Katy's South Pole Journal 16 August, 1995
The walk in from work on Saturday night was a real treat: I had the full moon in front of me, twilight behind me, the Milky Way above, and a faint swath of aurora connecting all three.
But YESTERDAY!....Talk about outrageous auroral activity! The moon had set by then, and the sky was clear and dark except for the twilight glow, which actually included some hints of orange and red... then this aurora showed up and stayed all day! From 8 AM until long after supper, it rolled around the sky, sometimes a thin curl of smoke, sometimes spiky needles showering down, sometimes a thick river of green, red, and white. WOW! Every time we see an aurora, somebody says "well, that's the last one of the season", assuming that any day now it'll be too light to see them. But the displays just keep getting better and better! It's wild!
Johnny Paul and Bill had another one of their famous East Texas Barbecues on Sunday. They set up a smoker in the Dome and smoked a big ol' roast all night on Saturday, then barbecued 64 pounds of pork ribs on Sunday on a homemade grill. It seems every time Johnny decides to grill outside, the temperature plummets, and last weekend was no exception: the ambient temp hit -100 F on Saturday night. I didn't check to see what that meant in terms of wind-chill.
Grilling outside is a riot: we joke about the meat burning on the bottom while it's freezing on top. The Dome fills with smoke, so it's hard to see but it smells great!
I just finished reading a novel called Antarctic Navigation, by Elizabeth Arthur. She was the first writer to get a grant from the National Science Foundation's Artists & Writers program, and she wrote about a woman who ends up leading an expedition to the South Pole. If you want to learn the "lingo of the Ice", and what it's like to deploy to Antarctica, her descriptions are accurate and interesting. Her character didn't like McMurdo very much, though, so don't expect a glowing report about MacTowne! :-)
We're still launching ozonesondes once per week, but any day now we'll start to notice some depletion in the ozone layer. If you want to see plots of our profiles, or learn more about NOAA's Climate Monitoring and Diagnostics Laboratory, visit our homepage at: http://www.cmdl.noaa.gov
cheers for now: Katy McNitt Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station