Experiences at Pole
Day Six: More Exhaust
At the South Pole
Thursday Feb. 6th
-More aircraft exhaust, more measurements. This time, Harry parks the truck under the wing of the plane and walks out into the ground crew work area with a 50-foot hose. We get readings where they stand, where they jockey the cargo pallets, where the Cat drivers must wait while their loads are being secured. The roar of the engines is deafening: I am directly underneath them. Harry is walking around in the blast from the propellers - this is *his* project, after all.
We get lots of data, and I prepare it in the form of a map of concentrations over the grid of positions. It is clear that by moving slightly to one side, or staying further back, the exposure of the Cat drivers will be greatly reduced. We call a meeting of the Cargo Ops people and discuss a number of other possibilities - they are very relieved that finally their situation is being investigated. Certainly by next season, they will have a plan.
Who would have thought that there would be so much exhaust associated with the operations of the South Pole Station? - certainly not I. Yet at the end of sampling the second plane today, Harry and I looked toward the horizon in the downwind direction from the aircraft. It had been a difficult birth, getting the cargo out - the plane had been running on the taxiway for almost 2 hours. The distant horizon was completely obscured by a black layer of smoke, raised slightly off the surface by its original warmth. I wonder how big this smudge on Antarctica is, seen from the air?
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Prepared by Tony Hansen and Tod Flak; last updated 30 Jan 1997