Wednesday morning we awoke to some pretty bad weather in McMurdo: high winds, grey skies, and snow. In bad weather, helicopters will not fly, because they are small and vulnerable to high winds. Also, pilots will not fly into areas where they cannot see, so fog or low cloud cover will prevent access to areas by helicopter. After several weather related delays, Byron, Ed and Breana made it to F6 to apply treatments to plots in our Stoichiometry Experiment.

Ed and Byron hauled 30 carboys full of water across the landscape in order to apply the treatments. Each carboy weighed 25 lbs! In each jug of water is a combination of nutrients (C, N, P) that will help us to understand how nutrients affect soil processes here in the Dry Valleys. But first we have to put them on!

Feeding the System

Precipitation, in the form of snowfall, is extremely low in the Dry Valleys, which is why the area is classified as a polar desert. It didn’t seem very desert-like when we out there! Breana tried to catch snow in her mouth while Ed was content to allow the flakes to pile on his parka.

Snowfall at F6

The weather system was moving so fast, 30 minutes later it was sunny and blustery again. After a tough day in the field, we took some time to celebrate Dorota’s birthday! Here are current and former members of NREL: Rob Edwards, Diana Wall, Breana Simmons, Jeb Barrett, Dorota Porazinska, and Ed Ayres.

NREL Reunion