What is IPY
Students on Board
Set sail with LSU geology professor Phil Bart and a team of students - both undergrads and graduates - on board the NATHANIEL B. PALMER. See what they saw as they left McMurdo Station, and voyage the Ross Sea, to study evidence left by ancient ice sheets which may help predict the rate and extent of future sea level rise. Philip Bergeron, one of the undergrads, reads a page from his journey detailing their scientific adventure.
The Traverse Begins
After three weeks of hectic preparation, including placing brand new Norwegian and US flags - and decals for NSF and the Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI) - on the tracked vehicles, the traverse rolls out on November 16, 2007, heading for South Pole, more than 3,000 kms away. NPI's Jan-Gunnar Winther thinks a successful traverse will be a historic milestone in both exploration and cutting-edge science. The train of heavily-laden sleds passes spectacular mountain scenery as it climbs away from Troll Station up to the flat, white polar plateau. At their first science stop, researchers Mary Albert, Tom Neumann and Lou Albershardt dig a snow pit, and explain why they are sampling seasonal layers and photographing ice crystals - in part to gather "ground truth" to calibrate NASA's satellite observations of the vast and little known East Antarctic.
The three weeks at Troll Station are a blur of all-important activities. Erecting the science tent on a sled that will keep the researchers out of the wind as they process snow samples and ice cores. Tens of ice core boxes need pre-labeling, to save time en route. The safety officer drills them on crevasse rescue techniques, but there's time for a birthday party for the Norwegian camp manager who is planning the menu to keep the team warm and happy en route. Hurricane force winds of more than 100 mph confine the team inside, where they test equipment. It's also time to try on Glen Liston's unique "nose mitts" - he's made one for every member of the team. Watch now to see why Atsu thinks he looks like a duck!
From Cape Town to Troll Station
US and Norwegian researchers gather in Cape Town, and relax down by the waterside before boarding plane for Troll Station. There is cargo to carefully log in and weigh, group meetings to finalize plans. The 8 hour flight to Antarctica is a time to catch up on sleep. Arriving at Troll, a sign reads "Hot Dogs", but it's just a long-running joke about the two nations preferences in food. The members of the traverse know their adventure is now truly beginning.