Well today my little corner of the world revolved around Antarctica. Word came down from on high today, and I have been asked to make one more return trip to WAIS Divide this upcoming season (2011-12 season). I know what you're thinking. Wasn't this past season the last season of drilling? Well...sort of. It's rather complicated, but the long story made short is that there is indeed another season of ice-coring coming up later this year. It will be quite different from years past however in that drilling will not start until late December or early January and will be limited to a very small amount of ice. There are other projects taking precedence over the drilling for the first half of the season. For me, this is a win-win situation. Not only do I get to go back to WAIS and be a part of an amazing project AND continue my own side-work with surface and snow-pit observations, BUT it will be a shorter season than normal.
This is fantastic!
Don't get me wrong, I love field work...especially in Antarctica, and I love being a part of the WAIS Divide project, but for three years in a row I've missed My birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and been away from friend and loved ones for nearly three months each go 'round. I would like to actually be around for the Christmas Season. Well, I will still likely miss Christmas this year (as my departure would be the week before), but I will be around for Thanksgiving and a good part of December. This also means I will only be away for a little over a month total too...which is still a long time to be away, but much nicer than 3 months. This really is an absolutely perfect scenario in my book. The WAIS camp this year will be very minimal and much different than previous years. Not sure how it will be managed or run, but there will certainly not be a 40+ camp population for the entire season.
So....lots to plan and look forward to this upcoming school year!
As a side Antarctic note, after three years, three field seasons, and over 6 months of my life in Antarctica...I finally received my official service medal in the mail today. The Antarctic Service Medal is a tradition started back in 1960 and is one of the only official military medals that can be awarded to civilians. I was pretty excited, and honored, to receive it.
My official Antarctic service award and medal