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How to Stay in Touch with Someone in the Field

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The team is going to depart for Antarctica soon and will be in the field/on the ship/on the ice for 70-odd days. So how do family members stay in touch, and can we get hold of Ian, Jenna, Nicola, Tebogo, Karin, Gwynn and Sunet once they have left for Antarctica? Well, it’s not easy but yes, staying in touch is possible.

WhatsApp actually works quite well when the team is on the SA Agulhas II or at SANAE IV. No contact from our side (those people left behind in South Africa or similar places) will be possible once the team is in the field. In the field, the team will have a satellite phone to use in emergencies but you can expect no contact, excepting the daily check-ins with SANAE IV to let them know the team is fine.

Nevertheless, there are many ways to stay informed of the team, the weather down South and the SA Agulhas II. Check out the list below!

  • You can track the movement of the SA Agulhas II here. There are others for when the ship is close to shore and entering or leaving the harbour, the link provided works if the data are sent through from the Ship’s officers.  It is reliable and updated every 6 hours.
  • AMPS Weather Forecasting. The Antarctic Mesoscale Prediction System is useful for daily weather forecasts for SANAE IV.  The numbers in the middle of the link (e.g. http://www2.mmm.ucar.edu/rt/amps/wrf_plots/2016111200/10km/meteogram/san4.png) refer to yyyymmddhh and there are two models every day at 00 (midnight) and 12 (midday).  Each model takes about 10 hours to develop to completion.  Also, you can check other stations (i.e. the last part); the places that are relevant to us are:
    • san4 is SANAE 4;
    • san3 is SANAE 3, where we fly from and where most stuff is offloaded;
    • neum is Neumayer, where some of our kit may be offloaded;
    • troll is Troll Station; and
    • mrion is Marion Island.
  • AWI (Alfred Wegener Institute; i.e. German) Weather Forecast for Dronning Maud Land. On the right you can access the summer forecast products and SANAE IV is one of the stations they do forecasts for. It is normally very accurate as well.
  • Daily MODIS Images. For Base Layers, select Corrected Reflectance (True Color) Aqua / MODIS or Corrected Reflectance (True Color) Terra / MODIS. Terra and Aqua are the two satellites that are part of the MODIS system. They are synchronised with the sun, so cover the entire globe every day. Terra normally covers our area first and it updates through the day as imagery becomes available.  You can also select other dates using the calendar at the bottom of the page.

#Antarctica #fieldpreparations2016 #LPiAE #SAAghulasII #SANAEIV #SAreliefvoyage #stayingintouch #familyandfriends

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