has been on deep field work. Straight after midwinter, a team of six expeditioners successfully completed our first deep field trip of the season, traversing 90-kilometres west over sea ice to Taylor Rookery. Over their three day traverse, the team supported important ongoing science work by completing a photographic census of Emperor penguins and fixed camera maintenance.
As you read this our next deep field trip has commenced, with a team of six traversing 60km east across the sea ice to Auster Rookery. Auster Rookery is home to a major Emperor penguin breeding colony, with visits to this location a traditional highlight of Mawson winters.
On the social front, we’re in the midst of the annual inter-station darts competition. This competition pits the four Australian stations against each other in a battle for pride and bragging rights. As we enter week two of the competition, Casey and Mawson station have notched early victories against Davis and Macquarie Island respectively — stay tuned for the final result in a few week’s time!
Kyle (Station Leader).