Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Breaking the ice

"We’ve sampled more than 100 different locations in the Ross Sea and my hands are cracked, chapped, and leather-like from long days working with the cold and salty water. The temperatures outside have dipped below zero degrees, dropping to -60°F with the wind chill, and the sea continues to ice over. Some of our equipment is beginning to freeze."

These are the words of doctoral student Cassandra Brooks of Stanford University, who spent 2 months this spring posted on the research vessel Nathaniel B. Palmer. She is quick to minimize her complaints in comparison to the epic Antarctic journeys of Robert F. Scott, Ernest Shackleton, and the other great explorers, and adds that the ship has the finest at-sea working and living conditions she's yet encountered. The Nathaniel B. Palmer is an icebreaker, with a hull that can smash through ice 10' thick. She describes the ice – including the pancake ice depicted above – in her narration of this mesmerizing time-lapse video.


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