Science Museum's Pat Hamilton is off to Antarctica

by bryan kennedy on Jan. 05th, 2009

Dry Valleys in Antarctica
Dry Valleys in AntarcticaCourtesy Peter Rejcek
The Science Museum of Minnesota's environmental sciences director, Pat Hamilton, should be landing safely in Antarctica today. He is there with a regular SMM contributor and former Science Buzz scientist on the spot, Paul Morin. They will be using GPS and other technologies to create more accurate maps of the Dry Valleys, part of Antarctica that can get up to 40 degrees in the summer and are practically ice and snow free. Both the Minneapolis Star Tribune and Minnesota Public Radio have more information on his work there.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Liza's picture
Liza says:

Pat's been sending us E-mail dispatches while on his Antarctic adventure. I'll see that they get posted here.

posted on Mon, 01/12/2009 - 5:21pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

JANUARY 7, 2009

Liza,

Hello from McMurdo Station. I arrived in the evening of January 5 and immediately reported for the manditory two-day Field Survival Training Program the next morning. (Also known as "Happy Camper").

Pat Hamilton's group, in Antarctica: Hamilton says: "This is me and part of my group of 20 fellow students out on the Ross Ice Shelf with Mt. Erebus (an active volcano) steaming in the distance.  It was a beautiful day out on the ice with calm winds, clear skies, and a temperature near 40 degrees F.  But weather changes quickly and by the time that we were cooking dinner, it was snowing and windy."
Pat Hamilton's group, in Antarctica: Hamilton says: "This is me and part of my group of 20 fellow students out on the Ross Ice Shelf with Mt. Erebus (an active volcano) steaming in the distance. It was a beautiful day out on the ice with calm winds, clear skies, and a temperature near 40 degrees F. But weather changes quickly and by the time that we were cooking dinner, it was snowing and windy."Courtesy Pat Hamilton

My group and I leave for the Dry Valleys on Saturday. We just completed our manditory environmental protocols training this morning in anticipation of the trip. Absolutely everything that goes into the valleys, comes out. The only thing left behind is the water vapor from your breath.

Pat

posted on Mon, 01/12/2009 - 5:25pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

JANUARY 8, 2009

Liza,

The man in the brown curly hair and white moonboots walking through the attached image is Dr. Eric Rignot. I first learned of Dr. Rignot when Bette Schmit and I attended the annual meeting of AAAS in February 2006. We attended a presentation in which Dr. Rignot laid out the latest scientific information pointing to the possibility that the outlet glaciers of Greenland where accelerating their discharges of ice into the Atlantic Ocean.

Dr. Eric Rignot
Dr. Eric RignotCourtesy Pat Hamilton

I then met Dr. Rignot when we were being issued our extreme weather survival gear in Christchurch, New Zealand. He and I then attended the same Field Survival Training Program (required for all who are visiting McMurdo Station for the first time). The attached image with him in it is from when we were loading the transport in advance of being carried out onto the Ross Ice Shelf for our training program.

Dr. Rignot is here in Antarctica to conduct an aerial radar survey of glaciers along the coast of East Antarctica. Given the enormous amount of water locked up in Antarctica, there is much interest in how the continent's glaciers, especially those along the coast, might respond as the atmosphere and ocean continue to warm.

This probably will be my last note back to you for two weeks because my group and I get carried by helicopter into the Dry Valleys tomorrow morning. Our only contact with the outside world will be by radio to McMurdo Station.

Pat

posted on Mon, 01/12/2009 - 5:33pm

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