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10 December, 2000

Weekend Life at the South Pole

Sundays are when people at the south pole take some time away from their work and relax. Since we are isolated here, we find various ways to amuse ourselves within the limits of the environment. There are currently 224 people at the south pole, and among this small group of people we find various ways of amusing ourselves. Today there were a few scheduled activities.

All afternoon the clean air sector hosted an open house. The clean air sector is an area upwind of the station where various meteorological and climate measurements and experiments are located. One of the things that they are doing there is measuring the amount of nitrous oxide and various halocarbons in the atmosphere. With the data that they have collected over many years, they can show trends in the amount of these molecules in the atmosphere.

There was also a soccer game this afternoon. The soccer game was outside (with a temperature of 18F and 50F windchill -- quite balmy for the pole). Flags were set up in the ice to mark the boundaries and the goals, and a bunch of people went out to kick the ball around. Sunday evenings, the science talk is always a draw. Usually the talk is by a scientist about the research they are conducting. Last week, Pauline Roberts talked about her research with forcing effects in the atmosphere and the ozone layer (see journal 12/4: launching an ozonesonde). This week, Randy Lansberg (education coordinator for the Center for Astrophysical Research in Antarctica), Chris Martin (AST/ROs winterover) and I talked about science education.

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