The following four blog entries trace the first few days of a journey by three researchers from the U—math professor Kenneth Golden, math doctoral student Christian Sampson, and electrical engineering grad student David Lubbers—who are bound for a two-month research mission on an icebreaker in Antarctica. This is the 15th excursion for Golden and the second trip for Lubbers, who will be blogging periodically from the ship. Access all Lubbers’s blog entries here.
I’d like to tell you a little bit about the actual goal of this expedition. So, why are we interested in studying sea ice? It is a leading indicator of climate change, and a key component of Earth’s climate system. The dramatic decline in summer Arctic sea ice is being tracked by measuring its areal extent from satellite data. This information is combined with ice depth data, where it exists, to monitor the volume of Arctic sea ice that survives the summer melt cycle. Read the rest of the blog entry here.
Today we underwent our ship induction. This allowed us to board the Aurora Australis for the first time. The ship is still under construction so we had to wear hard hats and orange reflective vests for safety. The hard hats ended up being a good thing as some of the doorways have thick lips on the top and bottom, making it easy to bump your head going through. Read the rest of the blog here.
The Aurora Australis has set sail! The seas have been calm, and I do not know anyone that has experienced any seasickness. Immediately after boarding the vessel we were instructed on various alarms. The fire alarm is a constant ring, and abandon ship is seven short rings followed by a long one. We had an emergency muster drill, in which everyone had to don an immersion suit as practice in case something catastrophic occurs… It was fun to watch as we attempted to squeeze into the “one size fits none” suits. There were a lot of laughs…which was nice as it countered more serious thoughts of ever having to put on an immersion suit again. Read the rest of the blog here.
We have now been at sea for a few days and everyone is rapidly falling into routine. Breakfast, lunch and dinner act as anchor points around which all other plans hinge…weekdays typically end in someone giving a presentation explaining their work to the other scientists. This is followed by a movie, chosen from requests placed upon a whiteboard in the mess hall. The presentations and movies, coupled with fantastic food and the onboard gym has made these early days feel a bit like a cruise. A wobbly and very geeky cruise. Read the rest of the blog here.