Larissa Archives - State of the Planet

Jaunt to Nearby Island Becomes Four-Day Epic

Going to Antarctica involves a whole lot of paperwork. Before I left, I filled out an extensive medical history, was tested for every disease imaginable, gave my pants size, shoe size, hat size, until I had only one form remaining. That was the waiver acknowledging that working in Antarctica is inherently dangerous and that by… read more

by |February 15, 2010

A Quiet Crackling Below the Ice

As a child, I believed that I could hear the ocean in a seashell. Now when I think about the sounds of the sea, I imagine the roar of waves crashing on the beach. But from the vantage point of a ship with noisy engines, the water seems silent. In 1490, Leonardo da Vinci observed,… read more

by |February 8, 2010

What’s Making West Antarctica Melt?

The view from the Palmer is so blindingly white today that the eye cannot tell where the ice ends and the clouds begin. In this unusually icy Antarctic summer, it seems strange to contemplate melting ice. But glaciers, here and in Greenland, are melting faster than they are growing. We know that ice sheets have… read more

by |February 3, 2010

Rough seas bring unexpected rewards

Working in Antarctica is always a challenge but this trip has had more than the usual setbacks. After working feverishly in Punta Arenas to prepare our ship, we had to wait two days for some essential cargo to arrive. Not long after pushing off, we encountered rough weather in the Drake Passage, a region notorious… read more

by |January 20, 2010

Adelie penguins

The nice folks up on the bridge always give us a call when they see wildlife. Then we all grab our cameras and rush out to our favorite spots to try and photograph whatever creatures have come to visit. I’m no biologist, but seeing so many beautiful animals has made me curious. So I’ve been… read more

by |January 17, 2010

Girls on Ice

While I’ve been staying on the ship, Erin Pettit has been flying off by helicopter to study glaciers. She has a really cool job, and I wish she would take me with her on some of her adventures. But it turns out that she wants to take you! Erin runs a program called Girls on… read more

by |January 14, 2010

A Change in Plans

In 1914, Ernest Shackleton wrote “Pack-ice might be described as a gigantic  and interminable jigsaw-puzzle devised by nature.” Shackleton was a great Antarctic explorer. He wanted to be the first to cross the continent of Antarctica, but his expedition ran into unexpectedly icy conditions. He is famous now, not for achieving his goal, but for… read more

by |January 13, 2010

Scientists on Ice

I don’t want to give you the idea that science is all fun and games. We work hard! But I have to admit that today has been pretty spectacular. The morning was spent watching the helicopters take off and land for an ice reconnaissance mission. Since the ship is fully iced in, we got to… read more

by |January 11, 2010

Hola, Amigos!

People are very friendly at sea. Still, Ted Scambos spends an awful lot of time talking about his amigos. But it turns out that these are no ordinary friends – they’re Automated Meteorology-Ice-Geophysics Observing Stations. The area that we’ll be visiting used to be a huge ice shelf, called Larsen B. It collapsed 2002, losing… read more

by |January 10, 2010

Commenter Q & A

Science is just starting to get underway, so I thought this would be a good time to respond to some commenter questions. Just so you know, I’m doing this all by email, not internet, so I can’t reply in-line to your comments. Richard: What is the break down on crew versus scientists on board? The… read more

by |January 9, 2010