21 January, 1999

Thursday, January 21st, 1999, South Pole Station

Greetings everybody.

We had our first blizzard to day, with temperatures of -22 C and winds of 28 knots, which brought down the temperature to - 38C. Of course there was no plastic balloon launching today. This was a true white out. I understood why the station would like you to take a radio along when going for a walk. The weather can change quickly and one could loose all sense of direction with only snow around you. It was O.K. to get around the station, because one could still identify the buildings. Besides, all major walkways are signed with little flags so one can find its way around along these markers.

We met at the BIF and evaluated the situation and hoped for a later launch. In the meantime we conditioned the ozonesonde and reviewed the procedure. Bryan and I worked on the data files and discussed in which form the data should be send to schools.

I spend most of the day in the computer room answering email, trying to mail data files, and writing a research outline for schools to use. I also edited more of my journals. Later in the evening, I met with Joel to draw a card for Andy, He had not been feeling well and we wanted to cheer him up. The front title was: 'while you were sleeping….. Elke tried to inflate the balloon.' The picture showed Joel and me hanging on to the balloon while it flew away. No worry.. We only made this up! I am still on this planet.

About the question how we calculate the physiological altitude. The pressure changes here at the South Pole more than anywhere else in the world and I was told that it is like in a hurricane season, except we do not have any hurricanes. This pressure increase registers your body as a higher altitude than we actually are. The very dry weather contribute to that as well.

When I walked back to my Jamesway, the wind had increased even more. I wondered about our launch tomorrow…

A lot of you have asked me what my sleeping quarters look like. I will answer that tomorrow and I will try to take some pictures. 'Got to go and find my Jamesway in the Blizzard first…' Until tomorrow!

On the way to the 'Clean Air Facility', ARO, in the blizzard.

In the blizzard: the Ceremonial Pole with the 12 flags of the countries who signed the original Antarctic Treaty.

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