Feb. 12, 1999
Letter 11: Good-Bye From South Pole

Dear Everyone,

Although this is good-bye from the Amundsen Scott South Pole Station, there are still more letters to follow. At your request, I have been interviewing the workers here for a letter describing the people. I will also be writing a letter about leaving the ice and include some closing thoughts. I will no longer be maintaining a group distribution list for these future letters. If you would like them, it is up to you to go to the Teachers Experiencing Antarctica web pages. You can go directly to my page at: ../tea_kolbfrontpage.html and scroll and click on the dates of the titles you would like to read. If you would like to read my messages of 2 seasons ago, click on 1996-97 and a menu of dates will appear with the letters behind them. You can also access my messages and those of other teachers by going to: ../tea_meetteachers.html. To find me, go to Antarctica and scroll and click on my name, Sandi Kolb. My bio and photos will come up. Then scroll and click on the messages you would like to read. As of today, digital photos are being added to my messages. Hopefully by the end of April the photos requiring scanning will also be added. These photos will include those of the expeditions visiting the South Pole. If you choose to frequent these web sites, I suggest you bookmark them.

Many of you have been on my group mailing list for Antarctic materials throughout the past 2 years and others of you have been in touch with me periodically. My school district e-mail address is no longer valid because my account was disabled when I took my leave of absence to come to Antarctica. Please delete it from your address book and change it to: sandrakolb@hotmail.com. This address will be good until I can get something set up at home. I need to buy a personal computer (a notebook would fit my lifestyle) when I return so I can continue my writing and work with teachers and schools.

I will be available for presentations beginning the end of April or first of May.

The tentative CBS dates for airing the Antarctica segments are:

Feb. 13. CBS Evening News
Feb. 15. CBS Evening News, Dan Rather
Feb. 16. CBS Evening News, Dan Rather
Feb. 17. CBS This Morning
Feb. 18 CBS This Morning
Either Feb. 20 or 21. CBS Evening News
Feb. 21. Sunday morning with Charles Osgood

A video copy of the Jan. 17 or 18 CBS Antarctica news release has already made its way to the South Pole to one of the galley staff. Les and I watched the 5-minute tape immediately after work this morning. Although my face is not visible due to my goggles and neck gaiter, I saw myself at the Ceremonial South Pole with a few other Polies greeting the 5 members of the French expedition just minutes after their arrival. I'm the only woman here who wears the ECW red one-piece hooded "bunny suit".

The 1600 Zulu weather observations I just reported to the Twin Otter en route to our station show the temperature at -41F. It is getting colder daily. I noticed on the way home to the Elevated Dorm after work yesterday that the shadows have become significantly longer. The sun angle appears to be dropping quickly as winter is nearing. With the station closing date approaching on Feb. 15, station population has gradually dwindled over the past 2 weeks. Today's population is less than 100.

I sincerely thank you for your many generous and positive letters of appreciation for the efforts entailed in the writing I have shared with you. And now I have a request for you. On the behalf of NSF, I need to know how many students and children these messages have reached and how many of you are sharing them with universities and colleges, schools, individual classrooms and media centers. Please give me your best guess figures and send them to me at: sandrakolb@hotmail.com. You will be helping me a great deal if you take a minute to estimate this figure.

A student asked me if it was fun being here. I'm not sure fun is the correct word although there have been some fun times. My reply was, "It's been an incredible learning experience and an amazing adventure. It wasn't easy, but then I never expected it to be." I hope that you, too, have experienced adventure with me on this journey of mine.

The South Pole Station weekly climatological summary prepared by our station meteorologists follows.

Sandi and Les Kolb at McMurdo, Antarctica

Departing S. Pole Station for McMurdo, Antarctica. Les Kolb, center, wearing black.
Photo by Sandi Kolb.

Best regards,

TEA web page: ../tea_kolbfrontpage.html

amateur radio: NE7V

Sandra Kolb,ASA
South Pole Station
PSC 468 Box 400
APO AP 96598-5400

5 February 1999 through 11 February 1999 UTC

Avg Temp...-37.1 (C) / -34.8 (F)
Max Temp...-30.3 (C) / -22.5 (F) on day 5 
Min Temp...-44.2 (C) / -47.6 (F) on day 11 

Sky Cover:
Avg Sky Cover (8ths)... 4 
Days clear............. 2 
Days partly cloudy..... 3 
Days cloudy............ 2 

Sunset on 21 March, Sunrise on 23 September
Avg hours/day......... 21.3
Percent of possible... 88.6

Station Pressure (millibars):
Avg pressure........ 690.3 mbs
Highest pressure.... 696.4 mbs on day 6 
Lowest pressure..... 683.8 mbs on day 8 

Physio-altitude in feet and meters:
Average physio-alt = 10242 ft / 3122 m
Highest physio-alt = 10485 ft / 3196 m on day 8 
Lowest physio-alt  = 10016 ft / 3053 m on day 6 

0 days with visibility of 1/4 mile or less.

Avg wind speed............ 5.4 mph or 4.7 kts
Max gust.................. 14 mph or 12 kts on day 8 
Max gust direction........ from grid Southeast
Vectored wind direction... 084 degrees
Vectored wind speed....... 2.9 kts
Prevailing direction...... grid East

Balloon flight data:
Number of Soundings for the period.... 14 
Avg hgt of Soundings...... 22.5 mbs
Highest Sounding.......... 4.9 mbs, or 36813 meters
                           on day 10/00Z flight.

0 Soundings were missed.
10 Soundings were terminated due to balloon burst.
2 Soundings were terminated due to flight equipment failure.
1 Sounding was terminated due to weak or fading signal.
1 Sounding was terminated due to floating balloon.

No records were tied or broken during the period.

Back to Letters.