Sunday, 2 December 2012

First Advent

The first Advent fits nicely in my schedule. Yesterday Erik and I installed the pyranometer (total solar irradiation) and the UV-A and UV-B sensors on the northern roof of the station. It has still to be raised higher up on a support in order to have a free field of view, but nevertheless, it takes already now observations as planned. With installing these instruments, all my instruments are operational and it only rests to supervise them and to do some maintenance and minor improvements of operation. Therefore, this Sunday I can do things in a rather relaxed way. Although Sunday, almost everybody got up as usual because the glaciologist team of the IceCon project ( left at 8am for the coast. They will be in the field for around 16 days. A lot of preparations have been done, they were eager to leave finally for their field work, and we were up to say Goodbye to them and to wish them a good journey and expedition. The 8 scientists left together with Alain Hubert (expedition leader), Raphy (field guide) and Kristof (mechanic). They have 2 of the strong Prinoth tractors, many skidoos and several sledges with containers with them. On the image above one of the trucks is to be seen, with the little blue rescue and communication container, then the sleeping room, the kitchen and the bathroom container. The trip to the coast will take about 20 hours and the only stops will be done for refueling the tractors. There’s also the group photo of the glaciologist expedition team and then the two truck-trailers on their way towards the coast – now appearing quite tiny on the great white plain. 
At Utsteinen, there are not only scientists and station expedition team members present. The rocks and moutains are also inhabited by birds, white snow petrels. In austral summer they breed here. And their presence apparently attracts some skuas to come here (see images above). Skuas are predators, living normally near the coast, but which feed also on old/sick/or young snow petrels. These skuas seem to follow the snow petrels and also to be attracted by our presence, curious if there might be some left-overs (but there aren’t).

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