dimanche 17 janvier 2010

Storm, a bit of rest, and reflexions

16 January, Saturday.
The storm has started in the night. The wind speed in the first half of the day was 20 m/s, and in the Afternoon, it decreased to 18 m/s.

The visibility is about 10-15 m. The tents are covered with snow and the fine powdery snow gets everywhere (pockets, toilets etc.).

We move along ropes. The ropes were installed by the people of the station and connect all important buildings. So, by following them, you can be sure that you will not get lost. Last year, Pierre almost went lost in a white out. The air temperature is about -4, -5 C, and the humidity is high (probably about 90%). The forecast is not good; tomorrow, the wind speed will be lower, but the storm will only really end on Monday. Probably, we will only be able to go to
the field on Tuesday. Elie and Steve will go to Brattnipane with the 2 field guides, we will go with Rene to Ketelersbreen and Teltet.

After a week of non-stopping work, we were pleased to have a rest, thanks to the storm. I even slept half an hour after lunch (siesta!) and took a bath. It gives a good feeling. Josef slept before lunch and was late for it, so we were worried. We started to look for him, asking people who has seen him and when? From the windows of the station, the storm looks quite strong, but our tents are very good and the whole territory is properly marked with ropes.

We had a problem with electricity in the dry lab. The -80 freezer consumes 4.7 A and it is a lot. In the night, it switched off an interruptor (6 A) and temperature increased from -60 to 0 C. In the afternoon, the problem was solved.

Looking to the weather conditions and analysing the data obtained during this week, I think that it would be interesting to estimate the length of the period that allows cyanobacterial activity during the year in Antarctica and the probable number of cell divisions per year.
We will have meteorological data from the station, microclimatic data for rock surfaces in areas well and less protected. In addition, we'll have the fluorescence signal that will show us whether photosynthetic apparatus is active or not and we'll have information about the dominant organisms. With this data, we can try to define the meteorological conditions during which the cyanobacteria are actively growing and extrapolate it for the whole year. The second part of the work is to estimate a doubling time for the cyanobacterial cultures isolated from Sor Rondane at different conditions (T°, maybe humidity). Also we'll need to test the fluorescence of the cultures in these conditions and see how it changes in laboratory conditions. For this type of work, the temperature gradient table should be working.

17 January, Sunday

Due to the storm, we cannot do much. Thus, we started the day with a quiet breakfast. Steve is photographed here with his BAS tee-shirt, having an English breakfast and reading the Sunday Times. A real British gentlemen!

Cheers, Zorigto

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