December 19, 2009


I think I mentioned the windmills that were installed in an earlier post.  Here is a little more information:

The Ross Island Wind Project was initiated by New Zealand and supported by the National Science Foundation.

When all three windmills are operational and running at full capacity – all of the power for Scott Base and half the power for McMurdo can be generated by the wind.  (I believe those are optimum numbers of good winds and low power usage)   The prediction is that on an annual basis, 22% of the power needed will be generated by the windmills.

These turbines on Ross Island are small compared to the huge turbines you see in Colorado and Wyoming.

They are variable speed.  Each blade can adjust its own pitch automatically.

They turn into the wind automatically.

They start producing power at winds of 7 mph.

They produce max power at winds of 20 mph.

They shut down with winds of 50 mph and greater (to prevent damage).


The summer solstice is only a couple days away and the sun is not where I thought it would be.  I know I’m not at the South Pole, but I envisioned the sun being higher in the sky.  If the horizon is 0 degrees and straight up is 90 degrees, I would say the sun averages about 45 degrees for the day.  It probably gets a little higher than that at times and a little lower at times.  The sun is definitely lower in the sky at “night.”  I notice this mostly because the amount of melting that occurs.  Often, in the morning, we have a thin layer of ice on standing water.  Whereas, around noon and in the afternoon we will have streams of melted snow flowing through town.


Mike and I walked/hiked a 7+  mile trek called the Castle Rock Loop on Saturday.  The weather was close to perfect for us until the last hour or so.  Temperatures were in the mid 30’s and the wind was very light or nonexistent (until the end).

Mike, with Castle Rock in the background.  Castle Rock is bigger than it looks in this picture.

Me, with the frozen McMurdo Sound and the Royal Society Range in the background

One of the emergency shelters along the trail, in case a storm moves in quickly.


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