First, let me extend a warm welcome to everyone, both to newcomers to this blog and those who followed us last year. All of us involved in the 2015 field season (Lars, Mike, Drew, Doug, and Anondo) are excited to be heading to Antarctica. We would like to first thank the team members who are not returning this year: Anita, Pete, Terry, and Sean. Their help was invaluable in creating a successful first field season. Secondly, we would like to extend a warm welcome to our new group members, Drew, Doug and Anondo. For Doug and Anondo, this will be their first trips to the ice!
Season 2 – Winfly
In Antarctic parlance, Winfly refers to the late-winter fly-in of a limited number of support staff and science groups. Winfly is composed of a few flights (4 this year) that leave New Zealand in late August. Besides one mid-winter flight that occurs in the end of July, Winfly is the only physical contact McMurdo has with the outside world between the end of one year’s mainbody (February) and the start of the next mainbody (October). For some perspective, about 200 people winter-over in McMurdo. Winfly almost doubles the winter-over population in a matter of a few days!
For the support staff that fly in on Winfly, this is their time to prepare McMurdo for the coming mainbody. Buildings that were closed for the winter are reopened and cleaned. The galley staff is repopulated and the galley prepared for mainbody. Cargo, logistics handlers, and other support staff get quality time to prepare laboratories, shipping operations and provisions for the coming summer months.
For the science groups that fly in, Winfly is an opportunity to conduct science in an Antarctica without much direct sunlight. Sunrise occurs, this year, on August 22, 2015 but the strength of the sunlight that hits Antarctica remains very low until September. This year 2ODIAC is joined by 3 other science groups in Winfly: a group of biologists studying seal navigation in the dark, a group of biologists studying pteropods (tiny free-swimming marine gastropods) in the winter months, and a group testing an autonomous underwater robot.
For the 2ODIAC team, little to no sunlight means studying the Antarctic atmosphere without its main energy source. Without sunlight, the chemical reactions that can occur in the atmosphere are limited. Limited chemical reactions in the atmosphere means a different concentration of ozone in the atmosphere as well as different aerosol chemical composition. One of the main goals of 2ODIAC (2-Season Ozone Depletion and Interaction with aerosols campaign) is to study what differences occur with and without sunlight!
What to expect
This season should be similar to the 2014 season with semi-regular blog posts, Facebook interaction, and photo updates. As before, we love to interact with our followers through the blog and other forms of social media. If you have any questions or comments please let us know! All of the team members, from both 2014 and 2015, are passionate about atmospheric science and would love to hear from you all.
– The 2ODIAC Team