Palmer Station Arrival!
Click HERE to check out Ms. Debbie’s adventures from the beginning.
During the night, we traveled south and arrived on the Antarctica Peninsula. Our port call is at Palmer Station. Our boat, the LMG, is on the right in the picture above. In this picture you can see the station and the glacier behind it.
Palmer Station is a United States research station in Antarctica located on Anvers Island, the only US station located north of the Antarctic Circle. Initial construction of the station finished in 1968. The station, like the other U.S. Antarctic stations, is operated by the United States Antarctic Program (USAP) of the National Science Foundation. The base is about as distant from the equator as Fairbanks, Alaska and is named for Nathaniel B. Palmer, usually recognized as the first American to see Antarctica. The maximum population that Palmer Station can accommodate is 46 people, so we will continue to stay on the LMG (Lawrence M. Gould) while we are here. Our ship is a cargo ship for Palmer so we will be unloading supplies for the station. Several of our passengers will be getting off here as their research is located at the station and the LMG is used for transportation to and from Palmer. We will be coming back here at the end of our cruise to pick up passengers to go back to Punta Arenas.
Upon arrival we were met on deck by this crabeater seal! It was lying on the dock. As you can notice it does look to have some injuries. According to the staff, this is quite common as these seals do fight among themselves. We were also welcomed warmly by the residents at Palmer. Many hugs were exchanged with old friends that have worked together on previous missions. We met in their galley and then proceeded to their lounge for orientation and boating training here at Palmer. I’m very excited to be here! There are lots of scientists here including, “whalers”, “birders,” oceanographers, and other research scientists, including our midge and moss teams. Today, I was fortunate to meet one of those extraordinary scientists…Marissa Goerke.
Marissa works in the Tierra Lab. It’s one of the highest buildings at Palmer. When I got to the lab, Marissa was headed to the roof…..so we followed! She was callabrating the UV monitor that detects ultraviolet light. It was amazing to see her work! And the view on the roof was incredible!
Marissa has many jobs here at Palmer. One of them is to take air samples to test the air quality. It is tested for Carbon Cycle Greenhouse gases and Halocarbons and other Atmospheric Trace Species (man- made). She then sends the samples back to the NOAA organization. This is the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration. They monitor air quality all around the world. Here is a map of other sites (which are the purest air sites available without localized contamination) around the world.
Here is a link to publicly available NOAA air sampling data: ESRL Global Monitoring Division – Data Visualization
Marissa shared this link so that you can find out more about the air quality around our planet!
Another really cool thing that she does is to mark the glacier behind Palmer station. When Palmer station was first built, the glacier was right behind the station. Here is a map of how much it has changed since 1963.
Why do you think the glacier is melting/receding? Make a list of possible causes. Is this okay for Antarctica?
Marissa is an extraordinary person and scientist! She does a LOT of important jobs here. She shared this video with me about life here at Palmer Station and some of the things she does. PLEASE WATCH!!!
More science coming soon! We are off for more midge collecting!
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