What the weather's like in Antarctica

Originally published at: What the weather's like in Antarctica | Boing Boing




I am somewhat obsessed by polar explorers and have read a lot of books about them (Shackleton was the man), pored over maps and was absolutely giddy when I got to see and go aboard the Fram (Fram (ship) - Wikipedia) when vacationing in Norway. I even had my wife take pictures of me with the cardboard cutout of Nansen they have on the Fram deck.

I don’t know why, because I acknowledge that polar exploration was brutal and crazy. I’m especially fascinated by the explorers who kept going back. This video is a great example of why it is crazy - you are not even allowed to go outside during weather like that. Imagine sitting in a small tent for days with the winds whipping around you like that and then when it is over you are still potentially hundreds of miles from safety and shelter. Unreal.

And no need for the local weather person to get a third of the newscast. Open door. Shut door. Done.


mr freeze polar vortex GIF


Worked at the Polefor a season there before the new station was built. Warmest temp of my stay was -8F. Not too bad! This video looks like it was filmed at McMurdo, where I did my second season on the Ice. There aren’t dorms at the Pole, just the station building and the “summer camp” Quonset huts that the excess population live in while it’s light out.
The time I started a 120 quart mixer filled with flour, yeast and the other parts of a batch of bread on speed 4 instead of speed 1-what happened in the bakery was definitely condition 1😉


I’ve heard that if the temperature gets above freezing there, it becomes seriously uncomfortably hot, or even dangerously so. Not just because of all the protective gear the people have to wear, but something to do with the climate as well.


I am currently reading No Horizon Is So Far: Two Women and Their Historic Journey across Antarctica, which documents Ann Bancroft and Liv Arnesen’s travels across the continent in the early 2000s. It’s a really great book and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in Antarctica.


I went winter camping way back in my 20’s in weather that wasn’t really all that cold.

Never again.


In 82’ I was on a ship that had to make 3 passes before we could round Tierra del Fuego, Cape Horn. The last pass was the charm but took us further South to avoid the shitty weather, we saw 100 mile an hour wind, 60 foot waves, -45 degrees. By then that was considered a good day, what a haul. We did get a glimpse of AntArctic land way off in the distance. Good times…


I had a friend in high school whose brother was gearing up for some winter camping. He was trying some equipment out in their backyard after a snowfall and that morning a group of young kids was at their house for Sunday school. They saw him get out of the tent in the snow and one kid asked “What did he do to have to sleep outside?”


What were doing on the ship? I’m assuming it wasn’t a jaunty three hour cruise.


I was a Chief Cook for 5 years on the Seas. I went looking for adventure, and boy did I find it…


This video appeared on my youtube recommended page the other day. Strange what clips the algorithm decides to pluck from obscurity and serve up to millions of people (and what must the graph of views over time for this video look like?)


I spent a month at the Pole a few years ago. The trip back was delayed by a snowstorm at McMurdo. The flight out was interesting - the LC-130 plane had to make three passes down the runway to compact the snow enough to get sufficient speed to lift off. No one said anything during this. I asked a crew member about it after we landed in Christchurch.
(edited EC-130 to LC-130 - I built spy gear for the EC-130 in the eighties.)


I think david attenborough showed that in frozen planet… just the wind chill in high winds was the moment…


My first day a the South Pole featured dinner with a movie about Shackleton’s year on the ice. I was wondering about its relevance until I realized that I was basically sitting in a cruise ship mired in the ice (at least that’s what Amundsen-Scott looks like inside). Fortunately, we had LC-130’s bringing food and booze regularly.


I camped overnight at the Tumble In in Marfa one December night, and had a Coke lined up to drink in the morning. When I woke up, all I did was touch the bottle and voila…it instantaneously froze.




I’m sitting in a room without air conditioning. It’s about 90°F (32°C) here. It may be affecting slightly my impression of what Antarctic Condition 1 really is because right now, it feels inviting.

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This is the Porta-Potty at the South Pole Telescope. Its door, like every door in this place, is a walk-in freezer door, but the freezer’s on the outside of the door, not the inside. McMurdo doesn’t have doors like this, but could use them in the wintertime.
This bathroom facility is surprisingly comfortable. The toilet seat is a 3 inch thick piece of foam. I mostly just used the urinal, which is a funnel leading to the 55 gallon drum that contains the poopsicle.