By Thomas Ronge |
Recently, we arrived in our working area at the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands. Here we want to retrieve highly resolved sediment cores. This means that we can reconstruct only a short time period of the geological and climatological past with these sediment cores, but we can do so with a very high precision. We plan to analyze if the temperature increase, observed over the last 50 years at the Peninsula, is an unusual climatic pattern or not. Our data from the most recent geological past will help to disentangle natural pattern from anthropogenic influences and will allow for a more precise prediction of the evolution of future climate patterns. Furthermore, we are interested to reconstruct a possible shift in the location of the Southern Westerly Winds and to understand the distribution of Antarctic sea ice in the past.
Our current work schedule is rather strict. This means that we have to work in a shift system. Once the ship is on location we have to work, whether it is during the day or the night.
During the night a whole new perspective of our surroundings unfurls to us. The ice-spot-lights illuminate bluish-white icebergs and the nearby land is hidden by the inky-black night. Finally, at the end of our shift, the sunset, often missed aboard, is waiting for us.