Going by the calendar, winter has officially hit at Mawson…although the ongoing brutal weather has certainly made it feel like winter since the day we arrived!
Average daily temperatures over the last month have ranged between −14.2⁰C and −20.3⁰C (about 1 degree cooler than average), with daily sunshine down to 36 minutes, daily average winds of 23 knots (43 kilometres/hour — including gusts up to 74 knots (137 kilometres/hour)), with our blizzard tally now standing at 17 days for the season. We also say goodbye to the sun for 15 days from 14 June.
Since our last update, we’ve begun initial sea ice operational work, with local drilling to confirm safety depths and proving of travel routes. This will be in support of a large amount of scientific and operational work over the winter. Our major science support will be to the seabird program, which is focused on monitoring the status, trends and response of Antarctic seabirds to environmental variation and change.
Our winter support includes conducting deep field trips to Taylor Glacier for an Emperor Penguin photographic census and fixed camera maintenance work. Closer to Mawson Station, we’ll also be supporting this project by conducting fixed camera maintenance on 17 locations, along with infrastructure and hut preparation work for summer scientists at Béchervaise Island.
On the social front, we’ve now gone full-circle on the Cooking Slushy roster, with everyone now stepping up for a second run at Monday guest Chef duties. Our most recent Cooking Slushy Geoff W also hosted a Cancer Council Biggest Morning Tea as a fundraiser to support cancer research.
Finally, planning and preparation is in full swing and spirits are high as we look forward to celebrating the Midwinter solstice on 21 June.
Kyle (Station Leader)