LARISSA - LARsen Ice Shelf System, Antarctica, a NSF-funded project.

LARISSA - LARsen Ice Shelf System, Antarctica, a NSF-funded project.
We are conducting an integrated, multi-disciplinary field program to address the rapid and fundamental changes occurring in the Antarctic Peninsula region as a consequence of the abrupt collapse of the Larsen B Ice Shelf in the fall of 2002. A profound transformation in ecosystem structure and function is occurring in coastal waters of the western Weddell Sea. This transformation appears to be yielding a redistribution of energy flow between chemoautotrophic and photosynthetic production, and to be causing the rapid demise of the extraordinary seep ecosystem discovered beneath the ice shelf, providing an ideal opportunity to test fundamental paradigms in ecosystem evolution.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Arriving in Chile

30 Dec 2009 - After two years of preparation for our expedition to the
Weddell Sea, we finally arrived in Punta Arenas, Chile, the jump-off point
for most research cruises to west Antarctica. “We” are Laura Grange
and Craig Smith, the University of Hawaii contingent for the LARISSA
project, which includes 27 other scientists . The trip from Hawaii was
arduous: we departed Honolulu at 8 am on Dec 27 and arrived in Punta
Arenas at 10 pm on Dec 29 after 25 hours in the airline seats – yikes! 
The people of Punta Arenas are extremely friendly and all our baggage and
gear arrived with us, so we are in good spirits. Today we were issued the
clothing we will wear in Antarctica. Is called “Extreme Cold Weather”
gear to keep us warm while “on the ice” (i.e., working in Antarctica). 
Because temperatures plus wind chill may drop to -40 F, our Antarctic
attire is a bit different from our Hawaiian wardrobe: it includes a giant
red down parka, multiple sets of thermal underwear and insulated socks,
waterproof pants, windproof parka, balaklava (the head cover bank robbers
 wear, but in thick wool), a neck gator, 8 set so thermal gloves, 2 pairs of
mittens, wind goggles, three sets of insulated boots, etc. Each person’s
bag of ECW clothing weighs about 40 pounds and is a pain to lug onto the
 ship. Nonetheless, and we are VERY glad to have it.


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