Post from Marco Brogioni (IFAC) and Fabiano Monti (Insubria University)
Hi folks, last week the weather here in Dome-C was really bad.
With temperatures constantly lower than –20°C, one might ask if it could get even worse – well yes it can, it can be incredibly windy!
The first time we came here, everyone said there was no wind at Dome-C and you could never have the 100 m/s winds you get around the Antarctic coasts. However, even winds of 6–9 m/s can be really hard to cope with because of the wind chill.
Last week we had a steady southerly wind with a speed constantly over 6 m/s and working outside, even for few minutes, is quite tough.
In addition, if you consider that our DOMEX and GRAIS experiments run on the Concordia American tower 14 and 45 m high respectively, you can imagine how nice our week was.
Nevertheless, we made significant progress with our research: we completely serviced DOMEX and ‘rappelled’ the GRAIS receiver down to the shelter at the foot of the tower.
Yes, you read this correctly. Rappelled down – because by now the shelter is completely buried under the snow.
This is the other common effect of the Antarctic winds: everything gets buried in snow very quickly.
So, wind plays a main role in the Antarctic Plateau scenario, playing the role of the baddy!
Note: Marco Brogioni and Fabiano Monti are in Antarctica on a field campaign to support ESA’s SMOS mission.