Montag, 2. Mai 2011

to something completely different - Burundi

since I was giving a workshop for meteorological station networks and analysis last week in Burundi, now a few pictures of a totally different climate. 
Arrival was on Saturday, and after checking into the hotel, the driver and me did a small tour through town and visited the National Museum of Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi. It is a very small town at Tanganyika lake. There are Crocodiles and Chimpanzees, a Leopard and a lot of poisonous snakes.

Also guards that play with the crocodiles - after feeding I guess...

Burundi has beautiful beaches and people do have a lot of fun playing at and in the water. It is a nice place to hang out on the weekends, enyoying the water and later also a beer.

Also the Kongo is not very far away, just on the other side of the Tanganyika lake.


Montag, 28. März 2011

Envenenado ...

Our expedition to King George Island and our work on the glacier at Potter cove came to a rather quick end since the Argentine military announced our flight back on Sunday afternoon for the following day at noon. We did a night's packing but also taking farewell from our friends at the Argentine base who are going to stay for the winter. We will meet again as soon as the next summer season starts, and hopefully will be able to play some more darts and have some beer in this excellent and enchanting place.

We left our colleagues at Rio Gallegos in Argentina to find our way back to Punta Arenas, Southern Chile, for the flight back to Germany. And since travelling through one of the most beautiful landscapes could not go without doing some hikes, we stopped in Puerto Natales to go to Torres del Paine Park. The Park is just beautiful, with mountains and rivers without end, and very impressing glaciers. It is definitely worth another visit, maybe then with proper gear to get a bit closer look at the ice :-)



envenenado ...




Donnerstag, 3. März 2011

Potter Cove Talk

Besides the work we get to  see a lot of wild life. This also means to watch out for Skua attacks from above, that remind of Alfred Hitchcocks "The Birds". During our GPS measurements of the glacier border, we encountered a lot of Gentoo penguins and sea elephants but also crab eaters. Since the glacier is now in a somewhat sloshy state at the borders, we could not take the skidoos, but needed to do a long hike. This was somewhat easier in November, and caused some muscle pain.

just a few more impressions

here some pictures from some of the many icebergs that we encountered at the South Orkneys. The table mountain iceberg  was about 1.2km wide according to the radar measurements on the bridge.

Machine rooms tend to have their own impressing charm which I think is mostly due to the very special light green color that reminds of oldtimers out of the fifties...

Working Hard...

As soon the weather allowed we went straight onto the glacier to check out our weather stations. It was a big mess, since our arrival coincided with a heavy storm that had overthrown our stations. Also due to heavy rains and melting of the past three weeks, the anchoring of the stations had lessened. This meant two days of hard work setting up everything and fixing the stations on 3m poles drilled into the ice. Winds nowadays get up to 72 kmh in 10min means accompanied by rain and low clouds, that depict our very uncomfortable working conditions. But it's fun anyway! Now nearly everything at the station is prepared for the long winter and we continued with measurements of ablation and glacier velocities, but also with the setup of Hilkes diploma measurements of the glacier calving front. Now everything is setup for her work on Saturday and we hope for a good day with a bit of sun and less wind.

Donnerstag, 24. Februar 2011

the voyage with Polarstern to Jubany

Once again by ship, we left the continent to our next expedition to Jubany. For Hilke it would be the first trip to the Antarctic and we were both very excited, also because we were now travelling on board of the Polarstern. Facilities there are amazing, the food really good and since the weather actually started out with calm sea, low winds and a lot of sun due to high pressure systems that accompanied us to our next destination South Georgia, it felt more like being on some sort of a cruise rather than coping with the hardship of an Antarctic expedition. On board were a whole lot of different Biologists and it was really interesting and fun to watch other's scientists work as well as the very colorful life on board.

South Georgia is one major breeding region of Wandering Albatrosses, and it was fascinating to see those huge and elegant birds sailing around the ship and above the water with their wide spread wings just about to touch the water  surface. There also are colonies of King Penguins and Rockhoppers as well as Maccaroni Penguins. We saw several whales like Fin, Humpback and Minke Whales but also a lot of seals and birds. The next stop was somewhere in front of the South Orkneys that unfortunately were not spotable from the ship due to the heavy fog and low cloud cover, sometimes less than 100m above the sea. Low pressure systems finally had caught up with us and we went through some storm with winds of about 10 Beaufort. But for a ship as big and stable as Polarstern this had not that much influence on our well-being and in the whole we really had a long  but very nice journey and a warm welcome to our research area at Jubany.

Montag, 7. Februar 2011

Our second expedition to King George Island - 2011

Friday February 04, Hilke (IMCOAST diploma student) and I left for our next campaign to King George Island. This time our route was a stopover in Madrid and Santiago de Chile to Punta Arenas, the southern tip of Chile. This way we would be able to board the research vessel Polarstern which will drop us off in Jubany. Our departure from Germany was accompanied by fizzle rain and a wet cold that gets underneath every sheet of clothing; a weather very common to the Rhineland. The next stopover in Madrid we barely recognized besides long walks to one end of the airport (to get through security check) and back to the other end (to get back to the gate we left), and finally we arrived in Santiago 30 degree and sunny. We spent some one or two hours just enjoying the sun in the otherwise very unappealing surroundings of an international airport. But the sun made up for everything and we just stood enjoying and watching the planes' departure or landing.

The flight to the Southern end of Chile was very remarkable by the different shaping of landscape and the gradual changing, but dramatic landscape. We flew by salty deserts and smoking volcanoes, agriculture landscape mosaics, glacier tongues and fiords in heavy covers of clouds. I hope some of the pictures we took from out of the planes' window will show.

The arrival in Punta Arenas was pretty smooth and we had a nice sunny Sunday to get a little accustomed to the Southern summer, the long days and the different environment. It still feels very strange though...

Tomorrow we will fo on board the Polarstern and again everything will change on our way towards our destination, the Antarctic research station Jubany. We are already looking forward to meeting friends and colleagues but also to work some more on our stations and do some improvements.

Our second expedition to King George Island - 2011 - Departure from Bonn